The UK Prime Minister Johnson stated that if Beijing implements the “Hong Kong version of the National Security Law” in Hong Kong, the UK government is ready to change the immigration policy to allow Hong Kong holders of British National Overseas Passports (BNO) to the UK, to extend their visas to 12 months, it gains further immigration rights, including working locally, as a way to obtain citizenship.
Johnson wrote in the South China Morning Post, mentioned that currently 350,000 people have BN(O)s, and another 2.5 million people are eligible to apply for BN(O)s. He described this as one of the biggest changes in the history of the UK Visa policy. But if it proves necessary, the UK government will be happy to proceed, saying that many Hong Kong people are worried that their way of life is threatened and the UK will not ignore it.
Johnson emphasized that the United Kingdom was not trying to prevent China from rising, but precisely because the United Kingdom welcomed China as a major member of the international community and hoped that China would abide by international agreements.
In response to the BN(O) issue, Zhao Lijian, Spokesman for the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Hong Kong affairs are internal affairs of China, and no outside interference is allowed. He also said that if the United Kingdom insists on unilaterally changing the relevant practices, it will violate its position and commitments, as well as violate international law and basic international relations Guidelines, China reserves the right to take corresponding measures.
Zhao Lijian reiterated that “all Chinese compatriots in Hong Kong, regardless of whether they hold British Dependent Territories Citizens Passports or British Nationals (Overseas) Passports, are Chinese citizens”, and urged the United Kingdom to view the “Hong Kong version of the National Security Law” objectively and fairly.
As Tom Tugendhat MP, member of Parliament of the United Kingdom, replied to China’s Ambassador to London on Twitter earliest on 15 Aug, 2019. For changing status of British National (Overseas) Passport issue, is internal affairs and sovereign decision of UK Parliament, no one else. It’s the affair between Hong Kongers and United Kingdom.
China’s treatment of its own citizens is a matter for them. British citizens, whether in the UK or overseas, should enjoy the option to live under the rule of law. Changing the status of British Nationals Overseas is a sovereign decision for the UK Parliament. No one else.— Tom Tugendhat (@TomTugendhat) August 15, 2019