Hong Kong

The U.S. Should Immediately Grant Visas to Hong Kong Residents Who Want Out

And it should keep taking Chinese college students too. Both strategies would be more damaging to China than the current plan of using sanctions.


While the rest of the world is distracted by the COVID-19 pandemic, China has moved to consolidate its control over Hong Kong. The United States should respond by allowing Hongkongers to immigrate to America immediately.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced this week that America no longer recognizes Hong Kong as being autonomous from China—effectively ending the so-called "one country, two systems" policy that has been in place since Hong Kong rejoined China in 1997. That has huge implications for trade and immigration, two areas where Washington's agreements with Hong Kong differed from how it treated the rest of China. Pompeo's announcement comes after months of unrest in Hong Kong sparked by China's attempt to pass legislation curtailing the civil liberties and political freedoms enjoyed by residents of the city.

The State Department has threatened to impose sanctions on China for its actions against Hong Kong. That is woefully inadequate. With the freedom of Hongkongers under direct assault, the United States should throw open its doors to accept any of the city's residents who need a place to go.

There are a few ways this could work. It could be as easy as a blanket policy that grants asylum to any resident of Hong Kong who arrives in the United States. It could take the form of a special visa that would allow Hongkongers to settle in American counties where the population is shrinking, with permanent residency granted after five years, as Vox's Matthew Yglesias has proposed. It could even go as far as giving Hongkongers a direct pathway to citizenship, along the lines of what Britain is reportedly considering.

Any of those ideas would do more to counter China's assault on Hong Kong than sanctions (or, knowing how President Donald Trump operates, more tariffs). And the Chinese government knows it: Beijing has already threatened Britain over its proposed exit strategy for residents of Hong Kong. Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Beijing's rule would be an international embarrassment for China—and, more importantly, it would be a huge economic blow. Instead of seizing one of the richest and most economically vibrant city on the planet, China would be absorbing a shell of a once-great place.

China's loss would be America's gain. An influx of people from Hong Kong—and the knowledge, skills, money, and entrepreneurship they would bring along—would be an economic boon for the United States, particularly if they resettle in areas where the population is stagnant or declining. Any objections that the refugees don't share American values would be even less legitimate than usual: Protesters in Hong Kong are literally waving American flags as a symbol of their resistance to China's authoritarianism.

The biggest hurdle to making any of this happen is probably the administration's generally anti-immigrant views. Trump has fought not only to reduce illegal immigration into the United States, but to cut legal immigration too—including dramatically reducing the number of refugees allowed into the country. Getting the president to open America's doors for Hongkongers would require him to buck one of the few campaign promises he actually implemented.

Anti-immigrant fervor and misplaced China hawkery may cause the United States to miss out on another opportunity as well. This week, Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R–Tenn.) and Tom Cotton (R–Ark.) introduced a bill to prohibit Chinese nationals from coming to the United States for college degrees or post-graduate programs in science and technology fields. In a statement, the two senators said the measure would protect American national security by preventing Chinese students from conducting espionage under the guise of studying.

"If Chinese students want to come here and study Shakespeare and the Federalist Papers, that's what they need to learn from America; they don't need to learn quantum computing and artificial intelligence from America," Cotton said last month on Fox News—apparently granting posthumous American citizenship to The Bard. Those students, he said, often return to China "to compete for our jobs, to take our business, and ultimately to steal our property and design weapons and other devices that can be used against the American people."

Wrong. According to the National Science Foundation, 90 percent of Chinese students with postsecondary degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics remain in the United States for more than a decade after graduating. That's great for American businesses that get to employ their expertise—and it's not great for China's government, which is worried about its ongoing brain drain.

"Cotton imagines knowledge as a fixed bucket of stuff that gets poured into graduate students' brains by American professors, allowing foreigners to then make off with precious know-how," writes former Reason editor Virginia Postrel in a column for Bloomberg. "But that's not how science works. Graduate students don't just master existing material. They're critical to producing new knowledge." America should want to attract the best and the brightest students from all over the world—not keep them out because of a quarrel between governments.

Some have compared the recent escalations between the U.S. and China to a new Cold War, but U.S. policymakers ought to recall how America won its decadeslong standoff with the Soviet Union. It wasn't by cutting off immigration. Quite the opposite.

The United States opened its doors to refugees from Soviet oppression, and especially to students. What better way to demonstrate the superiority of freedom and markets than to let young people participate in them? Most will stay, and some who choose to return home will take American values with them. Cotton would apparently prefer that the only knowledge Chinese students gain is whatever is approved by the regime in Beijing.

Openness and freedom are still the best medicines against socialism. Barring the door to Hongkongers desperate for escape and to Chinese students eager to learn is handing two easy victories to the Chinese government—and will leave America weaker in the long run.

NEXT: Freedom for Me, Rule of Law for Thee

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  1. Carry that water, bitch

    1. Sorry bigot but America is a nation of immigrants. If a Sunni Muslim wants to leave Shiite Syria, we should let them in. If a Shiite Muslim wants to leave Sunni Yemen, we should let them in. If a Muslim wants to leave Buddhist Myanmar, we should let them it. Diversity is our strength.

