China May Not Recognize Hong Kongers’ Special British Passports
What’s New: China’s Foreign Ministry said the country may not recognize British National Overseas (BNO) passports as valid travel documents in an escalating clash with the U.K. over Hong Kong.
“Given that the British side broke its commitment first, the Chinese side will consider stopping recognizing BNO passports as valid travel documents and reserves the right to take further actions,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Thursday in a briefing in response to a question about the U.K.’s plan to confer citizenship on BNO passport holders in Hong Kong.
Background: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised British citizenship to eligible Hong Kongers as part of the nation’s response to China’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong. Earlier this week, the British government released a detailed plan saying people in Hong Kong with BNO status would be granted a special path to obtain U.K. citizenship starting in 2021.
The decision affects more than 3 million people in Hong Kong with BNO status, a type of nationality created when Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule in 1997. China opposes such a policy as interfering in domestic affairs.
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