From this excerpt:

"How the situation of Falun Gong practitioners in Hong Kong evolves in the coming months and how much of the repression leaks over from the mainland is a very important space to watch,"

I suppose it is a phrasal verb, but I couldn't find any other occurrences of "leak over" as phrasal verb on the internet. All matches of those two words together are such that over functions as a simple preposition (not what I'm looking for), like below:

  • Hackers leak over 20,000 unemployment applicants' bank...
  • Any leak over 2,000 square feet being prioritized for repair
  • Labor demands Dutton shed more light on media leak over medevac bill

So is to leak over any different from simply to leak?


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    Over is functioning as a simple preposition. It's just that in this case, it's being used figuratively rather than literally. The acid will soon leak over the barrier. – Jason Bassford Jul 21 '20 at 6:25
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    More idiomatic is 'spill over'. ' ... the Sacred War occasionally spilled over from central Greece to other areas ....' [Brill.com:FirstBlood]. 'Spill over from domain A to domain B': be largely confined to domain A, but then spread 'contagiously' so that there is an outbreak in domain B. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 21 '20 at 14:04
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    @RicardoBaptista - Almost. The repression may “leak over from the mainland” is the same as the repression may “leak over to Hong Kong“. The geographic, political, and cultural differences between the two regions is the barrier that repression is leaking over. The repression is moving from one region to another. But, the barrier is implied since the SAR status of Hong Kong is well known. – Dean F. Jul 21 '20 at 16:19
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    @RicardoBaptista - Hmmm. It would be grammatically correct. But, I don’t think that it necessarily conveys the barrier that exists. Others may disagree. – Dean F. Jul 21 '20 at 19:32
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    @RicardoBaptista - I think a transitive word is preferable to no word at all to imply the existence of a barrier. “Over” might be replaced by “through”. Although, “under” and “around” don’t paint the mental picture as well as “over” does. – Dean F. Jul 21 '20 at 19:56

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