China is expected to step up retaliation in March against a British scheme to offer citizenship to millions of people Hong Kong people through British National (Overseas) (BNO) passports, reports the Asia Times.
Hong Kong Residents will now be asked to declare if they have British citizenship under the BNO passport scheme, according to the Asia Times.
Since last July, analysts have suggested that Beijing can revoke Chinese citizenship and Hong Kong permanent residence of BNO passport holders.
On January 29, China said it would cancel BNO’s recognition as a travel and identity document for Hong Kong people from January 31 and was entitled to take further action against the British citizenship scheme.
Britain offers a path to eventual citizenship for Hong Kong residents. London announced its plans in July last year to accept eligible Hong Kong citizens following Beijing’s adoption of a ruthless National Security Act.
Tian Feilong, a professor at Beijing Beihang University Law School and director of the Hong Kong and Macau Studies Association of China, said in an interview with TVB on Wednesday that the committee will still interpret China’s National Law a second time in March if necessary. .
“If the number of BNO visa applicants reaches 20,000 to 30,000 this month, I think it has reached an alarming level,” said Tian.
“Once BNO status holders are granted British citizenship, their permanent residency, voting rights and social benefits in Hong Kong must be revoked. The Hong Kong government must change local election rules and social benefits after a reinterpretation of the Nationality Law,” he said.
In May 1996, the committee gave an explanation of the application of the Chinese National Law in Hong Kong. From 1 July 1997, Hong Kong people can continue to use British Dependent Territories Citizens or BNO passports as travel documents, but they are not entitled to British consular protection in Hong Kong and mainland China.
It is widely believed that by reinterpreting the Nationality Law, Beijing could easily strip Chinese citizens of those granted British citizenship under the BNO citizenship scheme, reports Asia Times.
However, the newspaper said it was more complicated to revoke a person’s permanent residence permit in Hong Kong because the move might violate Article 24 of the Basic Law, which clearly states the definition of a permanent resident of the city.
In addition, Tian suggested last year that the National People’s Congress (NPC) standing committee should interpret Article 24 of the Constitution. He said, after the interpretation, BNO status holders who were granted British citizenship would lose the right to vote and run for office. These rights are contained in Article 26 of the Constitution.
Many Hong Kong netizens have pointed out that the Hong Kong government will not be able to distinguish whether Hong Kongers are granted British citizenship under the BNO scheme or other schemes, including the British National Selection Scheme launched in 1990 for 50,000 Hong Kongers. family, reports Asia Times.
However, Lau Siu-kai, vice president of the Hong Kong and Macau Study Association of China, said Hong Kong residents would be required to declare to the government if they were granted British citizenship under the BNO scheme.
“People who are granted British citizenship under the BNO scheme will enjoy fewer job opportunities in Hong Kong as they will face more challenges when applying for a visa to enter mainland China. These people must then return to the UK as’ class citizens. two ‘.’ because of their bleak prospects in Hong Kong, “said Lau.
Asia Times says this “punishment” appears to be indirect for those who have decided to leave, Beijing’s move to stop recognizing the BNO as a travel and identity document has hit hundreds of innocent people.
Minorities from India, Pakistan and Nepal have to face a heavy burden, holding only BNO passports. They cannot apply for a Hong Kong SAR passport and a Mainland Travel Permit. These people used to apply for Chinese visas with their BNO passports but they can’t do it now, “said Mohan Chugani, former president of the Hong Kong Indian Association.
According to the Asia Times, there are about 36,000 Indians, 18,000 Pakistanis and 25,000 Nepalis in Hong Kong, according to the latest 2016 census. Many of these people hold foreign passports or Hong Kong SAR.
14,645 non-Chinese people applied for Chinese citizenship in Hong Kong between 2009 and 2018, according to Immigration Department data. Among those who applied, only 75 percent made it. The rest were rejected or withdrawn.
(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standards staff; other content was generated automatically from syndicated feeds.)