On Wednesday, July 1, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the United Kingdom is preparing to extend citizenship coverage to those Hong Kong residents who may be violated under the repressive security law that took effect in the territory late on Tuesday evening local time.
Johnson stressed that civil liberties in Hong Kong were being violated, so he wanted to offer a “route” out of Hong Kong for those who were being affected by the political pressure now exerted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on the Special Administrative Region, the BBC reported.
Just one hour after the CCP began making its first arrests in Hong Kong as a result of the implementation of the new security law, the British Prime Minister made the following statement to the British Parliament, “We stand for rules and obligations.”
“The enactment and deposition of this national security law constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” Johnson added.
The prime minister’s announcement comes amid a review by London of its record on relations with Beijing, which also highlights a reassessment of the role being played by the Chinese multinational Huawei in implementing the 5G network nationally.
As reported by the BBC, around 350,000 Hong Kong nationals are holders of UK passports, and 2.6 million who are eligible, will be able to enter the UK for five years. After another year they will have the possibility to apply for citizenship.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “We will not look the other way on Hong Kong, and we will not duck our historic responsibilities to its people. We will honor our commitment to change the arrangements for those holding BN(O) status and continue to stand up for the people of Hong Kong.”
According to Sky News, Raab’s office also reportedly summoned China’s Ambassador Liu Xiaoming to discuss the UK’s concerns about the current situation in Hong Kong.
Home Secretary Priti Patel indicated that the CCP’s determination to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong was “regrettable,” announcing its expressed desire to guarantee an immigration route for Hong Kong citizens and their families.
“The UK has a historic and moral obligation to British Nationals (Overseas) in Hong Kong and we will honour our commitment to them,” Patel said.
The measures taken by the British government are largely due to the fact that Hong Kong was a British colony until the administration was taken over by the CCP in 1997, guaranteeing in advance the Special Administrative Region’s judicial and legislative autonomy for 50 years.
According to critics of the new law imposed by the CCP, current legislative decisions are testing the principle of one country, two systems, which formally entered international law in 1984, reported NDTV.
Taiwan and its commitment to the Hong Kong people
In the face of the repressive measures imposed from Beijing by the National People’s Congress, Taiwan likewise opened a government office on Wednesday, June 30, dedicated to helping people fleeing Hong Kong, indicating that it hopes it will at the same time be an opportunity to attract professionals and new capital to the country.
According to Reuters, human rights groups said that since the massive protests in support of democracy in Hong Kong began last year, more than 200 people have fled to the island, so the current situation led to Taiwan to open the office in central Taipei.
“This is an important milestone for the government to further support democracy and freedom in Hong Kong,” said Chen Ming-tong, head of Taiwan’s Continental Affairs Council for China’s policymaking.
The new office also hopes to cater to multinationals that want to relocate their operations. “We also welcome multinational companies to move their headquarters here,” Chen added.
The CCP has flatly denied that it is stifling Hong Kong’s civil liberties, condemning in the process Taiwan’s moves to favor the status of autonomy advocates in the Special Administrative Region.
On Tuesday, the CCP’s Taiwan Affairs Bureau said the new law would “cut off the black hand” of Taiwan’s interference in Hong Kong.