Number of Chinese seeking to move to Canada spikes as discontent grows

Number of Chinese seeking to move to Canada spikes as discontent grows

Number of Chinese seeking to move to Canada spikes as discontent grows. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaochu/IANS)

Washington, Dec 12 (IANS) The number of Chinese applying to emigrate to Canada rose 15 per cent during the July-September quarter, the latest indication of widespread public dissatisfaction with life in China, particularly under the harsh anti-virus restrictions of the past three years that have hamstrung economic growth and curbed individual freedoms, RFA reported. Canada's Department of Immigration and Citizenship received 9,925 applications from Chinese people for permanent residency during the third quarter, up 15 per cent from the same quarter of 2021. The exodus, mostly of middle-class families and high-earning corporate professionals who have the wherewithal to relocate, has been dubbed the "run" phenomenon, using a Chinese character that sounds a little like the English word "run", RFA reported. Lin Litong, who came to Canada as a student six years ago, said he's not surprised by the trend. "There was a saying that became popular 10 or 20 years ago -- voting with one's feet," Lin told Radio Free Asia. "There is a deep sense of discontent running through the entire business and political elite and all through the middle class." "It's about regaining a sense of safety and security," he said. "It doesn't matter if people say life is more complex in foreign countries... at least people feel safe." China's "10-point" announcement on December 7 that it would loosen some aspects of the zero-Covid restrictions in the wake of mass protests across the country didn't appear to have had much effect on keyword searches for "emigration", which have been spiked several times since the Shanghai lockdown that began in late March. While keyword searches on WeChat and Baidu saw spikes in searches for "10-point plan" and "no more PCR tests," searches for "emigration" also doubled to nearly 120 million on the day of the announcement, RFA reported. China announced strict curbs on "non-essential" overseas travel by its nationals in May, amid a surge in immigration inquiries after weeks of gruelling mass testing, lockdowns and forcible mass transportation to quarantine camps. Reports have also surfaced on social media of people leaving China for foreign study having their passports clipped and invalidated as they boarded planes, and also from people who had been denied passports when they applied for them. In April, Chinese residents were ordered to hand over any valid passports to the authorities for "safe-keeping", RFA reported.

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