Prime Minister Johnson wants to facilitate naturalization for millions of Hong Kong residents in response to the controversial security law. China firmly rejects this.
China has threatened Britain with countermeasures if it upholds its offer to facilitate naturalization for Hong Kong citizens. “If the UK side unilaterally changes practices, it will break its own stance and promise, as well as international law and basic norms for international relations,” the Chinese embassy in London wrote on its website. The British government should rethink its decision and “refrain from interfering in Hong Kong affairs”.
In response to China’s security law for the former British Crown Colony, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Wednesday that Hong Kong residents would relax immigration laws. People who are entitled to “British National Overseas” status should be able to obtain a multi-year residence and work permit in the UK and later apply for a British passport.
The Chinese embassy wrote: “We strongly reject this and reserve the right to take appropriate action.” All “Chinese compatriots living in Hong Kong are Chinese citizens”, including Hong Kong citizens who are entitled to “British National Overseas” (BNO) status. China already considers the BNO passport only as a “travel document” that should not allow a longer right of residence in Great Britain.
Johnson had said in London’s parliament the day before that the controversial security law constituted a “serious violation” of the Sino-British treaty on the transfer of the former crown colony to the People’s Republic in 1997. His government had warned Beijing in early June that it would do so Immigration laws for Hong Kong people will loosen if the law comes into force. “And that’s exactly what we’re going to do now,” said Johnson.