      1. Reason and science are the things that make superstitious satrapies collapse. Importing termites is the opposite of a good idea. Fortunately, the INS knows this. What we operate now that the Soviet is dust is a brain drain. Importing foreign mathematicians, physicists and engineers won WW2 and the Cold War. This is what the U.S. still does, and it offsets the damage caused by government schools within U.S. borders.

        1. Oh, nice argument. “We need unrestricted immigration because our schools suck.” Haven’t heard that one before.

          1. Hank actually stated that regulation is imperative and detailed how we use regulations strategically to drain the brains of our opponents world wide…

            He stated that by taking only their best and brightest, as opposed to the ‘termites’, America has been able to offset the damage done to education by our government schools.

            Rabbi is a nutjob. Hank just writes efficiently and IMO eloquently on this topic.

            Might wanna re-read that one there Freddy.

            1. I’m sure the Communist Chinese government would never try to coerce students to return by holding their family members hostage. In practice, hardly any intellectual property has been stolen from American companies by Chinese employees and used to undercut American businesses. And even if that was the case, the free market will ultimately benefit everyone by creating competition and reducing prices.

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              2. The Wuhan flu was a plant. We leaked it to them through their network of spies…

            2. I gave it a second read, and you’re right, he’s not arguing for unrestricted immigration. Apologies, Hank.

              That last sentence, though, is still a doozy.

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      2. Yes, Rabbi, we should let them in. Let them ALL in. Bring the whole damn world to the US to partake in my kid’ largess.

        Or, I dunno, rather than saddling my kids with the bill for supporting the WHOLE FREAKIN PLANET, maybe people could fix their own shitholes?

        Go ahead asshole, call me a bigot. Get it over with, then maybe you can instruct me as to how we can afford to assimilate anyone who drags their sorry carcass to our shores when we’re looking at 20% unemployment.

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      4. Maybe Israel can show us how it’s done, Rabbi.

    2. No matter the question, the answer if always Invasion USA.

  2. //The United States should respond by allowing Hongkongers to immigrate to America immediately.//

    Wait … why just Hongkongers? Millions of people in Africa are in a pretty bad bind. Also, people in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South America.

    This is such a fucking stupid suggestion, it physically hurts reading it.

    1. Flagged for racism. Hate speech is not free speech.

      1. “Hate speech is not free speech.”

        Reason contributor Noah Berlatsky agrees.


        1. You guys tag-teaming now?

          1. It is impossible to tell the satire from the actual retarded leftists.

            1. Please. I trust Harvard graduates more than I trust rural retards who voted for Trump. Who wouldn’t trust Jim “Buy Bear Sterns” Cramer?

              1. Well, now I can tell.

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            2. I had assumed the Rabbi and the Rev were the same asshole.

      2. Flagged for stupidity.

    2. I usually concur with you Geraje Guzba but Hongkongers are a bit special in a few regards. For one, they are former British colonists, so we have some deeply rooted social similarities. They are more likely to adjust to America than say someone from China or Iran.

      They are already fighting. The only way they win is if the US nukes Beijing into the stone age and that just won’t happen and probably wouldn’t work anyway. If Chinese cops ever show up here, I wouldn’t mind having a few HK expats with a grudge and .30 cal rifles on my six.

      And really, can you imagine if HK protest tactics made it here? These are some of the best insurgent tactics I have ever seen in practice with the lasers to kill the cameras, the coordination and communication during tense events. These are useful talents in the US these days. I think I would want them here, on our side.

      I’m not suggesting we just open up and let the flood happen (Reason’s cheese is off it’s cracker with that one), but there is talent and ambition and a REAL love for liberty in HK. I think some considerations are warranted and probably advantageous.

      1. HK is the creme de la creme of immigrants.

        If we had a quota, they could fill it every year.

      2. Indeed, Asians and Caucasians get along well. They are fairly similar peoples as even the name suggests. There isn’t much racial strife when it comes to these two groups and both groups honor one another. When it comes to other groups though, problems arise because of the historical past that the liberal education system and media indoctrinate them with to become violent and hateful against us.

    3. Wait … why just Hongkongers? Millions of people in Africa are in a pretty bad bind. Also, people in the Middle East, Central Asia, and South America.

      This but unironically. There’s no good argument for impeding the free movement of people. You could argue that they’ll bankrupt the welfare state, but aside from the fact that immigrants contribute far more wealth than they take the welfare state has already long since bankrupted itself and has been in full money printing mode for 13 years now. You could argue that immigrants are not freedom lovers and culturally don’t “get” America but if they hate freedom so much why are they so desperate to get out unfree places and make their way to America? And if they don’t “get” America’s stance on freedom perhaps it’s because America’s stance on freedom has been slipping towards totalitarianism for a while now, or did you not notice that it took months before even mild protests started when the entire nation was locked in their homes and that we have cops who steal more than burglars, literal Paperen Bitte checkpoints dotted around the country, and a government that can’t miss an opportunity to snoop on its own citizens.

