The number of Hong Kongers moving to Taiwan has reached a record high amid new security law imposed by China in the semi-autonomous region, a Taiwanese daily reported on Monday.

Chiu Chui-Cheng, Taiwan’s deputy minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, said 7,474 Hong Kongers have applied for Taiwanese residency from January to October this year.

The number of applications is far higher than that in 2019 when 5,858 Hong Kongers sought residence permits in Taiwan, according to Taiwan News.

Ever since the mass anti-government protests in Hong Kong last year, the number of people applying for residence in Taiwan has increased. Many people were arrested and charged under the new national security law introduced by Beijing in July of this year.

Chiu, the Taiwanese minister, said: “We need to be proactive and support them with institutional arrangements. This is our pending assignment.”

“The government will work with civil groups and academia on refining legislation and systems. This is what ‘stand with Hong Kong’ means,” he added.

China considers Taiwan a breakaway province, while Taipei insists on its independence since 1949 and has diplomatic relations with 16 countries and regions.

Implementation of the new security law was prompted by year-long anti-government protests in 2019 against the now dumped extradition treaty between Hong Kong and Beijing.

Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997 before being handed over to China under the “one country, two systems” regime.

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