“UK To Offer Citizenship To Hong Kong Residents In Face Of Beijing Security Laws “— UK Foreign Secretary
Foreign Secretary to the United Kingdom, Dominic Raab has threatened that the government will create citizenship opportunities for 300,000 Hong Kong residents unless China backs down on its planned security laws.
The UK government says the new law is a violation of the autonomy and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong which is a former British colony, in breach of international treaty commitments.
Said security laws have seen major protests in the past few weeks over the breach of privacy to Hong Kong dwellers, as the new laws explicitly allow extraditions from Hong Kong to greater China – including the mainland, Taiwan and Macau – for the first time.
Chinese authorities have however argued on the necessity of the law, saying it closes what Hong Kong government officials have repeatedly described as a “loophole” that they claim has allowed the city to become a haven for criminals from the mainland.
U.K’s Foreign Minister Raab however expressed disapproval at China’s approach, saying that visa rights will be extended for British National (Overseas) passport holders as the dispute with Beijing over the reforms to Hong Kong residents’ rights escalated.
“We are deeply troubled about this step,” Raab said in a pooled television interview on Thursday.
“What we now would like to see is China just pause for thought and step back from this step, reconsider and above all live up to its international obligations”, he continued.
The U.K has promised eventual citizenship to Hong Kong dwellers who hold British Overseas passports if Beijing does not steer off it’s chosen path. The U.K numbers passport holders in Hong Kong to be about 300,000.
These British Nationals(O) passport holders reportedly have the right to visit the U.K. for six months. Rabb however intimated that the UK is planning on elongating that period into eventual citizenship.
“If China continues down this path and implements this national security legislation, we will change that status,” Raab said.
“We will remove that six month limit and allow those BN(O) passport holders to come to the U.K. and to apply to work and study for extendible periods of 12 months — and that will itself provide a pathway to future citizenship”, he declared.