If China limits Hong Kong’s autonomy, Britain will help people in the Special Administrative Region. China sharply criticized the considerations.
In protest against the proposed Hong Kong security law, Britain has given millions of residents in the Chinese Special Administrative Region prospects of enhanced immigration rights and access to British citizenship. “Many people of Hong Kong are afraid that their way of life – which China has promised to uphold – is under threat,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote in a guest post for The Times and the South China Morning Post. The proposed law cuts human freedom in the Chinese Special Administrative Region and undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy.
If China enforces the security law, its government will offer these people “alternatives,” Johnson said. According to his information, 350,000 residents of the former British colony currently have a “British National Overseas” passport, which enables them to enter the UK without a visa and stay for six months. Another 2.5 million Hong Kongers born before the crown colony was handed over to China on July 1, 1997 could apply for such a document.
If the security law comes into force, London will change immigration laws for people with British National Overseas status and give them a one-year right of residence, which can be renewed upon request. Johnson also offered them a work permit, which could “pave the way for citizenship,” the British prime minister emphasized. However, he hoped that things would not go so far and that China would abide by its international commitments.