      So please, tell me all about what it is that immigrants that does not belong in America.

      1. Open borders is a euphemism for forced integration.

        1. Isn’t that a bit like saying free speech is a euphemism for propaganda?

          1. No. If the state is importing foreign persons while maintaining anti discrimination laws, that’s forced integration. If we actually had total freedom of association, I could get more on board with more open immigration. For better or for worse, individuals must have the freedom to choose.

    4. The reason is those peoples don’t get along well with a European heritage. They want continuance handouts for things that are very questionable about the past. Secret society groups instigated things such as slavery, it wasn’t the regular European heritage through blood sweat and tears built this country and its infrastructure that created or endorsed slavery. Asians and any that aren’t particularly Han Chinese from the mainland get along well with Caucasians. After all, look at the names, we are basically the same peoples.

  3. To anyone who wants out ?

    Does this apply to all countries with domestic changes that citizens may not like ?
    Or just the ones Reason disapproves of ?

    1. Reason’s suggestion constitutes border-line interventionism unless it applies as policy for all countries

      1. The obvious solution to ethnic and religious conflicts is to invite both parties to America so they can become citizens and contribute to our economy and democracy.

        1. Rewarding people for bad behavior isn’t the solution. It would be equivalent to subsidizing the welfare mum with more money if she has more children. We should strive to bring people over that have proved themselves worthy and are more likely to raise our standards of living, instead of lowering our standards of living.

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  4. who teaches Shakespeare and the Federalist Papers anymore?

    1. The same backward institutions who teach the New Testament (e.g. Bob Jones University, Liberty University). Modern institutions of learning teach scientific facts from books written by Magnus Hirschfeld and Karl Marx.

      1. can’t imagine Bob Jones U is overrun by the Chinese

        1. Worse.. Christian abolitionists.

  5. There may be good reasons for allowing people to escape Hong Kong for humanitarian reasons. But if you think allowing all of the dissenters in Hong Kong to leave is going to hurt the Chinese government, you may have sniffed too much glue as a child.

    As far as the Chinese college students, those student are held at the mercy of the government. Most of them come here to spy. Letting more in does nothing but help China.

    1. I don’t believe he was talking about “Chinese” college students. I think he was talking about Chinese students here from Hong Kong.

      When Hong Kong was handed over to the Chinese, the people of Hong Kong enjoyed a higher standard of living than the people of the UK–back when the average person in China was a peasant.

      As of 2019, the GDP per capita in Hong Kong was about $50,000 a year compared to about $10,000 a year in mainland China. The people of Hong Kong, from those I’ve talked to, tend to think of the people of mainland China as something like unsophisticated country bumpkins. Letting people into the U.S. from Hong Kong isn’t like letting people from mainland China emigrate to the U.S. They’re distinctively different groups of people in all the ways that I suspect you care about.

      Of course, those who are working for or with the Chinese government need not be included.

      1. They are all working for the Chinese government. If they were not, China wouldn’t let them out of the country.

        1. Hong Kong residents have enjoyed freedom to travel as part of the Hong Kong basic law all this time. People from mainland China require government permission to travel to Hong Kong, but Hong Kong citizens have been free to travel and immigrate to wherever they want–up until now. I believe all of the students who are in the U.S. now came here without asking for or needing the permission of the mainland Chinese government.

        2. this.^^

          1. My understanding is that all of the students who are in the U.S. now came here without asking for or needing the permission of the mainland Chinese government.

      2. By the way, here are those GDP per capita statistics.


  6. No question but that an influx of entrepreneurial Hong Kong citizens would be great for this country. The GDP per capita in Hong Kong is even above that of Canada’s and Germany’s, and their capitalist work ethic will make them flourish in our country. We should let in as many as want to come here. I’m afraid they’ll opt to go somewhere with less regulation.

    The other thing we might consider is playing footsie with Taiwan. One of the key restraints on China’s treatment of Hong Kong was always that Hong Kong was always seen as a dry run for China’s reintegration of Taiwan, and if we really wanted to kick the CCP in the balls, we might send the Secretary of States on a public good will trip to Taipei.

    The CCP’s counterweight to our relationship with Taiwan was always China’s relationship with North Korea. We should expect to see some saber rattling, missile tests, etc. from North Korea if and when we cozy up with Taiwan, but pressuring China by making nice with Taiwan may be pressure that needs to happen regardless. It should be made clear to China that Taiwan will only become part of China when a) if it’s in the best interests of the United States and b) or if and when Taiwan wants to become part of China.

    After seeing the way the CCP is treating Hong Kong, why would Taiwan want to be subject to the CCP?

    It should be noted that all of China’s actions on this are almost certainly in preparation for (or an attempt to completely head off) the demonstrations I think everyone is expecting on June 4th, the anniversary of the Tienanmen Square Massacre. There will almost certainly be demonstrations, and the CCP is as likely to mark the anniversary with a new massacre in Hong Kong as it is to just let the protest happen.

