From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : BNO visa
Mains level : Hong-Kong/ Taiwan Issue
Hong Kong residents can apply for a new visa offering them an opportunity to become British citizens after Beijing’s imposition of a national security law last year.
What is the news?
- The move comes as China and Hong Kong have said they will no longer recognise the British National Overseas (BNO) passport as a valid travel document from Sunday, January 31.
- Britain and China have been arguing for months about what London and Washington say is an attempt to silence dissent in Hong Kong after pro-democracy protests in 2019 and 2020.
What is the British move for citizenship?
- The scheme, which was first announced last year, allows those with BNO status to live, study and work in Britain for five years and eventually apply for citizenship.
- BNO is a special status created under British law in 1987that specifically relates to Hong Kong.
- Britain says it is fulfilling a historic and moral commitment to Hong Kong people after Beijing imposed the security law on the semi-autonomous city.
- Britain says breaches the terms of agreements under which the colony was handed back to China in 1997.
- The U.K. government forecasts the new visa could attract more than 300,000 people and their dependants to Britain.
Chinese stance on the move
- China says the West’s views on its actions over Hong Kong are clouded by misinformation and an imperial handover.
- Beijing also said that it would no longer be recognising BN(O) passports, saying that the citizenship offer “seriously infringed” on China’s sovereignty.
- It is unclear, however, how this could deter Hong Kongers from leaving since city residents are usually known to use Hong Kong passports while leaving for another country.