Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said that the UK should take as many Hong Kong refugees as it can, describing the “authoritarian overreach” of the draconian national security law implemented by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a Tiananmen Square moment for the free world.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that the British government will be offering settlement rights and a path to citizenship for up to three million Hong Kong residents.
Mr Johnson said that the introduction of the national security law represents a “clear and serious breach” of the 1985 Sino-British joint declaration — a legally binding agreement that was supposed to protect freedom and autonomy in Hong Kong for 50 years after the United Kingdom ceded control of the former colony to the regime in Beijing in 1997.
“It violates Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and threatens the freedoms and rights protected by the joint declaration,” Johnson said.
The plan to admit Hong Kongers to the United Kingdom does appear to fly in the face of a decade of Conservative manifesto promises to curb immigration, and even came as senior Tories boasted of “baking back control” of the nation’s borders on Wednesday. Nevertheless, the policy is popular with leading Conservatives.
Boris’s Hong Kong Visa Offer ‘Directly Breaks’ Immigration Pledge to British People https://t.co/ZsPrR3kReV
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 5, 2020
Writing in support of the move, Conservative MP and frequent critic of mass migration, Iain Duncan Smith, said that “Hong Kong is now a rescue mission”, adding that “the free world has failed Hong Kong”.
“We need to get as many people out as safely as possible. Dominic Raab was right to use this as a last resort, but it is clearly now necessary. That they have been forced from their homes represents a terrible failure on the part of the international community. They do not want to leave. But as many will now have to leave, we have a moral and legal duty to make them welcome,” Duncan Smith wrote in The Telegraph.
Sir Iain added that offering a lifeline to Hong Kong refugees would not be enough, calling for the British government, alongside international partners in the free world, to “rapidly accelerate efforts to audit and drastically reduce our strategic dependency on China”.
As Xi Jinping Signs Draconian National Security Law, New Cold War with China Looms Warns Hong Kong Watch https://t.co/402qKQdcUV
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 30, 2020
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that the government will make the process simple and easy for British Overseas Nationals and their dependents to apply for the settlement scheme, adding that there will be no set limits or quotas.
“This is a special, bespoke, set of arrangements developed for the unique circumstances we face and in light of our historic commitment to the people of Hong Kong,” Raab said.
Approximately 350,000 British passport holders and another 2.6 million Hong Kongers will be eligible to apply to settle in the UK for a period of five years, after which they will be allowed to apply for citizenship.
The move has drawn some pushback, however, including from the London-based migration pressure group Migration Watch UK which said the sudden influx of Hong Kongers should be offset by reducing immigration from the rest of the world. Chairman Alp Mehmet said in comments seen by Breitbart London: “This is not a sensible way of showing support for the people of Hong Kong. These developments are a potential disaster for immigration control.”
“The government have been utterly irresponsible in their pledges to grant access to settlement in the UK for up to three million people from Hong Kong. The least that the government can now do is to place a cap on the number of work permits to be issued to the rest of the world under the proposed system and adjust that cap to take account of this new flow of migrants,” Mehmet added.
We are on street to against national security law. We shall never surrender. Now is not the time to give up. pic.twitter.com/E1mDMvtycc
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) July 1, 2020
In response to the passing of the national security law — which criminalises secession, subversion, foreign interference and therefore political dissent against the Chinese Communist Party — thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong in open defiance of the police ban.
According to the Hong Kong Free Press, protesters covered the streets with Chinese funeral paper to mark the “death” of the One Country, Two Systems model.
The Hong Kong police arrested over 300 people for taking part in the demonstration, with nine people — five men and four women — arrested under the newly implemented national security law, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
As has been the case for the past year of protests, the police fired tear gas, pepper balls, and water cannons on the pro-freedom demonstrators.
Lamenting the loss of freedom in Hong Kong, Conservative Mr Duncan Smith wrote: “The free world has failed Hong Kong. Taiwan will be next unless we take urgent action.”
“This latest assault on Hong Kong’s law and freedoms, constitutes a legal Tiananmen Square moment for the free world. The Communist Party of China sees the effect on Hong Kong’s status as collateral damage in the greater clash of values which the Chinese government believes it must win,” Sir Iain wrote.
“I wonder, does the free world recognise that we may even now have arrived at this generation’s 1936 moment, when Germany occupied the Rhineland, and the world looked away?” the Brexiteer asked.
Exclusive Video: Hong Kong Watch Founder Says UK Has a Responsibility to Take Lead, Call for Sanctions on China https://t.co/nSfXTkGfqE
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 24, 2019
Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka