UK to provide citizenship to Hong Kong UK passport holders
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The UK could provide British National (Overseas) passport possessors in Hong Kong a way to UK citizenship if China does not amend plans for a security law in the territory, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says.
There are 300,000 BNO passport possessors in Hong Kong.
They have the valid to visit the UK for up to six months in the absence of a visa.
Mr Raab’s statement came after the UK, US, Australia and Canada make known joint criticism of Beijing’s plan.
The suggested law has been supported by China’s parliament – which validates decisions made by the ruling Communist Party – and could be put into order as early as the end of June. It would make it a unlawful to sabotage Beijing’s authority in Hong Kong.
The four nations said forcing the security law would reduce the “one country, two systems” framework consented before Hong Kong was passed over from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
*It guaranteed Hong Kong some autonomy and afforded rights and freedoms that do not exist in mainland China.*
China has declined foreign condemnation of the plan.
Li Zhanshu, chairman of the parliamentary committee that will now draft the law, said it was “in line with the fundamental interests of all Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots”.
On Thursday Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “We are deeply concerned about China’s legislation related to national security in Hong Kong.
“We have been very clear that the security legislation risks undermining the principle of one country, two systems.
“We are in close contact with our international partners on this and the Foreign Secretary spoke to US Secretary [Mike] Pompeo last night.”
He added: “The steps taken by the Chinese government place the Joint Declaration under direct threat and do undermine Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.”