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Hong Kong sees rush to renew UK passports as fears for future grow

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Hong Kong sees rush to renew UK passports as fears for future grow

By Clare Jim

 

2020-06-02T085727Z_1_LYNXMPEG510P9_RTROPTP_3_HONGKONG-PROTESTS-IMMIGRATION.JPG

FILE PHOTO: A pro-democracy demonstrator raises his British National Overseas (BNO) passports during a protest against new national security legislation in Hong Kong, China June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

 

HONG KONG (Reuters) - When Ming Wong saw that Britain was prepared to offer extended visa rights and a "path to citizenship" for British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders in Hong Kong, she seized the moment and re-applied for her lost passport.

 

Beijing's push to impose national security laws in the former British colony has stoked worry about its future and prompted Britain to offer refuge to almost 3 million Hong Kong residents eligible for the passport.

 

"I started filling out the applications in December after the protests, but it's the national security legislation now that really prompted me to finish the process," said 39-year-old Wong who has two small children.

 

Her husband, brother and parents are also applying, she said.

 

The BNO passport was created for Hong Kong people before Britain returned the territory to Chinese rule in 1997. Though they are British passports that allow a holder to visit Britain for six months, they do not come with an automatic right to live and work there.

 

But British foreign minister Dominic Raab said the six-month limit could be removed if China imposed its national security legislation on the city.

 

Beijing and Hong Kong authorities reject criticism of the legislation, which they say is aimed at tackling sedition, secession, terrorism and foreign interference, and insist the city's high degree of autonomy will remain intact under the "one country, two systems" formula established in 1997.

 

The formula guarantees freedoms, including the right to protest and an independent judiciary, not seen on the mainland. But Beijing's insistence on its national security laws has thrown the future of those freedoms into question.

 

"The national security law is about to be implemented but the details have not yet been confirmed so I want to apply for it before anything happens," said Don Wong, 35, who works in a government organisation, as he queued outside a courier company to send his BNO renewal application to Britain.

 

"I'm worried that I may not be able to use Facebook after the law is enacted ... I may get prosecuted due to my words."

 

SAFETY NET

 

But even before China announced its plan for the security law there was a surge of renewals of BNO passports, highlighting what many Hong Kong people see as an urgency to secure a back-up plan.

 

According to figures obtained by the Mingpao newspaper from the British Passport Office, BNO renewal applications increased in the second half of last year, amid sometimes violent anti-government protests, with the number totalling more than 120,000 in 2019 compared with about 14,000 in 2017 and 2018.

 

The Passport Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Immigration consultants have reported a rush of enquiries about moving away from Hong Kong since China's announcement on May 21.

 

"Last week alone, the number of enquiries surged to about 100 a day,” said Swing Wong, a director the Midland immigration consultancy, from about 50 a day earlier this year.

 

As well as Britain, people ask about the United States, Canada, Australia, Taiwan and Malaysia, consultants said.

 

"Most people who enquire about the U.K. think it would be a safety net for their children," said Ivan Yam, director of immigration consultant Golden Emperor Properties.

 

"Many people in Hong Kong are really interested in such a scheme," he said of the possibility of extended visa rights for the BNO passport.

 

"No country offers a faster way of immigration."

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-06-02
 
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15 minutes ago, snoop1130 said:

The national security law is about to be implemented

it has been foreseen there for a long time (1997); non chinese go into a second class status , then into a not-welcome status;

not terribly unlike the trajectory in thailand

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Johnny Patterson, the chief executive of Hong Kong Watch, described the UK’s response so far to the planned crackdown as “limp, inane and could have been copied and pasted directly from their previous statements”.

“It was utterly inappropriate given the gravity of the situation,” he said. “Beijing’s decision to impose the worst kind of draconian legislation without consulting the [Hong Kong] legislative council is a direct breach of the handover agreement. Given Britain’s moral and legal duties as co-signatories of that settlement, the prime minister should be leading the way in calling it out and drawing together like-minded countries to coordinate a joint response.”

 

 

The UKś response to the communists eventual takeover of Hong Kong is an embarrassment to democracy.

Why don´t they work with allies and plan a much harder stance rather then basically giving up and telling people ¨come to our country.¨  Hasn´t the UK had enough migrants over the past several years now they will take in 3 million more?  Very weak and ¨limp¨ as the above article states.  Just a shame.

