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China threatens UK over Hong Kong passport offer

By Frank Prenesti

Date: Thursday 02 Jul 2020

(Sharecast News) - Diplomatic tensions between London and Beijing increased on Thursday after China threatened to retaliate if Britain granted residency to Hong Kong citizens looking to escape a draconian new national security law.
In a stern warning, China said the UK would "bear all consequences" of the move, adding that Britain would be in breach of the terms of an agreement over the former colony.

China's ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, said any move to grant residency to the holders of British National Overseas status (BNO) would be a violation.

British prime minister Boris Johnson said he would honour a promise to offer almost 3 million residents of the former British colony the right to settle in the UK.

Liu said it was clear that "all Chinese compatriots residing in Hong Kong are Chinese nationals, whether or not they are holders of the British dependent territories citizens passport or the British national (overseas) passport".

"If the British side makes unilateral changes to the relevant practice, it will breach its own position and pledges as well as international law," he said in a statement on the embassy's website.

"We firmly oppose this and reserve the right to take corresponding measures. The UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of 'supervision' over Hong Kong."

The ambassador's comments were echoed by foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who said "the British side will bear all the consequences".

The law, which triggered massive protests in Hong Kong, took effect late on Tuesday. At least 10 people have been arrested on national security-related charges, including a 15-year old girl who waved a Hong Kong independence flag.

Human rights groups believe the legislation will be used to arrest protesters and pro-democracy activists.

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