HC Deb 05 March 1947 vol 434 c473
38. Mr. Thomas Reid

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many Chinese, approximately, who arc not British subjects, have emigrated to Hong Kong during and since the war and remainder there as residents; and if those of them who earn considerable incomes pay any direct taxes to the Hong Kong Government.

Mr. Creech Jones

No accurate figures are available but it is estimated that the total population of Hong Kong, of whom the vast majority are Chinese, has risen since August, 1945, from 700,000 to the 1941 figure of 1,600,000. No direct taxation is at present in force, but projected taxation on earnings and profits will apply to immigrants of all nationalities who have been resident in Hong Kong for longer than 180 days in any one year of assessment.

Mr. Walter Fletcher

Can the Minister say whether there is any legal instrument in the hands of the Hong Kong Government to prevent mass immigration on the present scale, and does it not impose on the Government a very great strain which they are doing their utmost—with some success—to deal with?

Mr. Creech Jones

It is a strain, and the matter is engaging the attention of the Government there.

Mr. Gammans

Is not this increase of immigration due to the fact that this is the only stable part of China?

Sir Stanley Reed

Does not the Colonial Secretary realise that this great increase in immigration is due to the fact that Hong Kong, under the British flag, is the only island with any security in the whole of that vast country?