Prime Minister Boris Johnson has issued a stark rebuke to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), saying that Great Britain will not “walk away” from the people of Hong Kong. Mr Johnson promised to implement one of the “biggest changes” to the UK’s visa system in order to save the people of Hong Kong from the authoritarian measures that the communist regime is set to impose on the city.
Bors Johnson said that if China decides to go forward with imposing an authoritarian national security law on Hong Kong, it will be in “direct conflict” with the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The internationally binding treaty guaranteed a certain amount of freedom and autonomy to the city for 50 years, under the banner of “One Country, Two Systems”, after the former British colony was handed over to the Chinese in 1997.
If the CCP proceeds with imposing the law — that will all but stamp out the ability of the pro-freedom protesters to demonstrate in the city — then “Britain would then have no choice but to uphold our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong,” Mr Johnson wrote in The Times on Wednesday.
“If China imposes its national security law, the British Government will change our immigration rules and allow any holder of these passports from Hong Kong to come to the UK for a renewable period of 12 months and be given further immigration rights, including the right to work, which could place them on a route to citizenship,” Johnson said.
“This would amount to one of the biggest changes in our visa system in history. If it proves necessary, the British government will take this step and take it willingly,” Johnson warned.
At present, there are some 350,000 people that hold British National Overseas (BNO) passports in Hong Kong. However, a further 2.5 million people would be eligible to apply for the status that currently permits visa-free travel to the UK for up to six months.
The change could trigger one of the greatest new migratory inflows to Britain in years.
Exclusive: ‘Freedom and Autonomy in Hong Kong is Dead’ Says HK Watch Founder https://t.co/Xksx9OY0pd
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 28, 2020
Mr Johnson said that Hong Kong’s success as a world financial centre was a result of the people of Hong Kong being free, adding that their achievements are “wonderful, but not accidental or fortuitous”.
“Many people in Hong Kong fear that their way of life — which China pledged to uphold — is under threat. If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead we will honour our obligations and provide an alternative,” the prime minister wrote.
Johnson said that he hopes that this will not come to pass, urging the communist nation to “remember that responsibilities go hand in glove with strength and leadership”.
“Instead of making false allegations — such as claiming that the UK somehow organised the protests — or casting doubt over the joint declaration, I hope that China will work alongside the international community to preserve everything that has allowed Hong Kong to thrive,” Johnson said.
Following Mr Johnson’s pronouncement, the founder and chairman of Hong Kong Watch, Benedict Rogers, told Breitbart London: “This is a truly historic and extremely welcome initiative, which sends a clear message of reassurance to the people of Hong Kong that the UK stands with them and will not abandon them, and a very clear message to Beijing that if it proceeds down the path it is proposing it is crossing a rubicon and will face significant consequences.”
“Britain is now stepping up to its responsibilities and taking a lead for Hong Kong and for freedom, and I warmly welcome this,” Rogers added.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 29, 2020
The tough words from the UK leader follow foreign secretary Dominic Raab telling Parliament on Tuesday that the British government will be forced to enter into an alliance with Western nations against China, calling on the CCP to “step back from the brink” in Hong Kong.
In response to Mr Raab’s statements, the Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, said: “Hong Kong affairs brook no external interference. UK politicians must recognise the fact that Hong Kong has returned to China, stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs in any form, and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs.”
Relations between Britain and China have increasingly become strained in the wake of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, which at present has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people in the UK since the beginning of the outbreak.
Increased concerns over the nefarious actions committed by the communist state have resulted in the prime minister reportedly “changing his mind” on allowing the controversial Chinese tech firm Huawei to help build Britain’s 5G network.
The moves on Hong Kong and Huawei will likely serve to bolster the relationship between the U.S. and the UK, which had become strained over the issue of Huawei.
Farage: UK Must Get Tough on China, Biggest Geopolitical Struggle Since Fall of Berlin Wall https://t.co/j3eJkDhXuH
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 2, 2020
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