- Central government lashes out at London move paving the way for millions of Hongkongers to settle in Britain
- Beijing response will do little to put off those wanting to emigrate, say observers who see UK’s offer as more generous than expected
Beijing threatened on Thursday to stop recognising British National (Overseas) passports in retaliation for London advancing plans to open its doors to Hongkongers holding the status, as city officials offered their full support for the central government’s response.China’s reaction did not dampen the resolve of some Hong Kong residents to emigrate, with scholars, advocates and immigration consultants describing the British offer for the city’s document holders as more generous than expected and Beijing’s comeback as largely symbolic.
The British Home Secretary Priti Patel on Wednesday revealed that Hongkongers with BN(O) papers wishing to move to the United Kingdom would be exempt from its income threshold requirements and allowed to stay for up to five years, at which point they could apply for full citizenship.
The move infuriated Beijing, as a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman accused London on Thursday of meddling in China’s internal affairs.