UK could offer 'path to citizenship' for Hong Kong's British passport holders

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Beijing’s proposed safety regulation has sparked protests in Hong Kong

The United Kingdom may just be offering British Nationwide (In another country) passport holders in Hong Kong a trail to UK citizenship if China does now not droop plans for a safety regulation within the territory, UK Overseas Secretary Dominic Raab says.

There are 300,000 BNO passport holders in Hong Kong.

They have got the best to discuss with the United Kingdom for as much as six months with no visa.

Mr Raab’s commentary got here after the United Kingdom, US, Australia and Canada issued joint condemnation of Beijing’s plan.

The proposed regulation has been subsidized by way of China’s parliament – which endorses selections made by way of the ruling Communist Birthday celebration – and might be in drive as early as the tip of June. It might make it against the law to undermine Beijing’s authority in Hong Kong.

The 4 countries stated implementing the safety regulation would undermine the “one nation, two methods” framework agreed sooner than Hong Kong used to be passed over from British to Chinese language rule in 1997.

It assured Hong Kong some autonomy and afforded rights and freedoms that don’t exist in mainland China.

  • China’s new regulation: Why is Hong Kong apprehensive?
  • How is Hong Kong run?

China has rejected international complaint of the plan.

Li Zhanshu, chairman of the parliamentary committee that can now draft the regulation, stated it used to be “consistent with the elemental pursuits of all Chinese language folks, together with Hong Kong compatriots”.

What did Raab say?

British Nationwide (In another country) passports have been issued to folks in Hong Kong by way of the United Kingdom sooner than the switch of the territory to Chinese language sovereignty in 1997.

Pronouncing the conceivable trade in coverage, Mr Raab stated the six-month prohibit on remains in the United Kingdom for BNO holders can be scrapped.

“If China continues down this trail and implements this nationwide safety law, we will be able to take away that six month prohibit and make allowance the ones BNO passport holders to come back to the United Kingdom and to use to paintings and find out about for extendable classes of 12 months and that can itself supply a pathway to long run citizenship,” he stated.

The BBC’s diplomatic correspondent James Landale says that during Beijing the danger will likely be noticed as an escalation and is more likely to advised a strong reaction.

China may now not thoughts if some pro-democracy campaigners get away to the United Kingdom however the flight of gifted wealth creators can be of outrage, our correspondent says.

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Mr Raab says deadlines on visits by way of Hong Kong BNO holders might be scrapped

Some MPs need the United Kingdom to move additional and be offering automated citizenship. Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the international affairs choose committee, stated BNO holders will have to have an automated proper to are living and paintings in the United Kingdom.

The federal government has previously rejected calls to present BNO holders in Hong Kong complete citizenship.

Final yr greater than 100,000 folks in Hong Kong signed a petition calling for complete rights. The federal government replied by way of pronouncing that most effective UK electorate and likely Commonwealth electorate had the best of homestead in the United Kingdom and cited a 2007 assessment which stated giving BNO holders complete citizenship can be a breach of the settlement below which the United Kingdom passed Hong Kong again to China.

Alternatively in 1972 the United Kingdom presented asylum to a few 30,000 Ugandan Asians with British In another country passports after the then-military ruler Idi Amin ordered about 60,000 Asians to depart. On the time some MPs stated India will have to take accountability for the refugees, however Top Minister Edward Heath stated the United Kingdom had an obligation to simply accept them.

What different response has there been?

Shadow Overseas Secretary Lisa Nandy previous stated the United Kingdom needed to be extra tough with Beijing.

Relating to the safety regulation, she advised the BBC: “That is the newest in a sequence of makes an attempt by way of China to begin to erode the joint declaration which Britain co-signed with the Chinese language executive once we passed over Hong Kong, and safe its particular standing.”

“We need to see the United Kingdom executive in point of fact step up now,” she stated.

Former Overseas Secretary Jeremy Hunt stated the United Kingdom will have to carry in combination a coalition of nations to steer clear of a tragedy within the territory.

He advised the BBC: “That is unquestionably probably the most unhealthy length there has ever been in the case of that settlement.

“With our distinctive prison scenario, Britain does have a accountability now to tug in combination that global coalition and to do what we will be able to to offer protection to the folk of Hong Kong.”

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Media captionPolice arrested dozens of folks in Causeway Bay on Wednesday

On Thursday Top Minister Boris Johnson’s respectable spokesman advised a Westminster briefing: “We’re deeply fascinated with China’s law associated with nationwide safety in Hong Kong.

“We’ve got been very transparent that the safety law dangers undermining the main of 1 nation, two methods.

“We’re in shut touch with our global companions in this and the Overseas Secretary spoke to US Secretary [Mike] Pompeo ultimate evening.”

He added: “The stairs taken by way of the Chinese language executive position the Joint Declaration below direct danger and do undermine Hong Kong’s top level of autonomy.”

On Wednesday, Mr Pompeo stated traits in Hong Kong supposed it would now not be thought to be to have “a top level of autonomy” from mainland China.

This may result in Hong Kong being handled the similar as mainland China below US regulation, which might have main implications for its business hub standing.

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