The Chinese government will not recognize British passports issued to millions of Hong Kong citizens. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the dispute between London and Beijing over a security law had sparked controversy.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in Beijing on Friday that China would no longer recognize the millions of passports issued by the UK to Hong Kong nationals as legal travel and identity documents and that the decision would take effect on Sunday, January 31.
At the same time, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the new security law, which has been enacted in Hong Kong under the auspices and approval of the Beijing government, has caused China to take a stand on the dispute between Beijing and London. It also reserves the right to take further action.
Former British colony
In Hong Kong, formerly a British colony and administered by Britain to China in 1997, there are more than 400,000 local citizens with British-issued passports.
Because of these passports, these locals have the status of overseas citizens of the UK and can travel to the UK without any hindrance.
Due to the controversial new security law introduced in Hong Kong, the UK has also announced that it will issue residence permits to 5.4 million citizens of its former colony in the UK for five years, after which they can They will also have the right to become ordinary British citizens.
Beijing accuses London
In the dispute, Beijing has accused London of interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs and attacking China’s sovereignty.
A Foreign Office spokesman in Beijing said London’s announcement was an attempt to make a large number of Hong Kong citizens “second-class British citizens”.
The UK accuses China of trying to stifle political opposition in the former British colony and its special administrative territory through the new security law it has enacted in Hong Kong.
The London government has also announced that it will begin accepting applications from Hong Kong citizens for five-year residence permits in the UK from Sunday 31 January.
Hong Kong’s regional autonomy situation
The agreement reached between Britain and China before Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997 promised to protect the independence and sovereignty of about five and a half million Hong Kong citizens.
The complaint to the UK, however, is that Chinese authorities now not only show their authority in Hong Kong-related incidents and cases but also investigate the situation there, rather than local officials in Hong Kong.