LONDON | China will take “adequate measures” if the United Kingdom extends access to british citizenship for the people of Hong Kong, because of the national security law in the former british colony, announced on Thursday that the Chinese embassy in London.
“If the british change unilaterally the current rule, this would constitute a breach of its own position and that of international law,” said the embassy in a press release.
“We are firmly opposed, and we reserve the right to take adequate measures”, adds the press release, without more details.
The United Kingdom has announced Wednesday its intention to extend the rights of immigration for the people of Hong Kong, on the ground that the law imposed by Beijing constituted a “manifest violation” of the autonomy of the former british colony.
This territory was retroceded to China in 1997, on condition of retaining certain freedoms, and the autonomy and legislative and judicial for 50 years.
London plans to change the conditions attached to the “british passport overseas”, the BN(O), in order to make them more favorable and allow their holders to live and work in the United Kingdom.
There are approximately 350 000 holders of this passport, a figure that has almost doubled since the beginning of the protests in Hong Kong against the central power of Beijing a year ago. But 2.9 million of other hong Kong people, in fact all those born before 1997, are eligible for obtaining this document, as well as their children, according to the head of british diplomacy Dominic Raab.
The holders of this passport will now be able to reside five years in the Uk, compared with six months currently, at the end of which they will be able to apply for resident status and, after an additional year, the citizenship.
“All the fellow countrymen living in Hong Kong are chinese nationals, whether they hold or not” the BN(O), said the Chinese embassy in the press release, after the convocation on Wednesday, ambassador Liu Xiaomin in the ministry of foreign Affairs of the uk.
“We urge the british to consider objectively and fairly the law of national security to Hong Kong, to respect China’s position and concerns, and to refrain from interfering in the affairs of Hong Kong in any way whatsoever”, she insisted.
Dominic Raab has admitted that the Uk could not “not do much” if China prevented the holders of this passport to go there.
“There is a diplomatic influence, there are other ways by which we can persuade China not to implement fully the law on the national security or some retaliation”, he said on ITV. “But in the end, we need to be honest about the fact that we could not force China to allow BN(0) of coming to the Uk”.
The national security law, enacted Tuesday after a wave of demonstrations for freedom in Hong Kong, plans to punish the activities of the separatists, “terrorists”, the subversion or foreign interference in the autonomous territory to chinese.
Less than 24 hours after its entry into force, the police made the first arrests under this legislation, which makes the chinese authorities competent for the most serious crimes in this area.