UK breaching international law, warns China as PM Johnson promises citizenship to Hong Kongers

WION Web Team
Beijing Published: Jul 02, 2020, 12.14 PM(IST)

(File photo) Riot police detain a man as they clear protesters taking part in a rally against a new national security law in Hong Kong Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking in Parliament had said that 'imposition of this national security law constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British joint declaration'

After British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government will introduce a new route for those with British national overseas status to enter the UK granting them the ability to live and work in the UK, China hit back on Thursday saying it will impose "countermeasures".

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

"If the British side makes unilateral changes to the relevant practice, it will breach its own position and pledges as well as international law and basic norms governing international relations," Beijing's embassy in London said in a statement, adding, "we firmly oppose this and reserve the right to take corresponding measures."

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaking in Parliament had said that "imposition of this national security law constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British joint declaration."

“It violates Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and is in direct conflict with Hong Kong basic law. The law also threatens the freedoms and rights protected by the Joint Declaration," Boris Johnson asserted to lawmakers on Wednesday.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab taking the UK government's policy forward had said that officials were working on a scheme for BNO passport holders to obtain UK citizenship. Under the scheme, a Hong Kong citizen will be allowed to remain in the UK for five years and then the person can apply for "settled status" and 12 months later they can apply for citizenship.

China had guaranteed  "One Country, Two Systems" to Hong Kong until 2047 under the agreement reached with the British during the handover in 1997.

Protests erupted in Hong Kong on Wednesday as China made its first arrest under the new national security law. The Hong Kong police arrested at least 370 people and made further 10 arrests under the new national security law even as thousands came out on the streets on the anniversary of the city's handover to China by the United Kindgom.

Police used  tear gas to break up the protests with at least seven police officers injured in the clashes. 

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam backed China new law calling it "most important development" since the city's return to Beijing's rule.

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