China accused UK to break the agreements between the two countries. Australian PM, Morrison, also very concerd about the Hong Kong situation.
China said that the UK has no right to offer residency to Hongkongers. The aim is to escape the controversial national security law. Beijing responded that UK would “bear all consequences”.
China’s aim to prevent UK give residency to Hongkongers
Chinese officials affirmed: “China strongly condemns this and reserves the right to take further measures.” That statement comes after Boris Johnson has pledged to respect the offer for about 3 million residents of the former British colony. Those with British National (Overseas) status (BNO) would have the right to establish in the UK. Then Dominic Raab, UK foreign secretary has confirmed there isn’t much Britain can do to “coercively force” China if it would stop Hongkongers from coming to the UK.
Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador for the UK said that this temptative may not respect the agreements between two countries. Liu also called the UK’s criticism of the national security legislation “irresponsible and unwarranted“. “All Chinese compatriots residing in Hong Kong are Chinese nationals, whether or not they are holders of the British Dependent Territories Citizens passport or the British National (Overseas) passport”, he said.
He also added: “If the British side makes unilateral changes to the relevant practice, it will breach its own position and pledges as well as international law. We firmly oppose this and reserve the right to take corresponding measures,”
First effects of the national security law
From Tuesday 10 people have been arrested in relation to national security law. A the same time police detained 400 people on other charges such as unlawful assembly on Wednesday. The law established a non-transparent legislative process that took less than six weeks. Critics say the law empowers authorities to repress dissent, increasing the level of Chinese control over the semi-autonomous territory.
Scott Morrison, Australian PM said he wants to provide a safe haven to Hong Kong residents after China’s decision. Morrison continued that Australia was “prepared to step up and provide support”. This may include a pathway to permanent settlement.
China between Human Rights and soveregnity
Raab continued “There is an issue around freedom and human rights in Hong Kong, and there is an issue around China keeping its word on an international obligation it made to the United Kingdom back in 1984. I wouldn’t want to be naive about this; I think we need to be realistic. But I do think that China as a rising, leading member of the international community is sensitive to the reputational risk in all of this, but clearly not sufficiently that it hasn’t proceeded anyway … There is diplomatic leverage, there are other ways that we can persuade China not to fully implement either the national security law or some of the reprisals you talk about.”
Raab also revealed: “We need to be honest that we wouldn’t be able to force China to allow BNOs to come to the UK.” After the meeting at the Foreign Office, Liu tweeted: “After turbulent months in the latter half of last year, the national security law will bring the order＆stability to Hong Kong and get its economy back on track.”
China sees these decisions as part of the conclusion of decolonisation process. Another proof to save country’s freedoms will come in the autumn elections for the legislature.