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China's security laws send chill through Hong Kong finance sector

Economists and analysts fear prosecution or self-censorship in research reports

Hong Kong's Central business district. The city's status as a global financial hub is in question. Wealthy residents are opening offshore accounts and some people are forecasting a brain drain.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Financial professionals in Hong Kong are fearing that their forecasting work and recommendations of stocks and other investments will soon run afoul of China's proposed security laws for the city, leading to self-censorship by their companies or possible criminal prosecution by authorities.

Seven analysts and economists interviewed by the Nikkei Asian Review said they were concerned that they might unintentionally transgress Beijing's redline and land in trouble. Some of their employers are already taking a conservative approach, and at least one person said he was looking to relocate to London or Singapore to safeguard himself and his work.

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