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World Hong Kong residents given new UK visa option but China has vowed to stop recognising British National Overseas passports

15:15  31 january  2021
15:15  31 january  2021 Source:   businessinsider.com.au

Hong Kong: China shoots red balls on the EU

 Hong Kong: China shoots red balls on the EU © Pixabay Hong Kong: China shoots red balls on the EU While MEPs adopted by a large majority a resolution condemning the repression of activists pro-democracy in Hong Kong, China denounces "flagrant interference" in its internal affairs. Tensions are mounting between China and the European Union.

a close up of a backpack: British National Overseas passports, or BN(O)s, and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China passports. British National Overseas passports, or BN(O)s, and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China passports.
  • The UK government on Sunday opened visa applications for Hongkongers with British National Overseas passports.
  • China on Friday said it would stop recognising the passports as valid travel documents.
  • "We will live up to our historic responsibility," said Dominic Raab, foreign secretary.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The UK government on Sunday opened applications for new visas for Hong Kong residents, offering a promised lifeline to Hongkongers seeking to leave after China put in place its National Security Law.

The Permanent Colony

  The Permanent Colony Despite having a distinct language, identity, and culture, the city has never been in full control of its development and future.His case has not drawn as much media attention, either domestically or abroad, as some other recent incidents in the city—the day he was arrested, police nabbed some 300 others, fired pepper balls at demonstrators, and tackled a 12-year-old girl to the ground. In the months that followed, a steady, unrelenting clampdown included the jailing of the newspaper executive Jimmy Lai, and the mass arrest of prodemocracy figures has continued.

In response, China said it would no longer recognise British National (Overseas) passports, known as BN(O)s, as valid travel documents.

"The UK's move grossly violates China's sovereignty, interferes in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs, and runs counter to international law and basic norms governing international relations. China deplores and firmly rejects this," said Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, at a Friday press briefing.

a group of people in uniform: Media mogul Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, founder of Apple Daily, walks to a prison van to head to court. Media mogul Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, founder of Apple Daily, walks to a prison van to head to court.

Officially, Hong Kong is an autonomous region, with a democratic government separate from China's ruling party. But pro-democracy advocates and protesters said China's restrictive new security law is stripping away freedoms.

UK says upholding 'freedom and autonomy' with new HK visas

  UK says upholding 'freedom and autonomy' with new HK visas Britain's government on Friday vowed to stand by the people of its former colony Hong Kong against a Chinese crackdown as it prepared to launch a new visa scheme potentially benefiting millions. In practice, London projects that up to 322,400 of Hong Kong's 7.5 million population will take up the visa over five years, benefiting the UK economy by up to £2.9 billion ($4 billion). The new pathway will not come cheap.A five-year visa will cost a relatively moderate £250 per person. But a mandatory surcharge to access Britain's state-run health service will run to £3,120 per adult, and £2,350 for those under 18.


Video: Emirates suspends all flights between UK and Australia (Sky News Australia)

Passed unilaterally by China in June 2020, that law included long prison sentences for protesters and other vocal opponents of China's policies. The Hong Kong Journalists Association said 98% of its members disagreed with the law, saying it eroded press freedom.

In one high-profile case, Hong Kong police arrested media mogul Jimmy Lai Chee-ying, founder of Apple Daily, a local newspaper.

Read more: While you weren't looking, everything with China went off the rails

As a result, Hongkongers have fled the country. The exodus led to a massive demand for BN(O) passports, with Hong Kong residents apply for an average of five passports a minute late last year, according to Bloomberg news.

As of Sunday, holders of those passports can apply for five-year visas to live and work in the UK, according to a government statement. After five years, they will be able to apply for settlement for an additional 12 months, after which they can apply for citizenship.

China will 'no longer recognise' UK-issued BNO passport for Hong Kongers

  China will 'no longer recognise' UK-issued BNO passport for Hong Kongers China on Friday said it will "no longer recognise" the British National (Overseas) passport for Hong Kongers, as Britain prepares to open its doors to millions more residents of the former colony following a security crackdown by Beijing. Beijing was swift to hit back at the British change on Friday. "From January 31, China will no longer recognise the so-called BNO passport as a travel document and ID document, and reserves the right to take further actions," foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.

The visa application will also be launched via smartphones on February 23, according to the UK government. BN(O) passport holders will be able to complete their applications entirely in their Hong Kong homes, a first for citizens outside the European Economic Area.

In a statement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "In doing so we have honoured our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong, and we have stood up for freedom and autonomy â€" values both the UK and Hong Kong hold dear."

About 7,000 BN(O) passport holders were granted visas at the UK border between July 2020 and January 13, 2021, the government said. As of October, there were about 469,416 people holding BN(O) passports in Hong Kong, according to the Home Office.

"We have been clear we won't look the other way when it comes to Hong Kong. We will live up to our historic responsibility to its people," said Dominic Raab, foreign secretary, in a statement.

‘No room for debate’: Hong Kong outlines security law for schools .
Teaching guidelines for children from six years old suggest Beijing wants to remould Hong Kong society.Beijing imposed the security law in June last year after tens of thousands of people took to the streets in opposition to a proposed extradition bill in 2019 in protests that evolved into calls for democracy and sometimes descended into violence.

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