After China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee passed the new National Security Law for Hong Kong on Tuesday night, Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said Britain will offer citizenship for up to 3 million Hongkongers, as “a new route for those with British National [Overseas] status to enter the UK”, while addressing the British parliament.
Under this plan, the granting of residency rights will allow nearly 350,000 British National Overseas passport holders and 2.6 million other Hongkongers to reside in the UK for a period of 5 years, and make them eligible to apply for British citizenship after staying an additional year.
PM Johnson said the new Hong Kong legislation “violates Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and is in direct conflict with Hong Kong Basic Law”, which is the existing constitution that came into effect when Hong Kong was handed back to China. PM Johnson’s announcement and alleged accusations against the National Security Law were rejected on Wednesday by Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming.
During a meeting with Simon McDonald who is British Permanent Undersecretary to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ambassador Lui said, “The recent remarks by the UK side on the national security law for Hong Kong SAR are irresponsible and unwarranted. They represent a gross interference in China’s internal affairs and run counter to the important principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs endorsed by the UN Charter and the Joint Communiqué of the UK and China on exchange of ambassadors,”.
Liu also said the Chinese government expresses its strong opposition and grave concern to the allegations made by Britain, stressing that the sole purpose the Sino-British Joint Declaration was drawn up in 1984 was to ensure Hong Kong returns to China.
Both the British and Chinese governments came to agreement and signed the joint declaration which clearly stated China would take back control of Hong Kong on July 1st, 1997 from the British government which occupied the former colony in 1840.
The declaration was officially signed by Britain’s then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and China’s Premier Zhao Ziyang on December 19th, 1984, and the document was deposited with the United Nations.
The Chinese ambassador went on to say, “Not a single word or paragraph in the Joint Declaration gives the UK any responsibility over Hong Kong after its handover. The UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of ‘supervision’ over Hong Kong after the handover. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. Its affairs are purely China’s internal affairs and brook no external interference,”
“It is always the central government of a country that is responsible for upholding national security. The national security law for Hong Kong SAR is timely, necessary and reasonable.”
Ambassador Liu urged the UK government to cease its interference in China’s internal affairs, specifically Hong Kong; further stressing that Beijing will not waiver in its right to defend its national sovereignty, security and development interests.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab commented on the situation by saying Britain had made a careful assessment of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law that was made public on Tuesday and “It constitutes a clear violation of the autonomy of Hong Kong, and a direct threat to the freedoms of its people, and therefore I’m afraid to say it is a clear and serious violation of the Joint Declaration treaty between the United Kingdom and China.”
Raab went on to say Britain would proceed to plan its next course of action with its international partners. The Foreign Secretary was quoted saying, “China, through this national security legislation, is not living up to its promises to the people of Hong Kong. “We will live up to our promises.”
Raab ended off saying, “Obviously, China is a leading member of the international community. And it is precisely because of that, that we expect it to live up to its international obligations and its international responsibilities. “For trust in China’s ability to do that, today has been a big step backwards.”
2nd July 19:30
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