Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Hong Kongers can stay in his country. (AP)

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Hong Kongers can stay in his country. (AP)

Police display a banner warning people not to protest. Hong Kongers have had the right to express beliefs freely until now. (AP)

Police display a banner warning people not to protest. Hong Kongers have had the right to express beliefs freely until now. (AP)

Police hold a protester after spraying pepper spray during a protest in Hong Kong. (AP)

Police hold a protester after spraying pepper spray during a protest in Hong Kong. (AP)

Hong Kongers gather at a shopping mall to protest the new security laws. (AP)

Hong Kongers gather at a shopping mall to protest the new security laws. (AP)

You’re Invited . . . to Australia

Posted: September 1, 2020

Some Hong Kong citizens live in other parts of the world right now. They watch as China takes more power in Hong Kong. Some don’t want to return home. What will become of them?

Officials in Australia make a suggestion: “Stay here!”

Some Hong Kongers already live in Australia. Australian officials say they will offer around 10,000 of them a chance to stay in Australia for good. First Hong Kongers can become permanent residents of Australia. After that, they could eventually become Australian citizens. This could help people persecuted in Hong Kong find a new life.

How does China feel about Australia’s new arrangement? Angry! And that’s a threat for Australia. China is Australia’s most important trade partner.

More than seven million people live in Hong Kong. And the city isn’t that big. Hong Kong’s residents are really jammed together. Kongers know that mainland China controls what citizens can and cannot do. Many Hong Kongers support democracy—government in which people elect leaders. Will the Chinese government oppress them for that belief? If so, it might be safer for them to leave Hong Kong. Not everyone can leave, of course. Some do not have enough money. Some love their city too much to go. And some want to stay because they are proud to be Chinese.

Great Britain offers help to Hong Kongers too. Remember: Great Britain first made the treaty with China that said Hong Kong could rule itself for 50 years. British officials say China is breaking the deal. So Britain will allow up to three million Hong Kongers to come. They can work in the United Kingdom for five years. Then they can apply to become British citizens—for good.