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Iran Press TV

UK tries to make good on its threat on Hong Kong

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 01 July 2020 4:12 PM

Following China's decisive move to assert its sovereignty on Hong Kong, the British government has apparently made good on its threat to offer citizenship to millions of Hong Kong residents.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, is offering "up to three million" Hong Kong residents the chance to settle in the UK and "ultimately apply for citizenship".

Addressing the House of Commons, the PM claimed Hong Kong residents' "freedoms" are being "violated" by a the new national security law and "those affected" would be offered a "route" out of the former British colony.

It is estimated that around 350,000 British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders and 2.6 million other Hong Kong residents are potentially eligible to come to the UK for five years and subsequently apply for British citizenship.

Johnson claims that the national security law is a "clear and serious breach" of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, an agreement which effectively constrained Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong once the territory was handed back to Beijing in 1997.

Reinforcing Johnson's message, foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said there would be "no limit on numbers or quotas" and that the application process "would be simple".

"This is a special, bespoke, set of arrangements developed for the unique circumstances we face and in light of our historic commitment to the people of Hong Kong", Raab proclaimed.

The new security law drawn up by China makes secessionist, subversive, or terrorist activities illegal in Hong Kong, in addition to outlawing foreign intervention in the city's internal affairs.

Britain's tough stance on the issue is a culmination of a year-long standoff between Beiing and London over Hong Kong's increasingly violent protest movement.

But the British government's decision to potentially grant citizenship to 3 million Hong Kong residents will raise eyebrows across the political spectrum, not least because it conflicts with the UK's new tough approach toward immigration.

It will inevitably lead to accusations of double standards and charges that the UK is willing to weaponize its immigration system to advance its foreign policy agenda.

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