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Beijing criticizes the BNO visa for treating citizens as second-class citizens

by | Jan 6, 2021 10:06

Image: Unsplash.com

Beijing has slammed the UK’s BNO visa scheme, claiming it creates ‘second-class’ people. After China implemented a new national security rule on the former British territory, approximately 90,000 Hong Kong people registered to resettle in the UK, according to official estimates. The program began in January of 2021.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, said: “In a blatant  violation of its international commitment, the UK tries to turn many Hong Kong residents into ‘second-class citizens’ in the UK and reap benefit from this.”

Following its launch at the beginning of 2021, approximately 88,000 Hong Kong people applied for the new UK visa scheme. After the Chinese government passed a new national security law aimed at suppressing political dissent and calls for democracy in Hong Kong against those in power in China, the route was opened.

‘Necessary’ national security legislation

The national security law, according to the Chinese government and certain Hong Kong officials, is “essential to restore order and stability.” Thousands of individuals have been seen traveling to Hong Kong airports to fly to the United Kingdom since the ban was enacted.

A BNO passport is available to Hong Kong residents born before the former British colony’s transition to Chinese rule in 1997. The BNO visa system extends BNO passport holders’ rights, allowing them and their dependents to live in the UK and apply for citizenship.

According to the UK government, 330,000 Hong Kongers could come in the UK during the first five years of the BNO visa scheme’s inception.

The Chinese government claimed it will “no longer recognize the BNO passport as a legal travel document” in retaliation for the UK’s BNO visa program.

As relations between the UK and China deteriorate, Lijian accused Westminster of ‘attacking and smearing’ China in response to a recent study that raised worries about Hong Kong’s dwindling rights and freedoms.

“The UK is preoccupied with publishing the so-called semi-annual reports to criticize and slander China and intervene in Hong Kong matters out of [an] ideological bias,” a representative for the foreign ministry said. “China strongly condemns and opposes this.”

Major political developments from January to June are thought to have been referenced in the report, including the mass arrest of 55 pro-democracy activists, the forced closure of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, and Beijing’s overhaul of the city’s electoral processes, which reduced direct democratic representation.

Source: workpermit.com

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