‘Rubber check' for HK BNO passport holders to backfire

By Wang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/7/2 22:09:00

Photo: screenshot of Twitter account of the Hong Kong Police Force

 Hong Kong police seized a masked man who stabbed a police officer Wednesday amid the unauthorized rally on his way to his one-way flight to the UK. The violent rally was regarded as a provocation and "one last audacity" after the national security law for Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region (HKSAR) was enacted on Tuesday.

The man carried HK$40,000 in local and foreign currency and his expired BNO passport with no checked luggage, local media reported.   

The 24-year-old man's experience might be a microcosm of some British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders who intend to migrate to the UK after the UK said it will expand the visa-free access of Hong Kong's BNO holders from six months to five years. They will be able to apply for settled status at this point, and join the lottery to seek official citizenship after a year. 

Analysts believe that on the topic of the BNO, the UK seems enjoy the leadership of Western country from centuries ago, as the US and Australia, and probably more members of the "Five Eyes" allies and anti-China camp will be set to welcome some Hong Kong rioters after Britain Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab's endeavor. 

Rabb said he reached the four other countries of the intelligence-sharing alliance, discussing the possibility of burden sharing if there's a mass exodus from Hong Kong. 

Also, Bloomberg reported that a bipartisan group of US senators is proposing refugee status to Hong Kong residents who took part in protests. 

Chinese observers said that the "rubber check" from some Western countries who always poke their nose into other countries may only appeal to a few rioters in Hong Kong, and the emigration of Hong Kong's rioters may cause them more social problems amid the recession and pandemic. 

Fan Peng, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Political Sciences, told the Global Times on Thursday that only a small number of rioters who are intimidated by the national security law for HKSAR might regard the BNO and other foreign favors as "a life-saving straw."

The cost of restarting life in other countries is huge, and could lead to a struggle for a job.  

"Most Hong Kong people have never been outside Hong Kong, and I don't think many Hong Kong people would give up everything in the motherland to become second-class citizens in other countries," Fan said.

Former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying said on Facebook Thursday that the British will discriminate against BNO holders who insist on moving to the UK, as the BNO is "cheap." "… Just remember, the nationality law of China does not allow dual citizenship."

Citing an emigration adviser, Hong Kong media reported Wednesday that the average cost in UK is $20,000 a year per person, which means a total of at least $120,000 to meet the 6-year residency to apply for citizenship.

Some Hong Kong residents said the UK wants to make money from Hong Kong protesters and pretended to they offer their shelter in a "responsible" way as their former colony. 

Under the national security law, Hong Kong residents will enjoy all the legal political and economic rights. Hong Kong society will be moving toward renewed stability and prosperity, and those who go to the UK will not necessarily be eligible to stay after five years if they are worthless, Fan said.

The fact that conservative, xenophobic British politicians would hypocritically welcome refugees shows that they are not willing to face the reality of the UK's decline, Fan added.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Chinese Embassy in the UK criticized the UK's violation of the basic principles of international laws and basic norms governing international relations, after the UK attempted to expand the residency rights of Hong Kong residents holding BNO passports.

"We urge the UK to view the national security law for HKSAR in an objective manner, respect China's position and concerns, and refrain from interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any way," the embassy said.  

"HK affairs are China's internal affairs, and no country has the right to interfere. We reserve the right to respond and the UK will bear the consequences," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.  

Zhao also urged Australia to take an objective view of the national security law for HKSAR and stop interfering in China's internal affairs, and to not further go down the wrong path, at the press conference on Thursday.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said his country was prepared to provide support to Hong Kong protesters, but his cabinet was yet to finalize the details.

Analysts believe Australia is seeking to raise its international profile on the shoulders of the UK and the US on Hong Kong affairs and look for attention.  

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