Tags: China | hong kong | visa | national security laws | communist party | ccp

UK May Extend Visas to Hong Kong People Amid China Flap

two boxing gloves with the hong kong and china flags on them colliding.
(Tom Wang/Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 28 May 2020 06:48 PM

The United Kingdom will give visa rights to close to 300,000 people in Hong Kong should China impose national security laws in the city.

The U.K.'s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Home Secretary Priti Patel made the move not long after China's National People's Congress declared it would enforce national security legislation against the former British colony.

Raab said he would extend the British National (Overseas) passport holders for an additional 6-12 months, which could lead to future citizenship.

About 300,000 Hongkongers hold BN(O) passports, which allow all them to visit the U.K. for up to six months, but do not allow them to apply for citizenship or work. Only Hongkongers born before 1997 are eligible for the BN(O) passport.

"If China continues down this path and implements this national security legislation we will change that status, and 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 extendable periods of 12 months, and that would itself provide a pathway to future citizenship," Raab told reporters.

In a Twitter video, Raab pleaded with China to "step back from the brink and to live up to its international obligations."

Johnny Patterson, who runs the London-based Hong Kong Watch group, said the British government will likely need to do more for the people of Hong Kong.

"If things deteriorate further, the U.K. will need to consider extending the scheme beyond 12 months, up to and including right of abode, and encourage other international partners to create a lifeboat scheme to ensure all Hongkongers, including those born after 1997, have a lifeline," Patterson said.

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Should China impose national security laws in Hong Kong, the United Kingdom will give visa rights to close to 300,000 Hong Kong people.
hong kong, visa, national security laws, communist party, ccp
Thursday, 28 May 2020 06:48 PM
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