PM Boris Johnson extended an offer of citizenship to up to 3 million Hongkongers in the wake of new security measures introduced by Hong Kong’s Chinese-led government. The measures punish crimes of secession and subversion, with police arresting at least 10 under the law last week (NBC). Under the plan, overseas nationals will have the right to legally remain in Britain for five years, upon which they can apply for citizenship (BBC). Critics like Johnson express these measures open a path for China’s government to consolidate power and suppress dissent in the region (NBC).
Hong Kong was a British colony until its territory returned to China in 1997 under a plan guaranteeing freedoms not present in mainland China. Chinese Ambassador to London Liu Xiaoming stated the move “constitutes gross interference” in Chinese affairs (Reuters). British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab rejected Liu’s comments, saying that “many countries” are asking the question: “Does China live up to its international obligations?” (Al Jazeera). Liu said China’s government would decide on its response after seeing how the British government proceeds (Reuters).