BEIJING (AP) — China stated Friday it’s going to now not acknowledge the British Nationwide Abroad passport as a legitimate journey doc or type of identification amid a bitter feud with London over a plan to permit tens of millions of Hong Kong residents a path to residency and eventual citizenship.
The announcement by International Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Friday throws up new uncertainty across the plan simply hours after the U.Ok. stated it could start taking purposes for what are referred to as BNO visas starting late Sunday.
Underneath the plan, as many as 5.4 million Hong Kong residents may very well be eligible to stay and work within the U.Ok. for 5 years then apply for citizenship. Demand soared after Beijing final 12 months imposed a sweeping new nationwide safety legislation on the previous British colony following months of pro-democracy protests.
“The British aspect’s try to show a lot of Hong Kong individuals into second-class British residents has fully modified the character of the 2 sides’ authentic understanding of BNO,” Zhao informed reporters at a each day briefing.
“This transfer critically infringes on China’s sovereignty, grossly interferes in Hong Kong affairs and China’s inside affairs, and critically violates worldwide legislation and the essential norms of worldwide relations,” he stated. “China will now not acknowledge the so-called BNO passport as a journey doc and proof of id ranging from Jan thirty first, and reserves the appropriate to take additional measures.”
Many Hong Kongers carry a number of passports and it’s unclear what if something the Chinese language authorities may do to stop individuals coming into the U.Ok. via the BNO visa plan. As an additional safety of private privateness, a cellphone app will permit candidates to obtain their biometric info with out having to been seen visiting the British visa workplace.
The BNO passport was initially a disappointment for Hong Kongers when it was first provided forward of Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese language rule in 1997. On the time, it provided solely the appropriate to go to for six months with no proper to work or turn into a full citizen. Candidates needed to have been born earlier than the handover date.
Nonetheless, stress grew to broaden such privileges as China more and more cracked down on civil and political life in Hong Kong in what critics say violates China’s dedication to take care of town’s separate lifestyle for 50 years after the handover. China first declared the 1984 Sino-British Declaration setting out the handover preparations null and void regardless of its recognition by the United Nations, then imposed the nationwide safety legislation on the territory after town’s legislature was unable to cross it by itself.
“I’m immensely proud that we’ve introduced on this new route for Hong Kong BNOs to stay, work and make their dwelling in our nation,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated in an announcement.
“In doing so we’ve honored our profound ties of historical past and friendship with the individuals of Hong Kong, and we’ve stood up for freedom and autonomy – values each the UK and Hong Kong maintain expensive.”
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