Chinese Ambassador Liu Xiaoming has warned the UK not to interfere with Hong Kong following the new national security law imposed by Beijing.
The UK has offered a bespoke pathway to citizenship for up to three million Hong Kongers, a move that was labelled as “gross interference” by Ambassador Liu Xiaoming. The accusation has been rejected by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
The UK’s bespoke offer applies to British Overseas Nationals and their families living in Hong Kong. It will give them the choice of coming to the UK, to work or study, for five years. After the five year period, they will be able to apply for settled status. One year after that, they will be able to apply for citizenship.
The new law, passed by Beijing, erodes Hong Kong’s freedoms as a semi-autonomous region. The Ambassador has said he hopes the UK would reconsider its offer.
“The UK government keeps making irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong affairs” he told a virtual news conference.
A response is expected from Beijing once they know the full details of the move made by the United Kingdom.
The UK is arguing that China has broken the agreement which was effective from 1997; the agreement offered particular freedoms to Hong Kong for 50 years in return for handing the territory back to Beijing.
Dominic Raab insisted that the plans do not interfere in China’s domestic affairs, he said: “We want a positive relationship with China… but the real issue here is one of trust, and whether China can be trusted to live up to its international obligations and its international responsibilities”
“That’s the message that we are telegraphing along with many of our allies, and indeed many international partners around the world.”
There have been mixed reviews from the public regarding the government’s decision. However, it is important to remember that this does not by any circumstances mean that three million people will come to the UK.
The government still has a duty to monitor immigration and ensure any immigration is controlled and acceptable. Some people are cautious of ‘an influx’, but a government source has confirmed this will not happen.
While it’s true that we are likely to see a small increase in those moving to the UK from Hong Kong; the majority of those residing in Hong Kong that feel the need to migrate are more likely to move to other parts of Asia or the US instead.
It’s true that the UK government is concerned about the rights of Hong Kongers, but their primary aim is to make a stand against China, according to a government source. That does indeed appear to be the main point of this – and people should bear that in mind.
I am keen to see Beijing’s official response.