There has been a unifying call among parliamentarians cutting across party lines urging British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to grant full citizenship to the (British National Overseas) BNO Hong Kongers passport holders of Hong Kong.
Amid the increasing violence in the Hong Kong protests and the call for democracy, it is reported that several influential British parliamentarians have called upon the British PM to grant full citizenship to BNO Hong Kongers.
BNO Hong Kongers enjoys visa free travel to over 100 countries but doesn’t have the right to live and work in the UK as a native citizen of United Kingdom. BNO passport are given to Hong Kongers born before 1997.
While it is said that granting BNO Hong Kongers full citizenship at this sensitive time could strain the Britain-China relations, with the passing of Hong Kong Act by the US Senate, many British parliamentarians have asked the PM to do the needful for its former colony.
Granting BNO status to Hong Kongers was said to be ‘a historic error’ and that correcting it by granting them full citizenship in this time of turmoil is befitting as many served them in various capacity when Hong Kong was a colony, many UK parliamentarians reportedly said.
Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997 when it was given to China under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangement after the end of the leased period of 99 years. During the 99 years, Hong Kong had become a prosperous colony with free market, free press and judicial system as well as rule of law.
But since June this year, it has been protesting against a proposed extradition bill that has been withdrawn. The Hong Kong protests have now changed the tide to ask for universal suffrage and democracy. Under the Sino-British agreement for Hong Kong, Hong Kong was expected to have enough autonomy to enjoy universal suffrage within Hong Kong city for 50 years starting from 1997 but it is said that Beijing has been tightening its grip over Hong Kong and doesn’t adhere to the signed arrangement in toto.