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  • Writer's pictureLeo

Press Release on Petition "BNO is British" 9.1

For immediate release

Call for U.K. Government support and granting BNO holders

full citizenship amid city's tumultuous clashes

As suggested by Mr Tugendhat MP, giving people of British National (Overseas), a.k.a. BNO, citizenship with rights of abode is “ a mean of reassurance” that the U.K. has legal and moral obligation to its own nationals. A group of BNO passport holders and supporters will hold a peaceful protest outside the British Consulate in Admiralty in the afternoon of September 1, calling on the UK government to respond as soon as possible.

The group also calls on the British government to protect against Beijing’s unilateral intention to scrap the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed in 1984 over the concern of deteriorating human rights.

Lu Kang,  the Foreign Ministry spokesman, on Jun 30, 2017, claimed that Hong Kong has returned to China for 20 years and the Declaration, “as a historical document, no longer has any realistic meaning.” The remark has sparked criticisms worldwide, including the response from the British Foreign Office spokeswoman: "the Sino-British Joint Declaration remains as valid today as it did when it was signed over 30 years ago."

The abduction of dissidents in Hong Kong, refusal of entry of foreign visitors, blatant withdrawal of working visas, as well as abusive behaviour and arrests conducted by the police, have given a strong indication that Hong Kong’s promised autonomy and entitlement are being severely eroded.

Simon Cheng, an employee of British consulate who also holds a BNO passport, was held in custody after traveling to Shenzhen from Hong Kong on August 8 for a business trip, as reported by SCMP and The Guardian on August 21. He was charged for violating “public security management regulations” and detained for two weeks in Shenzhen.

Chinese ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stressed that the detention was entirely a matter of internal affairs and urged the U.K. “to stop making remarks and stop stirring up trouble over Hong Kong.”

China keeps reiterating that Hong Kong’s matters were only internal affairs. In response to a stern remark urging the Chinese government to “honor its commitment … made in 1984 to respect the integrity of Hong Kong’s laws,” CCTV’s International Commentary (國際銳評) rebuked on August 19 that Pence was a “laughing stock” to interfere in China’s internal affairs in reference to “expired” Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Since early June, the HKSAR government has yet to give a positive response to the demands expressed in peaceful protests against the extradition bill that allows suspects to be sent to China for trial. Many protesters feel exasperated and some even clashed with  the police. They hope the government would take their requests into consideration.

The government, instead, attempted to settle the clashes by increasingly abusive  police action , e.g.  firing 800 teargas canisters during the strike on August 5. The misuse of force has led to serious injuries of civilians, arbitrary arrests of protesters with inhumane interrogations, and many more. As of August 13, over 700 protesters have been prosecuted by the police during the two-month clashes.

The Chinese government also publicly suggested that the Chinese People's Liberation Army could send in its troops -- South China Morning Post also reported that hundreds of soldiers trucks paraded in Shenzhen bordering Hong Kong --  to maintain public order if the HKSAR government seeks its assistance.

”Chinese police movements in Shenzhen are worrying. One Country, Two Systems helped Hong Kong prosper for 20 years but is under threat as @CommonsForeign reported,” said Tugendhat.

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