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British PM Boris Johnson (file photo)
London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson On Tuesday, he said that Britain would provide a possible route to millions of Hong Kong residents and UK citizenship if it upholds its national security law.
In an article for the Times newspaper, he wrote, “Many people in Hong Kong are scared of their way of life – which China has resolved to keep.” South China Morning Post.
“If China moves to justify its fears, Britain cannot in good conscience to shoulder our conscience and go away; instead we will honor our obligations and provide an alternative.”
Around 350,000 people in Hong Kong currently hold a British National (Overseas) passport, which allows visa-free access to the UK for six months, Johnson wrote.
Another 2.5 million people will be eligible to apply for one.
“If China enforces its national security law, the British government will change our immigration rules and allow any holder of these Hong Kong passports to come to the UK for a renewable period of 12 months with further immigration rights granted , Including rights, work that could put them on the path of citizenship, ”he wrote.
The new law was brought after a wave of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, and was approved by Beijing’s rubber-stamp parliament to combat “terrorism” and “separatism”.
Opponents fear it will lead to political persecution in the financial hub, guaranteeing independence and autonomy in the 1997 handover from Britain to China.
Johnson said the Hong Kong law would “curtail its independence and dramatically destroy its autonomy”.
If implemented, “Britain will have no choice but to maintain our deep ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong”, he wrote.
London has already announced plans to grant visa rights to those eligible for BN (O) passports and has joined the international condemnation of Beijing.
But Johnson’s personal intervention increased the pressure significantly.
“I hope it does not come to this,” he wrote, “Britain does not want to prevent the rise of China”.
He said, “It is precisely because we welcome China as a prominent member of the world community that we hope that we will abide by international agreements.”
He dismissed “false” claims that London held protests, stating “Britain wants nothing more than Hong Kong to succeed under one system, two systems.”
“I hope that is what China wants too. Let us work together to make it happen.”
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