Campaigners demand right to live in Britain for Hong Kong-based UK passports holders amid anti-extradition bill protests

Hong Kong, July 2: Hong Kong civilians, protesting against an extradition bill, having United Kingdom (UK) passports, handed the British government a letter demanding more rights on Monday for the city-based UK passport holder residents that acquire no rights to live or work in Britain.

The campaigners’ urging to the British government comes in the midst of mass protests on the streets of Hong Kong demanding the leader Carrie Lam-led government to withdraw a controversial extradition bill that would permit the territory-based suspects to be sent to mainland China for court prosecution.

According to the Reuters news reports, as demonstrations grow in the city against the extradition bill, many young citizens are looking their ways out of Hong Kong with some activists saying the UK government should shift the status of the British National (Overseas) passport – a measure created after Hong Kong’s status changed to Chinese from British rule in 1997.

Though BN (O) passports are UK passports that permit passport holders to pay a visit to the UK for six months, they fo not allow an automated right to live or work in Britain.

59-year-old BN (O) passport-holder Ling, who is in London to raise the issue with the British government, has told Reuters, “We are asking for our rights as passport holders.”

“The UK has left all the BNO passport holders behind, and left the Hong Kongers to stay in Hong Kong.”

He said such British passport holders should be given right of working or adobe visas, as well as, that he would like to live or move to the UK with his family, however, British interior ministry stated it plans no changes to the system.

“We continue to believe that the best solution for Hong Kong, and the BN(O) passport holders that live there, is full respect for the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” a government spokesman said.

“We have no plans to amend the law in regards to BN(O) status.”

British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has stated the nation will stand beside the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration and urged the same to China in handling the crisis.

“If they pass the extradition law, and then all the Hong Kong citizens including BNO holders will be frightened by that,” Ling said. “In my point of view, there is no more in the country, two systems.”

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