Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / China / HK Macao

HK govt: BN(O) passport may be deemed invalid travel document

By Gang Wen | | Updated: 2020-07-24 12:47
Share - WeChat

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government said on Thursday it would follow the nation in derecognizing the Hong Kong British National (Overseas) passport as a valid travel document after the central government said it is considering the move.

The Foreign Ministry said earlier in the day that China will consider withdrawing recognition of BN(O) passports as valid travel documents. The announcement came in response to the UK's decision to provide a pathway to residency and citizenship for Chinese nationals in Hong Kong who have a BN(O) passport or are eligible for one.

A government spokesperson said the high-profile measures taken by the UK government using the National Security Law for Hong Kong as a pretext "are purely political maneuvers" that the SAR government deplores and opposes.

The Hong Kong administration reiterated that the enactment of the National Security Law is constitutional, lawful, rational and reasonable. "Matters of the HKSAR remain our country's internal affairs. No other state is allowed to interfere in such internal affairs under any pretext", the spokesperson said.

The citizenship offer runs against the UK's own pledge in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and historically, the UK government all along had no intention to confer such rights on the people in Hong Kong as reflected in various amendments to its laws and policies before Hong Kong's return to the motherland, the spokesperson said.

In the Joint Declaration, the UK clearly pledged not to confer the right of abode on holders of the BN(O) passport who are Chinese nationals in Hong Kong, the HKSAR government said in a statement.

According to official records, about 350,000 people currently hold a BN(O) passport, which allows them to visit the UK visa-free for six months. An estimated 2.6 million more people are eligible for such a passport.

In a webinar held on Wednesday, Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming described the British government's move as "blatant interference" in Hong Kong affairs.

By making one mistake after another in Hong Kong, the UK has brazenly contravened its international obligations and severely disrupted the stability and prosperity in the city, Liu said.

He also said that some British politicians have refused to wake up from their colonial dreams and are ignoring the fact that China has long resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong.

Liu said that if the UK were to choose to sever its ties with China, it would lose future opportunities and the chance to thrive in the post-Brexit and post-pandemic world. The UK government's move is against the will of the majority in the UK, especially those from the industrial and commercial circles, he added.

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349