China No Longer Recognizes British Hong Kong Passport
China no longer recognizes a special British passport that could be held by millions of people in Hong Kong as a legal travel document or as a document to identify themselves with.
The government has announced that the People’s Republic will no longer recognize the ‘British Overseas National Passport’ as of Sunday.
The move is in response to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s offer to use the special passport to help Hong Kong people obtain UK residency status and British nationality, and thus a genuine British passport, if they so wish.
This was decided in London when China last year began to subject the autonomous former British crown colony of Hong Kong more strictly to Beijing’s rule. China has undermined its autonomous status with security laws, among other things.
Hong Kong’s Western-style legal system increasingly resembles that of the Communist People’s Republic.
From Sunday, people in Hong Kong who were born there before the crown colony was handed over to China in 1997 can still apply for such an overseas passport via the Internet. A year ago, an estimated 170,000 Hong Kongers had such a document, but Beijing’s repression has increased to about 730,000.
But on Sunday, the rules will also change for that overseas passport that previously was only good for a kind of tourist stay of up to six months. Starting Sunday, the special passport entitles the holder to live, work and receive education in Great Britain for five years.
All family members, therefore, have those rights. After living among the British for a while, they can apply for British nationality, and it is expected that it will be granted. An estimated 5.4 million of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million Chinese could go to Britain in this way.