Hong Kong citizens should be given full UK nationality to show Britain’s support during protests and correct the mistakes of 1997 handover, claims senior Tory Tom Tugendhat
- The Tonbridge and Malling MP said rights should have been extended in 1997
- Mr Tugendhat tweeted that it was an error and something 'that needs correcting'
- Comes as police and protesters clashed at Hong Kong Airport on Tuesday night
Hong Kong citizens should be given full UK nationality to show Britain's support during protests, a senior Tory MP has said.
Tom Tugendhat, chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said the UK should have extended citizenship rights to Hong Kong Chinese when Britain gave up the colony in 1997.
In a series of tweets, the Tonbridge and Malling MP, said it was a 'wrong that needs correcting' and that the situation in Hong Kong was 'worrying.'
It come as riot police clashed with pro-democracy protesters in violent scenes at Hong Kong airport on Tuesday evening, as the crisis in the former British colony deepens.
There are creeping fears Beijing is set to make a crackdown on protesters as military forces amass near the border.
Tom Tugendhat, (pictured) chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said the UK should have extended citizenship rights to Hong Kong Chinese when Britain gave up the colony in 1997
In a series of tweets Mr Tugendhat explained that full UK citizenship rights should be extended to Hong Kong Chinese
Pro-democracy protesters block the entrance to the airport terminals after a scuffle with police at Hong Kong's international airport on Tuesday evening. Hundreds of flights were cancelled or suspended
Legal experts say Chinese President Xi Jinping might be paving the way to use anti-terrorism laws to try to crush the demonstrations.
Mr Tugendhat described the situation in his series of tweets as 'worrying' and that the 'one country two systems that helped Hong Kong prosper is under threat.'
WHAT DO HONG KONG PROTESTERS WANT?
Apart from the resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Hong Kong demonstrators have listed five demands and have continued to urge the government to respond to them.
These five demands are:
1. A complete withdrawal of the extradition bill
2. A retraction from the government to its characterisation that the protesters were 'rioters'
3. Unconditional and immediate release of protesters who were arrested and charges against them dropped
4. Establishment of an independent inquiry to investigate police violence during clashes
5. Genuine universal suffrage
The system Mr Tugendhat describes gives some people in the territory a British national overseas passport, but does not extend to them the automatic ability to live and work in the UK.
Mr Tugendhat adds the UK has special responsibilities under the Sino-British Joint Declaration which gives Hong Kong autonomous status until 2047- 50 years after reunification with China.
Given that he adds: 'The Basic Law provides the constitutional underpinning of HK's status. The question now is: what should the world do?
'The UK has obligations under the Joint Declaration but its responsibilities go further. These are the actions we should consider: a) Extend full citizenship rights to the HK Chinese. This should have been done in 1997 and is a wrong that needs correcting.
b) Make it clear with partners that the Joint Declaration is not just a bilateral agreement but a treaty lodged with the UN which therefore has weight of its own. One Country, Two Systems and the Basic Law cannot be changed on a whim.'
The Tonbridge and Malling MP adds the UK should urge China not to use outside forces in Hong Kong, and try to seek a political situation to the issue.
The protests began in opposition to a bill that would have allowed extraditions to the mainland, but quickly evolved into a broader battle to reverse a slide of rights and freedoms in the southern Chinese city.