China, UK clash over fate of Hong Kongers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 03, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:48 AM, July 03, 2020

China, UK clash over fate of Hong Kongers

China yesterday promised to take countermeasures against Britain if it presses ahead with plans to extend citizenship rights to Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed a sweeping security law on the restless financial hub.

Beijing has faced a groundswell of criticism from primarily Western nations over its decision to impose a new law outlawing acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.

Adding to concerns, Hong Kong's influential Bar Association published a new legal analysis warning that the wording of the law -- which was kept secret until Tuesday -- undermines the city's independent judiciary and stifles freedoms.

Britain has said the law breaches China's pre-handover "One Country, Two Systems" promise to grant residents key liberties -- as well as judicial and legislative autonomy -- until 2047.

It has responded by announcing plans to allow millions of Hong Kongers with British National Overseas status to relocate with their families and eventually apply for citizenship. "We will live up to our promises to them," foreign secretary Dominic Raab told parliament.

Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday that would penalize banks doing business with Chinese officials who implement Beijing's new national security law imposed on Hong Kong. China responded by saying the United States should stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and warned that it would "resolutely and forcefully resist".

Yesterday, Australian leader Scott Morrison said he was "very actively" considering offering Hong Kongers safe haven.  Taiwan has opened an office to help Hong Kongers wanting to flee, while a proposed bill in the United States offering sanctuary to city residents has received widespread bipartisan support.

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