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U.K. offers lifeline to Hong Kong nationals in response to Chinese law
Source: AP Kin Cheung A man displays the Hong Kong colonial flag on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China from Britain in Hong Kong, Wednesday, July. 1, 2020.
  • The British Government is offering Hong Kong British nationals a five-year U.K. visa, following the introduction of a new national security law
  • The law, passed by China, reduces the city's autonomy and makes it easier for Beijing to punish protestors
  • The law came into effect on June 30, prompting the U.K. to act and offer residents the chance to relocate
  • Three million people will be eligible for the new visas, and will also be given a chance to become U.K. citizens

The British Government is offering a lifeline to Hong Kong British nationals, following China's introduction of a new national security law in the region.

The law targets secession, subversion and terrorism within Hong Kong, with those caught breaking the rules facing punishments of life in prison.

This gives Beijing extensive powers over the region, with China to install its own police in Hong Kong, who won't come under local authority's jurisdiction.

The U.K. intervenes

Following the introduction, the U.K. stepped in and offered residents a chance to settle in England and eventually become citizens.

"We will not look the other way on Hong Kong, and we will not duck our historic responsibilities to its people," said British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Britain handed over sovereignty of Hong Kong to China in 1997, under the condition certain freedoms would remain.

At the time, a national security law was supposed to be introduced, but the unpopular idea never materialised.

Then, widespread protests broke out last year when Hong Jong officials were considering allowing residents to be extradited to China.

The law was dropped, however, Beijing moved to take back control of the island.

The controversial new security law was introduced and came in to effect on June 30, prompting the U.K. to act.

Visa extended

The British Government is now offering an extended five-year U.K. visa to British nationals living in the region, allowing them the option to relocate.

After the five-year visa is finished, Hong Kong nationals are allowed to settle in the U.K., and after a year, apply to become British citizens.

The offer applies to around 3 million residents currently residing in Hong Kong.


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