In a casual conversation last weekend, it turned out that a diplomat due to retire later this year had originally intended to remain in Hong Kong and join the private sector. But now, he said, “That is clearly impossible.”

Hong Kong is changing so much that it is quickly becoming unrecognizable. Its still sizable expatriate community includes many people who came intending to stay for two or three years and ended up staying a lifetime. But, with China tightening its grip over the former British colony, Hong Kong is losing much of its old attraction.

As for the 7.5 million residents, considerably more than 100,000 are uprooting themselves this year and moving, primarily to Britain, which has offered to take about 5.5 million of the territory’s 7.5 million people, but also to other countries, such as Canada and Australia, which have put out the welcome mat for Hong Kong.