Britain pledged to extend visa rights and also supply 300,000 Hong Kong British nationals (overseas) passport holders using a route to citizenship must China inflict controversial security legislation that could curtail independence in the land.
“If China goes down this route and implements this federal security law we’ll be asked to modify the standing of BN(O) passport holders and also put in train arrangements that permit them to visit the UK for more than the present six-month interval and also to make an application for extended intervals of 12 weeks of study and work, which itself may offer a pathway to citizenship,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Thursday.
His movie message came following the UK published a joint announcement with Australia, Canada, and the USA where they revealed their”deep concern” on the new safety legislation.
“China’s decision to enforce the new federal safety law on Hong Kong lies in direct conflict with its international responsibilities under the essentials of this legally-binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration,” they added.
Western nations have cautioned that the Chinese laws could endanger the”one country, two systems” treaty that the UK and China agreed upon ahead of the former British colony was handed over to Beijing in 1997.
The law, which was endorsed by China’s parliament and is expected to kick in June, could enable Beijing to set up its safety agencies in the area and also to criminalize secession, subversion — activities undermining the ability of their jurisdiction and international interference.
It’s contributed to renewed mass demonstrations in Hong Kong and also to violent clashes between protesters and authorities.
China has resisted complaint using a spokesperson for the foreign ministry asserting on Wednesday that”the problem of legislation to protect domestic security in Hong Kong is purely China’s internal affairs”.
However, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared on Thursday that using the legislation, the US no longer believes the former British colony to have”a high level of independence from China” and as such, it will not justify being treated otherwise compared to mainland China no more.
This may have significant consequences for the land. It might cause the suspension of preferential US tariffs and also leave the door open to economic sanctions that would shake confidence in the land’s status as an international financial hub.
Britain first issued the BN(O) passport in 1987, two years following the Hong Kong Act that could bring an end to the UK’s sovereignty within the Chinese land was signed.
The new category of the passport has been passed out to permanent residents of Hong Kong up before the land they ceased to be British Dependent Territories citizens in 1997.