    With China set to experience a recession and massive unemployment for the first time since it joined the WTO in 2001, Emperor Xi probably feels like he doesn’t have any choice but to put down the demonstrations on June 4. It isn’t necessary for a massacre to be in Emperor Xi’s best interests in order for him to do it. It’s enough to know that the present course is likely to lead to mass unrest if he does nothing.

    The bargain between the CCP and the Chinese people was always that the people would tolerate the abuses of the CCP so long as the CCP continued to deliver economic growth. COVID-19 ruined that bargain, and as the world recession sets in and growth evaporates, all bets are off. Watch for protests to start at the universities in mainland China after the June 4 demonstrations. If those protests show up, we may see some historical change. If they don’t, then we should continue to do what’s in the best interests of the United States–regardless of whether that is also good for the CCP.

    1. The protests have already begun. I don’t believe for a minute that the “lockdowns” China is imposing have anything to do with a new outbreak of their virus. Those lockdowns are happening because of civil unrest.

      1. If unemployment goes up to 10%, what are they going to do with 150 million unemployed factory workers?

        Those kinds of conditions lead to populist revolts in the U.S., from Shay’s Rebellion to the labor movements that culminated in the Great Depression and from Ross Perot’s Reform party to the Tea Party circa 2010.

        China isn’t immune to that, but they have no democratic outlet for that kind of pressure. They can’t throw them all in reeducation camps and teach them about creative destruction. The government can’t send them back to be peasants either.

        I’m not predicting anything, but I remember when it was impossible for the USSR to fall. It was still impossible right up until a few weeks before it started to fall.

        1. //If unemployment goes up to 10%, what are they going to do with 150 million unemployed factory workers?//

          I think you are seriously underestimating the regime’s willingness and ability to kill, torture, and enslave the Chinese people.

          150 million workers makes for a good prison population. Don’t like it? There’s a bullet in the back of your head for that.

          Stop comparing collectivist Chinese people with a long history of autocratic subservience to revolutionary Americans. It doesn’t make any sense.

          1. I think you are seriously underestimating the regime’s willingness and ability to kill, torture, and enslave the Chinese people.

            There’s also a cultural conception of individuality and social responsibility that’s almost diametrically opposite of that of the West.

            The West privately installs nanny cams and enacts laws to prevent even the slightest danger from happening to children. People who allow their children to encounter danger are shamed or worse. The East lets their kids shit in the street and wander around high-traffic wet markets and if something happens to the kid, well, the State will deal with the survivors, they have cameras to help them figure out that sort of thing.

            The specter of child trafficking is onerous in the West. Speculative sale of aborted fetus parts is a new story that jeopardizes multiple businesses and costs several politicians careers. While in the East, S. Korea enacts a policy to crack down on the dead baby flesh capsules coming out of China.

          2. “I think you are seriously underestimating the regime’s willingness and ability to kill, torture, and enslave the Chinese people.”

            People have tried that before. It isn’t a long term solution–not with an newly upwardly mobile class that remembers peasantry but is now on board with consumer consumption.

            It may have been different when there wasn’t much in the way of social stratification. When you have a country of 800 million peasants, it doesn’t bother people as much when they don’t have much–so long as they’re all the same.

            They put “Thou shalt not covet” in the Ten Commandments because it needed to be there. The communists needed that, too, which is why a feigned equality was so important to the creation of the New Soviet Man. That man never existed. I used to have a job, and now I don’t and whether it’s because of the bat flu or because you lost the mandate of heaven, I don’t really give a shit–and neither do my 150 million friends.

            The Mandate of Heaven also has deep roots in Chinese culture.

            “If a ruler was overthrown, this was interpreted as an indication that the ruler was unworthy, and had lost the mandate. It was also a common belief that natural disasters such as famine and flood were divine retributions bearing signs of Heaven’s displeasure with the ruler, so there would often be revolts following major disasters as the people saw these calamities as signs that the Mandate of Heaven had been withdrawn.[1]

            The Mandate of Heaven does not require a legitimate ruler to be of noble birth, depending instead on the just and able performance of the rulers and their heirs. Dynasties such as the Han and Ming dynasties were founded by men of common origins, but they were seen as having succeeded because they had gained the Mandate of Heaven. The concept is in some ways similar to the European concept of the divine right of kings; however, unlike the European concept, it does not confer an unconditional right to rule. Intrinsic to the concept of the Mandate of Heaven was the right of rebellion against an unjust ruler.


            You know, the USSR used to also do all the things you’re talking about, and their had a nation of former serfs they were dealing with, too. Oppression breeding revolt–especially in times of economic calamity–is a solid rule with evidence supporting it going all the way back to the Sumerians. History can be delayed, but the pressure against rulers suffering through harsh economic times is constant. This will happen in China sooner or later, and when it happens, it will come in the wake of a recession.

            1. Yea, it’s not like there’s 2000 years of history indicating otherwise

              1. Right. Nothing ever changes anywhere.

                1. Can you list the events and trends historians will one day look back on as leading to China’s proposed revolution against central authority?
                  Things possibly comparable to the magna carta, English Civil War, Renaissance, plague, discovery of the New World, etc?

