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China warns UK against citizenship to HK residents

Beijing: China has warned the UK against offering citizenship to Hong Kong residents and “immediately correct its mistakes” in order to avoid retaliatory measures.

In response to China imposing the national security law on Hong Kong, the UK in July reaffirmed its plan to offer citizenships only to those holding a British National Overseas (BNO) passport, reports the BBC.

Around 300,000 people currently hold a BNO passport, while an estimated 2.9 million people are eligible for it, according to the British Consulate General in Hong Kong.

“The Chinese government has repeatedly made clear its strong stance on this issue, but the British side has insisted on interfering with Hong Kong affairs and China’s domestic issues.

“As the British side broke its own promises, the Chinese government will consider not recognizing the BNO passport as a valid travel document, and reserve the right to impose further measures,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said.

In a statement, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry’s Hong Kong office said he “strongly opposed and firmly objected” to the UK move.

“We urged the British side to rectify its mistakes immediately, and stop its hypocritical show and political manipulation.”

UK government analysts have estimated that up to one million people could take up the offer to live in the UK when the new visa becomes available in January 2021, said the BBC report.

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