Thank you for writing to me about the current situation in Hong Kong. I have read your email carefully and noted the key points that you raise. I have no inside information on further steps the Government might take, but I am very supportive of the steps taken so far.
The wide-ranging national security law adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress is deeply disturbing. The Government has carefully assessed the legislation and found that the enactment of the legislation, imposed on the people of Hong Kong by authorities in Beijing, constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
China’s actions undermine international trust in their government’s willingness to keep its word and live up to its promises. It is my understanding that the UK’s Consulate General in Hong Kong has spoken to senior members of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government’s executive to express the UK’s objections, and the Chinese Ambassador was summoned by the Foreign Office’s Permanent Secretary.
I am proud that the UK will keep its word and live up to its responsibilities to the people of Hong Kong. The UK will honour the commitment made in June to change the arrangements for those with British National (Overseas) status and proposals have been developed for a bespoke immigration route for BNOs and their dependents. Given the unique circumstances and our historic commitment to the people of Hong Kong, it is only right that these arrangements have been made.
The UK will grant BNOs five years limited leave to remain, with the right to work or study. After these five years, they will be able to apply for settled status and, after a further 12 months with settled status, they will be able to apply for citizenship. All those with BNO status will be eligible, as will their family dependents who are usually resident in Hong Kong. The Home Office is putting in place a simple, streamlined application process and that there will be no quotas. It is my understanding that more details about the proposals will be released in due course.
I welcome the UK’s international work, alongside partners, to consider what further action should be taken. Through the UK’s diplomatic leadership, the UK was joined by twenty-seven other nations in making the first ever formal statement on this issue in the UN Human Rights Council expressing deep concern about the human rights situation in both Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
China has not only breached its international obligations to the UK under the Joint Declaration, but it has broken its promise to the people of Hong Kong under its own laws.
For more information please see: https://www.gov.uk/world/hong-kong/news
Thank you again for writing to me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking