Sunday, February 28, 2021

China will ‘no longer recognise’ UK passport for Hong Kong individuals

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Beijing’s announcement comes as Britain prepares to open its doorways to tens of millions of individuals from its former colony.

China on Friday mentioned it’s going to “no longer recognise” the British National (Overseas) passport for Hong Kong individuals, because the United Kingdom prepares to open its doorways to tens of millions extra residents of its former colony following a Beijing safety crackdown.

“From January 31, China will no longer recognise the so-called BNO passport as a travel document and ID document, and reserves the right to take further actions,” international ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian advised reporters.

Beijing’s move to impose a nationwide safety regulation in June final yr prompted Britain to supply refuge to almost three million Hong Kong residents eligible for BNO passport from January 31.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the UK authorities promised to face by the individuals of its former colony.

Holders of the BNO standing – a legacy of UK rule over Hong Kong as much as 1997 – will from Sunday be capable of apply to reside and work within the UK for as much as 5 years, and ultimately search citizenship.

Before the change, BNO passport holders have had solely restricted rights to go to the UK for as much as six months, and to not work or settle.

The UK says it’s performing in response to a National Security Law imposed by China final yr which has devastated Hong Kong’s democracy motion and shredded freedoms meant to final 50 years underneath the 1997 handover accord.

“I am immensely proud that we have brought in this new route for Hong Kong BN(O)s to live, work and make their home in our country,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned in an announcement.

“In doing so we have honoured our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong, and we have stood up for freedom and autonomy — values both the UK and Hong Kong hold dear.”

Any Hong Kong resident born earlier than 1997 is eligible for BNO standing. The new visa path opens up entry to the UK to an estimated 2.9 million adults in Hong Kong and one other 2.Three million of their dependents.

Sino-British Joint Declaration

In follow, London initiatives that as much as 322,400 of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million inhabitants will take up the visa over 5 years, benefitting the UK financial system by as much as 2.9 billion kilos ($4bn).

The new pathway won’t come low-cost.

A five-year visa will price a comparatively average 250 kilos ($342) per individual. But a compulsory surcharge to entry Britain’s state-run well being service will run to three,120 kilos ($4,268) per grownup, and a pair of,350 kilos ($3,215) for these beneath 18.

Shorter, cheaper visas for 30 months will even be accessible.

“We have been clear we won’t look the other way when it comes to Hong Kong. We will live up to our historic responsibility to its people,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab mentioned.

“China’s imposition of the National Security Law in Hong Kong constitutes a clear and serious breach of the [pre-handover] Sino-British Joint Declaration contrary to international law.”

The safety regulation was imposed on Hong Kong final June in response to 2019 protests, focusing on acts Beijing deems to be secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with international forces.

Mass arrests of pro-democracy figures have adopted. Some have fled Hong Kong for the West, together with to Britain.

Between July 2020 and January 2021, about 7,000 individuals with BNO standing and their dependents have already been given distinctive depart to reside within the UK.

China, livid at Britain’s new visa pathway, has in flip accused London of flouting the handover settlement and demanded Western international locations keep out of Hong Kong’s affairs.

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