BEIJING: China on Friday claimed it will “no more time recognise” the British Nationwide (Overseas) passport for Hong Kongers, as Britain prepares to open its doorways to millions extra residents of the former colony next a safety crackdown by Beijing.
The Chinese transfer follows a guarantee by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson‘s federal government to supply long-time period sanctuary for Hong Kong citizens who want to depart the territory.
Holders of British National (Overseas) status — a legacy of British isles rule in excess of Hong Kong up to 1997 — will from Sunday be capable to implement to live and function in Britain for up to five decades, and eventually search for citizenship.
“I am immensely very pleased that we have introduced in this new route for Hong Kong BNOs to live, get the job done and make their household in our region,” Johnson said in a assertion.
BNO passport holders previously experienced only minimal rights to pay a visit to the Uk for up to six months, and no suitable to do the job or settle.
Beijing was swift to strike back again at the British improve on Friday.
“From January 31, China will no longer recognise the so-named BNO passport as a travel doc and ID document, and reserves the correct to just take even further actions,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian advised reporters.
London claims it is acting in reaction to a National Stability Law imposed by China previous 12 months which has devastated Hong Kong’s democracy motion and shredded freedoms intended to very last 50 many years under the 1997 handover accord.
Zhao said an “indignant” China thought Britain experienced marched properly outside of the scope of the settlement, hence nullifying it.
“The United kingdom is trying to switch massive numbers of Hong Kong citizens into next-course British isles citizens… and has by now absolutely adjusted the nature of the BNO,” Zhao additional.
It is unclear what, in functional phrases, China’s declaration indicates.
But it will make good on Beijing’s danger to respond to Britain’s extended visa supply with some kind of punitive reciprocal steps.
The danger of more motion indicates Beijing might be making ready far more limitations for BNO holders down the line.
Chinese officers presently warned very last yr that they may well consider ending recognition of BNO passports.
At the time they reported it would suggest BNO holders currently being unable to journey to the Chinese mainland.
Having said that, it is unclear no matter whether Chinese authorities would know who retains the doc.
Hong Kongers use their own Hong Kong passport or ID card to go away the city. To enter mainland China, they need to have to use their Hong Kong passport. The only time they might use a BNO is on arrival into Britain or a different country that recognises the document.