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Hong Kong official says Joint Declaration gave Britain no rights to city post handover

Hong Kong official says Joint Declaration gave Britain no rights to city post handover

A pair of surveillance cameras are seen along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront as skyline buildings stand across Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong on Jul 28, 2020. (File photo: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong Secretary of Justice Teresa Cheng reiterated on Saturday (Jan 30) that Britain had no rights over the city under the joint declaration that laid the blueprint for how the city would be ruled after its 1997 reunification with China.

Cheng made the comments in a blog post on the eve of changes to the UK's visa application program that will allow Hong Kong residents who hold a British National Overseas (BNO) passport to live, study and work in Britain for five years and eventually apply for citizenship.

BNO status was created by Britain in 1987 specifically for Hong Kong residents.

READ: China will not recognise British passport for Hong Kong residents from Jan 31

READ: UK says it is upholding 'freedom and autonomy' with new Hong Kong visas

Cheng cited former Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in Hong Kong, Xie Feng, as saying "the UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of ‘supervision’ over Hong Kong whatsoever after the latter returned to China" under the Joint Declaration.

Beijing's imposition of a national security law in Hong Kong in June last year prompted Britain to offer refuge to almost 3 million Hong Kong residents eligible for the BNO passport from Jan 31.

China and the Hong Kong government had already hit back at the visa change, by saying they would no longer recognise the BNO passport as a valid travel document from Sunday, Jan 31.

Source: Reuters/ic

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