Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain would not leave the people of Hong Kong if China imposed national security laws contrary to the 1984 agreement.
The Chinese National Assembly last week passed a decision on drafting and enacting national security laws for Hong Kong to deal with foreign rebellion, secession, terrorism and interference activities. The mainland’s intelligence and security agents may be allowed to operate for the first time in the city, one of China’s two special administrative regions.
Prime Minister Johnson reiterated his commitment to giving British passport holders British citizens abroad (BNO) in Hong Kong the path of British citizenship – allowing them to settle in the United Kingdom.
The BNO status was granted to British Citizens of the Independent Territories (BDTC), affiliated with Hong Kong as part of the agreements accompanying the 1984 Joint Declaration, as Britain prepared to hand over Hong Kong to itself.
BNO passport holders are subject to consular assistance by the British government in third countries. The British Government also allows holders of this passport to enter the UK without a visa for up to 6 months as a tourist.
About 350,000 BNO passport holders in Hong Kong and 2.5 million others qualify for the passport, Johnson said.
The Times newspaper also said the British National Security Council on June 2 agreed on rebalancing relations with China.
On the same day, London called on Beijing to reconsider the promulgation of the national security law in Hong Kong, saying that the law threatens to destroy one of the jewels of the Asian economy while destroying its Chinese name.
Raab said if China enacted a security law in Hong Kong, the UK would implement a new policy that allows BNO passport holders to come to the UK without a 6-month time limit, allowing them to live, study and work in the UK for up to 12 months, and from then on can be naturalized.