                  1. VPN internet?

            2. The Soviet Union did not collapse because the people revolted. It collapsed because the government was broke, and the government was broke because they did not embrace the dual system that China is employing today — that is, global mercantilism, with aggressive social repression at home.

              To their detriment, the Soviets actually believed their ideological bullshit. As a result, the Soviets had no money or commodities left to purchase the loyalty of their government apparatchiks. Without a system to grease their palms, the apparatchiks abandoned the regime and formed the oligarchic republic that Russia is today.

              The CCP is an entirely different animal. The well will not dry up for them as it did for the Soviets because there is always going to be somebody willing to purchase Chinese slave labor – you know, the whole free trade bit.

              1. “The Soviet Union did not collapse because the people revolted.”

                It wasn’t just the Soviet Union. It was also in places like Romania.

                The Soviet Union may have collapsed because of the economics, but don’t tell Elena Ceaușescu that it wasn’t a revolt.

                1. Elena can believe whatever she wants lol

                  1. Are you or are you not contending that the Romanian revolution wasn’t really a revolt?

                    “The events of the full-blown revolution began in Poland in 1989[9][10] and continued in Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Romania. One feature common to most of these developments was the extensive use of campaigns of civil resistance, demonstrating popular opposition to the continuation of one-party rule and contributing to the pressure for change.[11] Romania was the only Eastern Bloc country whose citizens overthrew its Communist regime violently.[12]”


                    Don’t act like this has never happened before.

                    The Arab Spring was also precipitated by economic problems and was also perpetrated by people who were assumed by plenty to be culturally incapable of sustained protest movements.

                    When the CCP goes the way of the 20th Century, this is the way it will go–sooner or later. The reason the CCP spends so much in the way of resources on domestic surveillance isn’t because they’re paranoid. It’s because they’re smart. They’re scared to death of what people are saying to each other because that’s the biggest threat to their power.

                    1. Ken, you should know better.

                      The Romanian “Revolution” was led by Ion Iliiescu, a former PCR thug that took his opportunity to jump to power once the old communist regime under Ceausescu was in a free fall. The man was a communist his entire life. And, once he came to power, he engaged in the same jackbooted thuggery and suppression as his predecessors. Then, the same shit followed as it did in Russia – the rise of oligarchs and plutocrats, plundering what remained of the country, under the guise of “liberalization.” And it has been nothing but corruption ever since.

                      Stop comparing China to small countries in Europe. Europe is far more likely to go the way of China than anything else.

                    2. I have many immigrant friends and acquaintances from Romania, as a former Soviet refugee myself. Nobody in Romania was under any illusions about what had happened. It was simply one communist replacing another, while stirring up a frenzy among a group of small, but vocal protestors, and then establishing a de facto communist regime under the guise of a democratic state.

                      The corruption is still rampant, which is why Romanians are steadily fleeing the country to this day.

                    3. “The Soviet Union did not collapse because the people revolted.”

                      The fact is that the Soviet Union (and the eastern bloc) disintegrated, in no small part because of economic issues, and those economic issues gave impetus to revolts–which may have only turned violent in Romania, but remained revolts.

                      From the perspective of 2020, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the eastern bloc may seem like it was inevitable, but from the perspective of 1988, the revolutions of 1989 (and the colored revolutions that followed) seemed impossible. After all, these countries didn’t allow elections, dissent was put down with extreme prejudice, and massive surveillance was the norm. Why would we expect a country like, say, East Germany to experience revolution under circumstances like that?

                      In the most general sense, oppressive regimes, no matter how vicious, become increasingly vulnerable as they experience more and more economic problems. Sometimes they manage to survive those economic downturns, and in the case of communism, they can often extend their regimes simply by abandoning rigid communist ideology, like Lenin did with the New Economic Policy and China did in the aftermath of the Great Leap Forward. However, like a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads, those regimes are always under threat in times of economic downturns. They may escape revolution on this occasion or that occasion, but economic downturns continue to put more and more pressure on repressive regimes–cross culturally and throughout history.

                      It would be absurd to think that Emperor Xi has no more to worry about if China drops into recession for the first time since China joined the WTO than it did when the economy was humming along and living standards were improving dramatically. There certainly isn’t anything fundamentally different about China that makes them immune to the effects of economic downturns on repressive regimes.

                      In the democratic world, we hold elections to relieve these pressures–and sometimes we elect populists. Hell, we vote on whether to have a revolution every four years. Cross culturally and throughout history! I don’t care if it’s 150 million suddenly unemployed factory workers in China today or thousands of suddenly unemployed soldiers in ancient Rome, sooner or later, there will be trouble.

                      We may be looking at this like we looked at Germany from the perspective of 1988. Revolution seemed practically impossible. Emperor Xi is moving on Hong Kong now to suppress another million+ protest against China like happened in Hong Kong last summer. If he goes all Tienanmen Square Massacre on the people of Hong Kong like his predecessors did in 1989, that may not be enough to spark protests throughout the rest of China. But these regimes become increasingly vulnerable as their economies tank–and manufacturing for export to economies like ours makes them highly subject to our own economic problems.

