Tag: Boris Johnson

In lieu of China imposing new law in Hong Kong, UK to offer “citizenship route” to HK citizens
Asia Pacific Focus

In lieu of China imposing new law in Hong Kong, UK to offer “citizenship route” to HK citizens

China has been facing criticism over the new law imposing on Hong Kong that would devoid the country of its “independent” status and freedom to “protest”, with HK coming directly under the jurisdiction of China mainland.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Times in an interview that UK would offer a route of citizenship to HK residents in case the security law by China is imposed on the country.

UK and other allies like U.S. and Australia are already discussing on the mode of action and change in relations with HK, if China imposes the new law on Hong Kong – in which case the same relations with HK would be unlawful as would be undermining Beijing’s authority.

On Wednesday, UK PM Boris Johnson confirmed that in case of law imposition, the Hong Kong citizens with BNO (British National Overseas) passports would be allowed to enter UK without any visa and allowed to stay up to a year, as against 6 months as per earlier laws. The passport holders would be further allowed to work in UK as an extension to immigration rights.

Approximately 350,000 Hong Kong citizens have a valid BNO passport and more than 2.6 million are eligible for it.

PM Boris Johnson clarified that if need be Britain would take this step for HK citizens willingly and would not “walk away”.

“If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead we will honour our obligations and provide an alternative,” PM Johnson told the Times.

Lord Patten, the last British governor to Hong Kong supported UK’s stand as being “politically and morally right.” He accused China of its continuous “bullying” tactics. He said that it is not against China but the fact that China’s communist regime cannot stand the HK’s policies – that is everything which President Xi Jinping dislikes.

He further said that this is the “era marking beginning of realism with China.”

Hong Kong had been the colony of Britain which was handed over to China in 1997. According to the terms of treaty, Hong Kong enjoys certain freedoms which are devoid in China mainland. These set of freedom policies are set in a mini-constitution known as Basic Law.

BNO passports were granted to HK citizens who were born before handover to China in 1997. These passports allow holders to enjoy many perks and protection from UK foreign policies, they are still not eligible to work or stay for more than 6 months in UK.

The proposed action under immigration and citizenship route by UK for Hong Kong citizens is believed to offer some respite and opportunities for people fearing China law implementation.

Hong Kong Security Law: Britain asks China to “step back”
Geopolitics

Hong Kong Security Law: Britain asks China to “step back”

The British government on 2 June asked China to “step back from the brink” and respect Hong Kong’s autonomy. It also warned that if the former British colony’s autonomy is compromised, the government will offer British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders citizenship to those who are settled in the region.

The statement was made by the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in the House of Commons. The House held a physical meeting despite ongoing corona pandemic to highlight that autonomy of its former colony is of great importance.

The leader also added that China should “respect” its international obligations.

China’s proposal to enact stringent security laws for Hong Kong has attracted sharp reactions from the US and UK.

The Foreign Secretary warned that if China proposes to enact such a law, Britain will also look to at its other options as they have a responsibility towards Hong Kong. Secretary Raab added if any legislation impacting the autonomy of Hong Kong is announced, they can initiate change for the BNO passport holders.

When Britain signed the Joint Declaration in 1984 with China, granting BNO status to Hong Kong residents was part of the deal. The Joint Declaration was arrangement entered into with China before Hong Kong’s handover.

Hong Kong residents with a BNO passport can seek UK consular support in third countries. BNO Passport holders can also enter Britain visa-free and stay in the UK for up to six months.

If the proposed security law is enacted, the UK will allow Hong Kong BNO passport holders to stay beyond six months. The minister also added that those passport holders could also explore the option of getting citizenship in Britain.

China’s National People’s Congress on 22 May proposed a new security law for Hong Kong. After six days, the Congress adopted this proposal.

The new legislation, according to the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, will forbid “treason, secession, sedition, and subversion.”

The British minister described the new law would threaten the “One Country Two Systems,” arrangement. This system makes Hong Kong stay autonomous.

Hong Kong residents fear that their freedom will be compromised if this law is implemented.

The Boris Johnson government is talking to the US and Australia to mount pressure on China to reconsider its decision.

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