 

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4 hours ago, bkk6060 said:

Johnny Patterson, the chief executive of Hong Kong Watch, described the UK’s response so far to the planned crackdown as “limp, inane and could have been copied and pasted directly from their previous statements”.

“It was utterly inappropriate given the gravity of the situation,” he said. “Beijing’s decision to impose the worst kind of draconian legislation without consulting the [Hong Kong] legislative council is a direct breach of the handover agreement. Given Britain’s moral and legal duties as co-signatories of that settlement, the prime minister should be leading the way in calling it out and drawing together like-minded countries to coordinate a joint response.”

 

 

The UKś response to the communists eventual takeover of Hong Kong is an embarrassment to democracy.

Why don´t they work with allies and plan a much harder stance rather then basically giving up and telling people ¨come to our country.¨  Hasn´t the UK had enough migrants over the past several years now they will take in 3 million more?  Very weak and ¨limp¨ as the above article states.  Just a shame.

 

Two things - first Britain needs immigration to keep the economy going and second, the passports are seen as an insurance. Very few of the 3 million will actually go there (weather, tax and miserable people).

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12 hours ago, YetAnother said:

it has been foreseen there for a long time (1997); non chinese go into a second class status , then into a not-welcome status;

not terribly unlike the trajectory in thailand

These are ethnically Chinese people.

They just happen to have British National (Overseas) passports. (The passport issued to the citizens of Hong Kong pre-1997).

 

Actual British citizens in Hong Kong have less issues (because, of course, they can leave Hong Kong for their home country any time they like).

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14 minutes ago, bkk_mike said:

These are ethnically Chinese people.

They just happen to have British National (Overseas) passports. (The passport issued to the citizens of Hong Kong pre-1997).

 

Actual British citizens in Hong Kong have less issues (because, of course, they can leave Hong Kong for their home country any time they like).

You are correct.  However I would like to add that persons of Chinese descent do have different Hong Kong ID cards to others born there or who have acquired Permanent Residency.  The ID card of a person of Chinese ethnicity bears three stars on it to denote this fact; I cannot remember the racial purity required to reach this status.

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12 hours ago, tribalfusion001 said:

The CCP won't be happy, oh well 555

Maybe they will.  Mainland China and Hong Kong currently operate a one-way permit system that allows up to 150 people from China to enter and live in Hong Kong per day.  Hong Kong has no right to vet the people so permitted.  This level of immigration over, shall we say the period of '50 years of no change', give a total of slightly over 2.7 million.  This daily number can be increased if 'circumstances' require it and I am sure that the Chinese Govt will seek the views of the HK Govt before doing so. 🤔

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With immigration reduced from the 'hundreds of thousands annually to the tens of thousands, no ifs ands, or buts', how long will it take for the 3 million Chinese people to immigrate to the UK? (O level math question)

 

"Where will the 3 million Chinese immigrants live and should you buy now to let?" (A level math and cultural question). 

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16 hours ago, tribalfusion001 said:

The CCP won't be happy, oh well 555

I don't know whether you are being ironic. Tories will be unelectable ever again if we invite 3 million Hong Kongers to coma and live in the UK. Think of the Ugandan Asians.....and there were only 80,000 of them (and I know a number of excellent people among them).

 

I asked the question in my previous post....where are these people going to live? the UK already has a housing and homeless crisis, this will drive rents and purchase prices to Hong Kong levels. So a very easy way to make lotsa money is to buy lots of rental properties with huge mortgages.

 

The only downside is that the Chinese hawk all over the walls and clean up is nasty.

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Oh dear, the leave voters get to stop the europeans entering uk and now the tory party are inviting the chinese hong kongers.

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Raab in the house yesterday:

 

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7 hours ago, animalmagic said:
20 hours ago, tribalfusion001 said:

The CCP won't be happy, oh well 555

Maybe they will.  Mainland China and Hong Kong currently operate a one-way permit system that allows up to 150 people from China to enter and live in Hong Kong per day.  Hong Kong has no right to vet the people so permitted.  This level of immigration over, shall we say the period of '50 years of no change', give a total of slightly over 2.7 million.  This daily number can be increased if 'circumstances' require it and I am sure that the Chinese Govt will seek the views of the HK Govt before doing so. 🤔

I reckon a 'yes' here

 

if the CCP lets this play out, all the myriads of 'nonconformists leaving, means;

 - a reduced workload in flushing the incumbent HK poplace out, to be replaced by the influx of mainlanders 

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