                      In other words, the reason Emperor Xi is moving against Hong Kong now is because he fears that their protests could spread to the rest of his empire–especially when the Chinese economy is faltering. The reason Emperor Xi is going through with this is because even though he understands there is a risk of igniting further protests elsewhere in the country by way of his repression, he thinks the risk to his regime of not acting is even greater. I don’t see any good reason to disagree with him. He’s scared of his own people because he’s smart. What do you know that he doesn’t know?

            3. China has not had a reformation. That’s all there is to it. Hopefully one day they will have it, and it will give them the type of counter-cultural touchstone that they can build on.

              In the West there are two types of protagonists- the Wise Leader or the Rogue. Sherlock Holmes vs Indiana Jones. In the West, both of those protagonists are equally plausible.

              In a movie where there is some great cataclysm, you have an expert leader with all the education who is leading the nation in response. And then you have a guy who disagrees with that person. In the West, you are just as likely to see either of those people glorified. In Chinese culture, you will always see the former glorified. They have Top Man syndrome, and they have it bad.

              1. I suspect a lot of that is propaganda. They’ve been extremely effective in projecting some of these ideas.

                The American people should be so individualistic and capitalist in outlook as the people of Hong Kong.

        2. How many millions did China kill and let die during the cultural revolution. People don’t matter in China, China matters, death is only but a stepping stone to national immortality

    2. No question but that an influx of entrepreneurial Hong Kong citizens would be great for this country.

      I don’t know about that. Those entrepreneurs are fully accustomed to a nearly free market. I’m not so sure they’d be able to navigate the typical bureaucratic maze in the US.

      1. More entrepreneurs would make us more entrepreneurial. Whatever problems we have in this country, too many idealistic capitalists isn’t one of them.

        1. Why are we so convinced the people of Hong Kong are this mythical tribe of idealistic entrepreneurs?

          1. so true GG in reality most Hong Kongers are just office drones for big corporations stationed in Hong Kong due to it taxes and physical location to China

          2. One of the reasons is because they’re accustomed to living in one of the most capitalistic governments in the world–and just across the fence from one of the worst examples of communism in history.

            Here they are at Number 2 on the Index of Economic Freedom with a score of 89.4.


            The United States is at 17th with a score of 76.6.

            The people of Hong Kong have never risen up against their government out of rage at their capitalist policies. They seem to like capitalism just fine. I’d like to think the American people would react to having their freedoms taken away like the people of Hong Kong have, but I’m not sure as many of us would.

            There are about 7.5 million people in Hong Kong, and millions of them showed up to protest against China last summer. Do you think we could get that kind of showing here in the U.S.? I’d like to think so, but when the U.S. government has abused our rights over recent years, most Americans just grab their ankles and say, “Thank you sir, may I please have another?”

            1. None of what you stated makes them entrepreneurial. I like capitalist just fine. I’m not an entrepreneur.

        2. Whatever problems we have in this country, too many idealistic capitalists isn’t one of them.

          Right. A few more companies founded on the principle of “Don’t be evil.” and we’ll attain libertopia.

          I’m not against entrepreneurs, but the idea that Hong Kong (or Mexico or India) is full of entrepreneurs that would enrich Americans and breed freedom if only they immigrated not only steals a few bases, but ignores a few of the rules about magic dirt and globalism as well.

          1. Americans wanting capitalism is the solution to our problems. I was planning on persuading our fellow Americans to want more capitalism, but if we get a chance to import wealthy, capitalist minded people from Hong Kong by the hundreds of thousands, we should definitely take advantage of that.

          2. P.S. Why assume that wealthy entrepreneurs in Hong Kong be just like computer scientists from India or immigrants from Mexico?

            The people of Hong Kong have maintained capitalism in Hong Kong for 35 years after the takeover because they like it.

            I don’t see any good reason to assume that average Mexicans or Indian elites are as pro-capitalistically minded as the people of Hong Kong.

            From a capitalist perspective, the United States would be a better place if it were more capitalist like Hong Kong, and the reason we aren’t more capitalist is because average Americans aren’t more capitalist.

    3. Indeed, Asians and Caucasians get along well. They are fairly similar peoples as even the name suggests. There isn’t much racial strife when it comes to these two groups and both groups honor one another. When it comes to other groups though, problems arise because of the historical past that the liberal education system and media indoctrinate them with to become violent and hateful against us.

  7. I grew up with a ton of Vietnamese kids, and as far as I can tell, our country was better for it. Not only did we welcome families that were likely to be brutally treated after the US abandoned them to the NV, the brought great food and a great work ethic to my schools.

    In as much as the US had a special responsibility to the Vietnamese, we do not have the same responsibility to the people of Hong Kong. Britain literally sold the people of Hong Kong out, much as the US sold out the people of South Vietnam. The responsibility is on the UK to give them a place to go.

    All that said, since I am an open borders guy, I see much upside to having Hong Kong citizens in the states. They should bring all their money, skills and food here to live. Not because we owe it to them, but because Hong Kong is a fucking awesome city, and its people would do amazing things for the country.

