After UK's passport plan, Australia working on 'safe haven' proposal for Hong Kong residents

WION Web Team Canberra, Australia Jul 02, 2020, 11.11 AM(IST)

Silent protests in Hong Kong Photograph:( Reuters )

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The law punishes crimes of secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison in Hong Kong, which was guaranteed freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland under a "one country, two systems" formula at its 1997 handover.

Australia is working on a scheme to provide "safe haven" proposals for Hong Kong residents, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday after China imposed a new national security law on the financial hub.

On Wednesday, United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced officially that his country would offer immigration rights to the people of Hong Kong in the aftermath of China passing the controversial national security law in Hong Kong.

Also read: UK extends immigration rights to Hong Kongers on 23rd anniversary of city's handover

Even before the law was formalised, the UK had promised assistance to Hong Kongers if China went ahead with the legislation. As per this promise, those in possession of the British National Overseas passport could live in the UK, and work there. This would pave the way for citizenship.

The law punishes crimes of secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison in Hong Kong, which was guaranteed freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland under a "one country, two systems" formula at its 1997 handover.

Also read| 'None of your business': China slams foreign critics over Hong Kong law

China says the law is necessary to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces following anti-government protests that escalated in June last year and plunged the city into its biggest crisis in decades. Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly said the law will not affect Hong Kong's rights and freedoms, nor investor interests.

The passage of the law has drawn international condemnation and more than 300 people on Wednesday were arrested as protesters took to the streets in defiance of the sweeping security legislation.