UK Will Offer Citizenship Path To Hongkongers over China’s New Security Law

Leave a comment / By: okenwapablo / 01 July, 2020 21:25:36PM
UK Will Offer Citizenship Path To Hongkongers over China’s New Security Law

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the U.K. will offer citizenship path to Hongkongers amid new Chinese security law. According to Johnson, China had breached the terms on which the United Kingdom returned the city in 1997. The agreement had seen China pledge to uphold Hong Kong’s independent legal system and political freedoms for at least 50 years. 

The eligible residents of the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong are potentially numbering in millions. The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described a “bespoke immigration pathway” through which the nearly three million Hong Kong residents could be eligible. Here are the details of how Hongkongers could gain U.K. citizenship.

  • Hong Kong residents with British National Overseas (BNO) status granted to people living in Hong Kong before the 1997 handover. Additionally, the dependents of such people will have the right to remain in the United Kingdom for 5 years. During these five years, the dependents can either work or study in the U.K.
  • These people will subsequently be allowed to apply for “settled status.” After one more year, they will be given U.K. citizenship. 
  • The Foreign Secretary also added that there would be no quotas. It means that the 350,000 holders of BNO passports, including the 2.6 million people eligible to apply for them, could all become citizens of the United Kingdom. It also includes their dependents, according to the BBC’s Stephen McDonell. 

Beijing has publicly expressed their displeasure with the United Kingdom for even threatening such a move and warned London about unspecified retribution. However, we all have to wait for a response from the Chinese government, given the position of the U.K.  

The Hong Kong Security Law

The new national security law imposed on Hong Kong by China is aimed at stamping out any opposition to the Chinese Communist Party in power. This law was conceived in secret and passed without any serious input from Hong Kong authorities. It gives the Chinese government broad and enormous powers to crack down on different political crimes. These political crimes include separatism and collusion. On Wednesday last week, a man was arrested after he unfurled a Hong Kong flag during a demonstration. Chinese police said on Twitter that he had been detained for violating the National Security Law. 

The new Chinese National Security Law targets protesters with harsh and severe penalties, including life imprisonment. Experts have said the law will usher in a new era that may see civil liberties tightly constrained. The law is aimed at spirited anti-government protests which have enveloped Hong Kong in the past year. 

Under the new National Security Law, destroying government building would be considered an act of subversion that is punishable by life imprisonment. People who sabotage transport will be seen as terrorists and will face life imprisonment. The law contains four major offenses, which include separatism, subversion, terrorism, and conspiracy. Hong Kong activists have alleged that the law is ambiguously worded and gives the authorities extensive power against them.       

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