    That said, as John noted, one cannot underestimate the danger presented by Chinese spies. Certainly students from the mainland China should be more closely watched, and citizens from Hong Kong aren’t completely without suspicion. But under none of these circumstances do I feel the security threat overrides the benefits to liberty from letting people come here.

    1. Yeah. If anyone needs to grant residence to people from Hong Kong, it is Britain. Britain sold those people into slavery.

      1. I wish they could have kept Hong Kong too. Maybe they could have kept Hong Kong proper, the 99 year lease only applied to some of the New Territories. Hong Kong Island was ceded in perpetuity to the British. But I think the alternative to what happened was war with China. Which almost certainly would have been even worse for the people of HK.

      2. I have relatives by marriage who live in HK. Of the 7.5 million living there now, about 4 million speak enough English and have had enough ties to HK for years to benefit from emigrating to the US. Most either have Overseas British Passports – there are about 200,00 of those – or are fairly closely related to someone who has one.
        More recent residents of HK are more likely to be supporters or actual members of the CCP, or else they would not have been given government permission to move there.
        Keep those who moved into HK after about 2005 out of the US and let the rest in. Britain will want some as well.

        1. That is a good point. China has an internal passport system. You can’t just live anywhere you want. Only people the government trusts are allowed to live in a place like Hong Kong.

    2. Vietnam wasn’t America’s responsibility, it was the responsibility of the French. The US should never have gotten involved, but that’s a separate issue.

      And we already have an open borders policy with the rest of the world: if you can invest $900000 in a US business or are distinguished in the sciences, engineering, or the arts, you can come to the US with no problems. If you don’t meet those requirements, I don’t see why Americans should take a chance on you.

  8. //No question but that an influx of entrepreneurial Hong Kong citizens would be great for this country.//

    But … let’s be honest about the proposition that Boehm is putting forth.

    Boehm wants **any** person from Hong Kong to immigrate here, and to be admitted, upon arrival, with an immediate and prioritized path toward citizenship. No qualifications required. No entrepreneurial spirit needed.

    This is open borders lunacy piggybacking on an “all Asians are geniuses” stereotype.

    1. Come on Guzba, it is not like Asians are ever criminals or in the mafia or anything. I mean there is no such thing as the Chinese mafia and the crime rate in Hong Kong is zero right?

      1. that reminds me the Tongs used to practice jumping from airplanes in Northern Calif. And don’t follow the boss while on his route to check on his grows they don’t like that. But F’em i’m prepared

    2. This is open borders lunacy piggybacking on an “all Asians are geniuses” stereotype.

      And selectively ignoring the previous “Listing majority muslim nations ‘failed states’ is racist” narrative.

      Hating someone because of their race is wrong because racism is wrong but preferring someone else because of their race isn’t racism.

      1. The sooner we all learn to say, “I don’t care about racism”, the sooner we can pull the rug out from under these idiots. The only way to win is to not play the game!

    3. Border Agent: “So, Mr. Garcia, where did you say you were from?”

      Immigrant: “Umm…Hong Kong?”

      Border Agent: “Ah of course. Welcome to the US.”

  9. I’m not against Hongkongers coming to this country but, if a Hong Kong Visa or citizenship papers got minted today, what Nation would be responsible for the veracity of those papers and/or the person they document?

    Even before the takeover, it wasn’t quite clear in Hong Kong who was a dissident and who was a political plant.

  10. Isn’t handing a visa to anyone who wants out of Hong Kong essentially ceding the city to the CCP?

    1. And to use that VISA, you first have to get out of Hong Kong. I am sure the Chinese government will let everyone who wants to leave. They wouldn’t use this as a means of disposing of criminals, dissidents and other people they didn’t want. No, the Chinese government would never do that.

      This is what Boehm actually believes.

      1. Remember when Cuba did that with the floatilla of “refuges” he let boat to Florida in the 80’s. I’m sure China wouldn’t do such a thing nor would they include a few enforcers to exact revenge on some already in the U.S. oh wait they did that already, o well no problem they can do it again

      2. Fidel Castro never did that either.

    2. Like that won’t happen anyway.

      My concern about letting everyone who can prove they lived in HK pre-’97 is, how do you prevent this from being Mariel Boatlift 2.0? Otherwise, sure let em in. It’d be a big loss of face for China, and a big brain drain. Britain should have done this starting in 1997, but the newcomers might not have voted for Labour.

      I don’t see how Chinese students already here (and many/most of them spying their asses off for China) has anything to do with the plight of the former HK citizens.

  11. “The United States should respond by allowing Hongkongers to immigrate to America immediately.”

    Exactly right. The proper response to literally any world event is to implement the immigration agenda of Reason.com’s billionaire benefactor Charles Koch.


    1. I absolutely agree! Unlimited and unchecked migration is the key to economic growth, except for Israel.

      1. It is implied every time I demand open borders that I’m excluding Israel. I’d modify my username to clarify this — maybe something like OpenBorders(NotForIsraelThough)Liberal-tarian — but it might exceed the character limit.


