Kiwi female expat in Hong Kong determined to keep protesting

Published:  14 Jun at 6 PM
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A female expat from New Zealand is in the front line of the massive Hong Kong protests as she feels Kiwis are especially at risk from the proposed extradition law.

Tarsh Smyth has been living and working as an English teacher in Hong Kong for the past year, and decided to join in the protest as she feels New Zealanders may be at more risk from the new law than expatriates from other world countries. The controversial law, at present being debated in Hong Kong’s parliament, would allow the government to extradite expats as well as residents to China at Beijing’s request. Hong Kong has had political autonomy since the end of British rule, but China is becoming ever more insistent as regards dragging the island economic powerhouse back under its full control.

Smyth’s take on the dangers for Kiwi expats is based on New Zealand’s being a small, forward-thinking country with a reputation for doing what’s right. Kiwis in Hong Kong, she says, are vulnerable if they say or do anything which could possibly be seen as anti-China or as a crime against Chinese laws. She added the general feeling amongst the expat community is outrage rather than fear, with many expatriate residents totally committed to fighting to reject the new law, but believes the New Zealand government’s lack of response to the controversial rule is frustrating, to say the least.

Last Tuesday, a New Zealand court refused the extradition of a Korean national accused of murder by Chinese lawyers, giving as a reason the possibility of the man being tortured or executed. This, according to Smyth, makes it even more surprising that the New Zealand Prime Minister hasn’t commented on the protest, especially as many New Zealanders in Hong Kong are now feeling they’ve been forgotten by their home country.
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