Time for Hongkongers eligible for BN(O) visa scheme to choose where their loyalties lie

Time for Hongkongers eligible for BN(O) visa scheme to choose where their loyalties lie

With yet another coronavirus lockdown in Britain, one cannot stretch one’s legs easily other than in the supermarket. A brief chat I had with a butcher in a Surrey supermarket in September gave me much food for thought, as I had settled in Britain as a British National (Overseas) émigré a month earlier. The conversation started innocuously – where are you from?

As soon as she said she was from China, and I Hong Kong, she asked me a question in Mandarin that had contributed to years of discontent and one year of social unrest in Hong Kong that culminated in Beijing’s imposition of a national security law for the city on June 30 – is Hong Kong not part of China?

Not wanting a prolonged, heated discussion with her, in keeping with English politesse, I did not demur. However, as Britain is to open a new BN(O) visa scheme for eligible Hongkongers on January 31 with the right to work and a path to British citizenship in response to the national security law, the issue of Hongkongers’ nationality, citizenship, belonging and national identity can no longer be deferred.