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Beijing could bar exit of dual Canadians from Hong Kong amid protests: lawyer

Last Updated Jun 1, 2020 at 4:38 pm EDT

Protesters gesture with five fingers, signifying the "Five demands - not one less" in a shopping mall during a protest against China's national security legislation for the city, in Hong Kong, Monday, June 1, 2020. The mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party says U.S. moves to end some trading privileges extended to Hong Kong grossly interfere in China's internal affairs and are doomed to fail. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

OTTAWA — A Canadian legal activist is warning the federal government to grant asylum and expanded refugee settlement to Hong Kong Canadians before China cracks down and prevents their departure altogether.

The warning came Monday from Avvy Go, the director of the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, which has already helped bring Hong Kong pro-democracy activists to Canada.

There are 300,000 Canadians of Hong Kong descent in China, and Go says if Ottawa doesn’t act now to accommodate those who want to leave, Beijing will prevent them from leaving in the future.

MPs from the four major Canadian political parties and one independent senator stood in solidarity with the proposals Go put forward at a virtual press conference convened by Amnesty International.

Canada, along with the United States, Britain and Australia, have condemned Beijing’s imposition of a new national security law that they say violates Hong Kong’s freedom from Chinese communist interference.

Go is calling on the federal government to implement several immigration and asylum measures, to help people get out of Hong Kong before it is too late.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020.

The Canadian Press