Stop meddling in HK, China tells UK

Read this in The Manila Times digital edition.

BEIJING: The so-called British National Overseas (BNO) passport is not recognized by China, and Britain should stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs in any form, a foreign ministry spokesman said in Beijing on Friday.

It has been reported that Britain will in October put forward a new plan that would allow Hong Kong residents ages 18 or above and born on or after July 1, 1997, to apply for a relevant UK visa as long as one parent holds a BNO passport.

In response, spokesman Wang Wenbin told a news briefing that Britain’s move fundamentally violates the promise it made in a relevant memorandum, openly interferes in Hong Kong affairs, grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs, and violates international law and the basic norms governing international relations.

“China deplores and firmly rejects this,” Wang said.

He stressed that the historical merits of the issue are very clear. Prior to Hong Kong’s return to China, the British side made the explicit commitment that it would not confer the right of abode to Chinese citizens in Hong Kong who hold BNO travel documents.

But more than 20 years after Hong Kong’s return to China, Britain has formulated its new policies for the BNO passport and is attempting to turn many Hong Kong residents into second-class British citizens.

China has announced that it will not recognize the BNO passport as a valid travel document or proof of identity, Wang said, and China urges Britain to immediately rectify its mistakes and cease meddling in Hong Kong affairs in any way.

“No attempt to destabilize Hong Kong or damage Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability will ever succeed,” he said.

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