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Should I visit Hong Kong?

So you have read the news and you have heard what happened: there was protest in Hong Kong and China has been tightening controls in Hong Kong. Should you be visiting Hong Kong in your next trip to Asia? Is the protest still going on? Is it safe to travel to Hong Kong post COVID-19? How can I find out more about the current situation from the people in my next visit? Let's try to answer all your questions here!

The Background

COVID-19 aside, there had been a lot of social unrest in Hong Kong since 2019. The social unrest was started by the Hong Kong government when they attempted to introduce an extradition bill, a bill that would allow the government to extradite Hong Kong criminals to China (including Taiwan). Since the public worried that the Hong Kong government might began to prosecute people on behalf of China, a few demonstrations was organized to protest against the bill. The protesters' demand later transformed to universal suffrage (aka "democracy") once it became clear that the head of Hong Kong could not answer most of the demands from the public. Most recently, the National Security Law was enacted by the Hong Kong government on June 30th, 2020. The law granted the Hong Kong police to prosecute people who may be involved in secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign or external forces. The law has silenced most opposition voice......

What does it mean if you are a traveler visiting Hong Kong?

First and foremost - I assume your visit to Hong Kong is for your own leisure and you do not plan to join any politics related activities including protests or conferences. If this is the case, there is nothing you should worry about.

If you visited China before and you thought there was no issue in terms of safety and overall experience, then your overall experience in Hong Kong should not be any worse than China. Yes, the politics has changed and it disappointed a lot of people, but the daily lives are largely unchanged - People go to work, nightlife continues, and Hong Kong is still the Asia Financial Centre. While the political situation in Hong Kong can change rapidly, here are some suggestions we have for you, both in understanding what happened to the city and staying safe during your visit.

Is it safe to travel to Hong Kong?
  1. The National Security Law

China has been tightening controls over Hong Kong in the last three years and the most recent action was the enactment of National Security Law. This law aims to "restore" Hong Kong "stability" after the political unrest in 2019 by making certain activities illegal (e.g. if you ask foreign country to sanction Hong Kong, say "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of the Time" in public) . The national security law is considered to be loosely written, so the opposition has quickly silenced since the law started in July 2020. Don't be surprised if your tour guide is not willing to share his view about Hong Kong's recent political situation because we don't know what we can, or cannot, say in public. If you really want to find out what happened from the general public, we recommend you to either speak to your guide privately, get a private tour, or ask a local friend on a private setup.

The National Security Law commenced on June 30th, 2020

2. Is there any more protest?

We don't think you will ever see any protest in the same scale as in 2019, mainly because organizing protest requires Hong Kong police "non-objection letter" and it was very hard to obtain even before COVID-19 and National Security Law. As a result, it is very unlikely to see similar protest as in 2019. A good thing for the travelers is that there will be no traffic disruptions for your next trip to Hong Kong.

No more protesting scene like this

3. Is Hong Kong Safe?

Regardless of political unrest and protest, Hong Kong is probably one of the safest places you will travel to in the world. We would even go so far as saying it would be safe even for a woman walking down the street at night alone (we are not suggesting you should try it until you get into trouble!). As a result, there should not be any concern if you plan to party until the next morning in Hong Kong's busy nightlife!

This banner (and slogan) has become illegal after the National Security Law
People then replace the banner above with this... If you understand what I mean...

4. How do I Support the Democratic Movement in Hong Kong?

You can download this app called "懲罰Mee" for your visit in Hong Kong. This app promotes restaurants and shops who support democracy (aka the "yellow shops") so the more money they make, the more influential they become to determine the future of Hong Kong. While the app is only available in Chinese now, this may change in the future when international borders begin to open and travelers start to visit Hong Kong again.

Use this app if you want to support the pro-democracy movement

All in all, it is no doubt that there will be more challenging time ahead of Hong Kong, but now is also a pivotal moment for you to visit a place that is nothing like other cities in the world: If Berlin after World War II was the center of the cold war, then Hong Kong is the "new Berlin" in the center of the cold war in 2022!

Welcome to Hong Kong.

Thank you for reading the article. For more travel tips from our local guides around the world check the blog section of our website! Have you read our article about the Top Five Must Visit Attractions in Hong Kong?

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