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UK triggers Hong Kong citizenship offer

Published: (Updated: ) in European News by .

Boris Johnson responds to China’s new national security law by offering 2.9 million a ‘path’ to British citizenship.

LONDON — The U.K. will offer up to three million Hong Kong residents a path to British citizenship in response to China’s imposition of new national security law on the territory, Boris Johnson said.

The U.K. prime minister told MPs on Wednesday the stringent new laws represented a “clear and serious breach” of China’s obligations under the Sino-British Declaration, the treaty that has underpinned Hong Kong’s status since the U.K. handed over sovereignty in 1997.

London had previously threatened to offer Hong Kong residents with British National Overseas status — estimated by the U.K. government to number 2.9 million — a “path to citizenship” if Beijing pressed ahead with its plan to impose the measures on Hong Kong.

Johnson said in the House of Commons the U.K. would follow through on its pledge.

“We made clear that if China continued down this path we would introduce a new route for those with British National Overseas status to enter the U.K., granting them limited leave to remain with the ability to live and work in the U.K. and thereafter to apply for citizenship — and that is precisely what we will do now,” he said.

Johnson said the law, which was passed on Tuesday and has already led to arrests of protesters, “violates Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy” and threatens the freedoms and rights of its citizens.


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