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The Editors

A Better Way to Help Hong Kong

Instead of trying to punish China, the West should open its doors to the city’s residents.

Yearning to breathe free.

Yearning to breathe free.

Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg

Ever since China announced plans to impose a sweeping new national-security law on Hong Kong, Western democracies have struggled to come up with an effective response. Such steps as ending the former British colony’s special trade privileges, as the U.S. has suggested, are likelier to hurt ordinary Hong Kongers than to dissuade leaders in Beijing. Instead, the West should follow Hong Kong’s own example: Open its doors to skilled and industrious migrants looking for freedom and economic opportunity.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has done just that, offering a path to citizenship for nearly 3 million Hong Kongers who were born in the territory before it reverted to Chinese control in 1997. This is only right: Johnson’s government has a special responsibility to these former British subjects, who trusted the U.K. to hold China to its pledge to guarantee Hong Kong’s autonomy for 50 years.