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Hong Kong

Some Hong Kong passport holders could have a “path to UK citizenship”

Jack Burton

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Some Hong Kong passport holders could have a “path to UK citizenship” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Time Magazine
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Hong Kong, the former British colony that’s been rocked by often violent protests for more than a year, may at last see a ray of hope – for some of its 7 million residents, at least. If China doesn’t suspend its plans for a draconian security law in the largely autonomous territory, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab says the UK could offer British National (Overseas) passport holders in there a path to citizenship.

The law, which makes it a crime to undermine Beijing’s authority, including “insulting the national anthem,” prompted fears Hong Kong’s unique status could end, a fear confirmed yesterday when US President Donald Trump signed a measure stripping it of its special trade status.

There are 2.9 million people in Hong Kong eligible for the passport. China says it reserves the right to take “countermeasures” against the UK.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman says the UK and China have agreed that holders of BNO passports should not enjoy UK residency.

“All such BNO passport holders are Chinese nationals and if the UK insists on changing this practice it will not only violate its own stance but also international law.”

There are already 300,000 BNO passport holders in Hong Kong who have the right to visit the UK for up to 6 months visa-free.

But the Home Office confirmed that the proposed new rights, allowing those eligible to spend 12 months in the UK without a visa, could be offered to anyone with BNO status as long as they applied for and were granted the passport, opening it up to 2.9m Hong Kong residents.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was “deeply concerned” at China’s proposals for a national security law in Hong Kong.

“If China imposes this law, we will explore options to allow British Nationals Overseas to apply for leave to stay in the UK, including a path to citizenship. We will continue to defend the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.”

Raab’s statement came after the UK, US, Australia and Canada issued joint statement condemning Beijing’s plan, saying imposing such a law would undermine the “one country, two systems” framework agreed before Hong Kong was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997.

The framework guaranteed Hong Kong some autonomy and afforded rights and freedoms that do not exist in mainland China.

It comes as US President Donald Trump described the Chinese government’s plans in Hong Kong as a “tragedy,” and announced he would start to end preferential US treatment for the city in trade and travel.

China has rejected foreign criticism of the proposed law, which could be in force as early as the end of June.

Announcing the possible change in policy, Raab said the 6 month limit on stays in the UK for BNO passport holders would be scrapped.

“If China continues down this path and implements this national security legislation, we will remove that 6 month limit and allow those BNO passport holders to come to the UK and to apply to work and study for extendable periods of 12 months and that will itself provide a pathway to future citizenship.”

SOURCE: BBC | Reuters

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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Hong Kong

HK man arrested for allegedly stabbing officer in security law protests

Jack Burton

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HK man arrested for allegedly stabbing officer in security law protests | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Hong Kong police turned out in force to quash protests of China's new security law - The Thaiger

Police in Hong Kong arrested a man aboard a flight to London this morning on suspicion of stabbing a police officer during protests of the Chinese territory’s new security law. About 370 people were arrested during and after yesterday’s protests against the new laws, imposed by China to curb activities surrounding the anti-government protests that have racked Hong Kong for over a year. 10 of them were arrested for allegedly violating the new law, some of whom were in possession of material advocating Hong Kong’s independence.

The law, which took effect Tuesday, outlaws secessionist, subversive and terrorist acts, and “collusion with foreign forces” intervening in the city’s affairs. It has brought concern from the Special Administrative Region’s former colonial ruler Britain and other governments. Critics say it effectively ends the “one country, two systems” framework, under which the city was promised a high degree of autonomy when it reverted to Chinese rule in June 1997.

Police yesterday posted a photo on Twitter of a police officer bleeding from his arm, claiming that he was stabbed while making arrests during the protests and that the suspects fled.

The 24 year old suspect, surnamed Wong, was arrested on a London-bound Cathay Pacific flight, according to a police officer who spoke anonymously as he was not authorised to speak publicly. He said Wong bought the ticket yesterday and boarded the flight with no check-in luggage. He did not respond to air crew who called him by name, and was not in his designated seat. Police identified him after a sweep of the plane. Local media report that a relative tipped police off to his travel plans.

In a related development, Britain announced yesterday that it is extending residency rights for up to 3 million Hong Kong citizens eligible for the British National Overseas passport, saying that it will “uphold its historic duty to the former British colony”. Those eligible will be allowed to live and work in the UK for 5 years, before applying for settled status and subsequently for citizenship. China today threatened “counter measures”.

Australian PM Scott Morrison said today his government is considering a similar move, and Taiwan has opened an office to help Hong Kongers relocate to Taiwan for work and other purposes.

SOURCE: AP

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World

Australia and UK may offer a safe haven to Hong Kong citizens

Anukul

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Australia and UK may offer a safe haven to Hong Kong citizens | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Law.com

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia is “actively considering” providing a safe haven for Hong Kong citizens to migrate to the country after controversial national security laws enforced by China have come into effect.

Yesterday, hundreds of people were arrested after protesters took to the streets to protest the new laws introduced by China to suppress dissidents.

When asked if he was upset by the crackdown on demonstrators in Hong Kong and whether Australia should offer a safe haven for local residents, Morrison said, “The answer to both questions is yes and yes.”

Also in the UK, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he would give qualified people in Hong Kong a path to citizenship that would enable them to settle in the United Kingdom.

SOURCE: ABC News

 

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Hong Kong

Beijing passes new Hong Kong security law

The Thaiger

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Beijing passes new Hong Kong security law | The Thaiger
PHOTO: A lone figure in Hong Kong as the Special Administrative Region faces new security laws - CNN.com

China has passed the controversial new national security law for Hong Kong in what critics believe could be the start of a wave of ‘mainland’ political repression. The National Standing Committee, China’s top lawmaking body, approved the legislation. The passing of the new law has been reported on Now TV, RTHK and the South China Morning Post.

Chinese officials maintain that the law bans “subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces” and is needed to return stability to Hong Kong following 12 months of pro-democracy protests that shut down suburbs, the airport and universities.

But critics say it will signal the end of Hong Kong’s unique “political freedoms” and reduce the Special Administrative Region’s autonomy citing similar laws used to subdue dissent in mainland China. Beijing bypassed Hong Kong’s local legislature to pass the new law. It has been signed off just 6 weeks after being announced. At this stage Hong Kong residents are yet to review the contents of the new law. Hong Kong has a population of around 7.4 million.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, criticised for being a pro-Beijing ‘puppet’, has made no official comment whether the new law had been passed or not.

“I think at this moment, it is not appropriate for me to comment on any questions related to the national security law.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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