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  • Millions of Hong Kong residents are getting the chance to become British citizens.

  • The UK is offering a special new visa after China imposed a security law and crackdown on the territory's pro democracy movement.

  • Hong Kong was a British colony until it's returned to China in 1997 and the UK says the scheme fulfills a moral and historical commitment to the city's residents.

  • For its part, China has called the visa offer a gross violation of its sovereignty.

  • Let's bring in DW correspondent Phoebe Kong, who's standing by in Hong Kong.

  • Hello to you, Phoebe.

  • So how are people reacting to the UK visa scheme in Hong Kong?

  • Are many Hong Kongers likely to go ahead and take advantage of it?

  • Well, the new BNO citizenship scheme is definitely another easier path for Hong Kongers who want to leave the country.

  • Leave the territory because of the current political climate, which is worsening day by day here on the ground.

  • And, um, like, according to the figures that over 5 five million Hong Kong citizens are eligible for applying for the new scheme to move to the UK.

  • Which accounts for over 70% of the population in Hong Kong, so although not every (one) of them will move (to) the UK and take action to take the offer.

  • But, um, according to UK's estimation, in the next five years,

  • over 250,000 people will actually take the offer and emigrate to the United Kingdom.

  • So we're talking about a significant number and it will bring a significant effect to Hong Kong.

  • It's not only the people leaving, but also the capital talents and professions that they will bring with them to the UK and leave Hong Kong.

  • So it's not only the protesters and activists, politicians that are leaving. These people, they may seek political asylum in the UK.

  • But now we're talking about the ordinary citizens, which account for the majority of the population, and the peaceful protesters, that they would take the offer and at least considering to do so

  • because they're not happy with the current situation in Hong Kong, especially after protests and the aftermath, the implementation of the national security.

  • Which make many of the people feel unsafe in Hong Kong, and the freedoms that (are) being chipped away.

  • So most of them, they would be the middle class and educated and professional talents that will consider to take the offer from the UK.

  • And Phoebe, what's been China's response to all this?

  • Can we expect some sort of retaliatory measure against the UK over this visa scheme?

  • Now so far, China has already stopped recognize the BNO passport within its territory.

  • Both in mainland China and also Hong Kong authorities has already followed suit.

  • So all Hong Kong residents cannot board the flight or to leave the territory with the BNO passport.

  • But they can still leave the border with the Hong Kong passport or the Hong Kong identification documents.

  • So this is the first step of retaliations, as China has already claimed a possibility of further retaliation,

  • although up to now it's still unclear what how it works, like, for the act of, like how...

  • How would they follow up and take other actions?

  • But there has been rumors underground in Hong Kong that many probation politicians are now suggesting to the Beijing authority

  • to consider to revoke the civil rights of the Hong Kong citizens who emigrate to the UK with the BNO passports,

  • so we can expect that maybe a few more steps to retaliate to the UK's offer.

  • And to tell Hong Kong residents that they may face consequences if they take the offer from the former colony.

  • All right, Phoebe Kong reporting for us from Hong Kong. Thank you so much.

Millions of Hong Kong residents are getting the chance to become British citizens.

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How will China react to the UK's Hong Kong BN(O) visa scheme? | DW News

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/09
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