Commissioner Office: Britain shows hypocrisy in manipulating BNO issue

The British side has breached its promises and shown pure hypocrisy in manipulating the issue of the British National Overseas (BNO) passport, the Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) said Tuesday.

The British government announced recently a 43-million-pound (59-million-U.S. dollar) package to facilitate the employment and settlement of Hong Kong BNO status holders in Britain.

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The spokesperson of the office said in a statement that the British side has breached its promises by providing these people with a pathway to settlement and citizenship.

It constitutes an outright interference with Hong Kong affairs, which are China's internal affairs, and a flagrant violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations, the spokesperson said, adding that China has voiced firm opposition multiple times and taken strong countermeasures.

Whatever the pretexts or maneuver tactics may be, the British side has openly reneged on its commitment and laid bare sheer hypocrisy, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the Hong Kong people who truly love the country and the city are not easily fooled, nor will China's determination to fully and faithfully implement "One Country, Two Systems" and staunchly safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests waver.

The spokesperson urged the British side to shake off the colonial mindset, respect history, face reality and stop meddling with Hong Kong affairs and warned that it would otherwise only further damage its own image and interests in Hong Kong. 

The British National Overseas (BNO) passport. /AP

The British National Overseas (BNO) passport. /AP

The Chinese embassy in Britain Tuesday also expressed its grave concern and firm opposition to UK's move.

"Playing up the BNO issue and attempting to turn some Hong Kong residents into second-class British 'citizens' are nothing but hypocritical political manipulation that is doomed to failure," the embassy spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson said the Chinese side urges the UK side to wake up to the reality and major trend, and stop such political manipulation.

"The UK, with its grave racial discrimination and other social problems, is far from a paradise. It has been brought to our attention that there are many reports about Hong Kong residents being discriminated and living in distress after coming to the UK. The Chinese Embassy in the UK has received requests for consular assistance in relation to such cases."

It is hoped that the UK will focus on solving its own problems, rather than stirring up trouble and misleading the public, the spokesperson added. 

(With input from Xinhua)

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