        1. Sockpuppet tag team?

          1. I’m enjoying this

          2. If our Fellow White People won’t hold us to account, who will?

        2. Thank you for the clarification. You are truly one of the righteous among the goyim.

  12. So noble of you to virtue signal using other people’s money.

    1. Where is the virtue in “hurting China”? Where is the virtue in attempting to empty a foreign country of its most talented and entrepreneurial individuals?

  13. No thanks. They can damn well stay there.

  14. Holy crap! Boehm is trespassing on Shika’s shtick. How about we encourage Hong Kongers to move to Mexico. Maybe they’ll teach the natives some capitalism and entrepreneurship, I mean besides drug smuggling and human trafficking.

    1. No, that will never work. Mexico is already run (and mostly populated by) Red Chinese agents in disguise. It’s part of their strategy to defeat the US in the secret war between the US and China that is going on on the far side of the moon.

      1. Don’t be ridiculous. The inhabitants of the Moon would never let Earthlings fight a war there.

      2. Everybody Wang Chung tonight….

    2. Mexicans are already hard workers its just that their government is shit, who wants to perform for a shitty government. notice lots of Americans are learning this as well

  15. Meh. Another libertarian sophist begging to be kicked from a high cliff into a deep ocean. Doesn’t this act ever get old?

  16. While I wouldn’t object to opening our doors to them, I suspect that the best place for them to go would in fact be Taiwan, which is currently drafting a plan to accommodate them.

  17. Hong Kong should have petitioned to become a U.S. state before that window of opportunity was replaced with another Berlin Wall. As a U.S. state they’d have nuclear Second Amendment rights and be as immune to invasion as Taiwan.

    1. Not sure I buy that Taiwan is immune to invasion any more than Tibet was.

  18. If there are any potential immigrants we should be prioritizing right now, it’s white South Africans. There is a slow genocide going on against them.

    1. they are white so no one cares about white people because they deserve it.

    2. Get both?

  19. The U.S. Should Immediately Grant Visas to Hong Kong Residents Who Want Out
    And it should keep taking Chinese college students too. Both strategies would be more damaging to China than the current plan of using sanctions.

    This is how Reason staff argues these days: “The US federal government should do X because it will be more damaging to country Y than the alternatives.” On top of that “granting visas to” and “taking Chinese college students” translates into “tax US tax payers to pay for giving these people an education”. These are absurdities both from a pragmatic and a libertarian point of view.

    How about this: just leave the Chinese alone, don’t try to lure away the only people capable of changing China, keep tariffs in place equivalent to the costs imposed by US taxes and regulations on US businesses, and keep our existing open borders policy in place? How about a simple libertarian policy like that?

  20. On the one hand, allowing more people from Hong Kong would probably improve our economy. Unlike migrants from Central America, these are people who have been educated in the English language and many have high demand skills.

    But here is the problem, the same problem that happened in Cuba, Central America, etc. Then where will be the engine for change? If all the anti-China protesters leave Hong Kong, then who will protest? How will change and reform ever happen? All that does is benefit China, which would love to be rid of critics of their government.

  21. Blackburn and Cotton are dolts. Chinese students come here to learn real skills and earn a legitimate degree not liberal arts bullshit. This is why we could use more students from Hong Kong in the US. They are actually useful unlike our own students who want degrees in basket weaving and feminine studies and then want $100k fresh out of university.

  22. Not sure that they would be lining up to come to the US. Although not an official country Hong Kong is one of the richest places on earth. They also have higher life expectancy than the US among other things.

    I think the PRC is playing a very dangerous game. If this were monopoly Hong Kong would be like owning Boardwalk and Park Place with 3 hotels. The population has shown itself to be very capable of resistance. It is not the average citizen they need to worry about though. It is the billions in capitol and finance which might choose to relocate to a more friendly environment and it will not be here.

    Follow the money. Always tells you where things are going.

  23. This just feels like breathtakingly naive take on HK situation.

    If most Hong Kongers left that nation, China may simply replace them with their own people. The state would take over HK businesses, and western sheep that need cheap labor and Chinese money will continue to do business with them. China will never show any sign of being “embarrassed” over mass exodus.

    You’re also assuming that people who used to enjoying a high standard of living will thrive in some low population states like Alaska. Empty lands don’t mean housing and jobs. These people need to go to places like CA. You know it, I know it. Letting in thousands of people will pose some logistical challenges in a pandemic, and there’s that TINY chance that China will try to plant agents via asylum. Who know, they might drive one of our senators for 20 years.

    Libertarian foreign policy is starting to take on a certain tone deaf note that’s becoming difficult to ignore. Why do you say “just take on people and do nothing else”? We should just do nothing as China rips up international rule of law to take over a non hostile territory, after having exported a virus that killed hundreds of thousands of people? Do we say “Texas should just take on more Californians” when CA or the federal government tramples on the constitution?

    HK has legitimate asylum claim. The world has to respond to the reason why that became the case.

  24. In a period of massive unemployment and heavy competition for jobs, the US’s duty is to its own citizens first. Pass.

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  25. This could work but I do not think that Chinese students was protesting for USA visa. This seems ridiculous. I hope they knew how to structure a thesis statement at least!

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