Author Archives: Larry Ngan

Dominic Raab – Your proposal is neither practical nor financially feasible

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The Foreign Secretary had just announced a proposal on extending ‘leave to stay’ for British National (Overseas) passport holders from 6 months to 12 months if China forced the Hong Kong authorities to enact the National Security Law. It is still a short-term visa and the Government will need to clarify what “extendable with a pathway to the Citizenship” means. It seems the ‘Leave’ allows work and study during the 12 months stay, which will allow BN(O) status holders to live in the country.

The mechanisms on how the ambiguous proposal will work is all subject to the clarification from the Home Office and Foreign Office. Putting the many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ in the statement aside, the Foreign Office clearly may not have thought the proposal thoroughly before announcement. If you went through the details, you will find the proposal is full of flaws. One of the biggest issues will be the financial burden to the BN(O) holders.

With reference to the dominating speculation that the visa can be extended, BN(O) holders will need to pay £1,033 each time he/she applies or extends his/her visa, and an additional £400 for covering the NHS surcharge. From October onwards, it will be increased to £624. Therefore, the cost for extending their visa will be £1,657 each time.

If the BN(O) holders wanted to convert their passports to British Citizenship (known as ‘Registration’), under the current system, they need to first be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), and stayed in UK for another year before they can Register. ILR application fee is £2,389 and £1,206 for Registration.

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The Hong Kong national security law is the wake up call for civil rights campaigners

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Since the anti-extradition protests began on May 2019, civil rights movement campaigners tried to achieve its means by 3 pillars: Within the legislation assembly, demonstrations, and social media (including overseas campaigns).

Throughout the protest movements, they achieved some successes: The government was forced to withdraw the extradition bill amendment, Hong Kong was the focus of the mass media, and the USA took a number of actions in order to prevent China suppressing the protests by violent means.

However, everything changed for the worse on 21st May 2020.

The Chinese government announced then that they will submit a resolution to the National People’s Congress, which will instruct the Hong Kong government to pass a ‘National Security Law’. It will be included in Annex 3 of the Basic Law, which implied the Chinese National Security Law will be applied in the territory through local legislation or promulgation by the Chief Executive. That means the law can bypass the scrutiny of the legislative assembly in Hong Kong and further erode the legislative and judiciary autonomy of the territory.

The new law will make any of the following activities illegal:

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The Carrie Lam report exposed how the ‘Executive Dominant’ political system failed Hong Kong

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Throughout 2019, Hong Kong was in midst of a political crisis. The non-consulted Extradition Bill triggered protests against the government, then entrenched by police brutality. At the dawn of 2020, the city was hit with the Coronavirus crisis, and the government created a crisis of its own by mismanaging its economic, health and homeland security policies.

Instead of concentrating on protecting the citizens, Chief Executive Carrie Lam seemingly put her effort in filing a complaint on the performance of her own government to the Beijing authorities. The report was leaked to Apple Daily (a Hong Kong-based Chinese language newspaper) and it caused an uproar in the mass media towards her character.

Apple Daily reported on 22/02/2020 that Carrie Lam laid the blame not only on opposition parties and “radical elements” of the protest movements, she fiercely attacked her Executive Council for being incompetent and pro-government parties for being unsupportive, while some pro-government legislators even criticised her with personal attacks. She also asked Beijing to allow those from Hong Kong who were stuck in Wuhan to return home, so ‘the Hong Kongers can feel Beijing actually cared about them’.

This report exposed a few weaknesses in Hong Kong’s political system:

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Why we should do more to support the Hong Kong protest movement

The 2019 General Election Liberal Democrats manifesto calls for standing to a peaceful world; not only because this is our value, but also everyone deserves a better world. When we jointly face challenges in our support for liberal democracies, stable partnerships are often fostered. One such alliance calls for “Honouring our legal and moral duty to the people of Hong Kong by reopening the British National Overseas Passport offer, extending the scheme to provide the right to abode to all holders”. Nonetheless, do words suffice in supporting the civilians in Hong Kong who are among those standing in defiance of brutal dictatorships?

Since the 2019 autumn conference, the situation in Hong Kong deteriorated substantially. By the end of December 2019, more than 7000 protesters had been arrested according to the figures from Hong Kong Police Force. For all that, it did not include those who disappeared after arrests, or those being transported to Mainland China. Two thirds of those arrested were between eleven to twenty five years old, and half of them were students. Some who were reported to have disappeared were later found dead under suspicious circumstances. New York Times investigations revealed police tactics on the day nearly caused a mass stampede as police deployed tear gas without warning, cornering civilians into a dead end. Demonstrators in that incident adverted mass injuries by shattering glass and forcibly entering an office building for refuge.

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A global advert for the Hong Kong Anti Extradition Bill campaign – implications for the Remain Campaign

An advertisement to support the Hong Kong Anti Extradition Movement appeared in 14 newspapers around the world on 27th June. The press was puzzled by 2 questions: who created the campaign and how did they manage to execute it?

Two million Hong Kong citizens participated in the Hong Kong anti extradition bill protest on 21st June. The protesters made three demands:

  1. the amendment of the bill to be retracted;
  2. the definition of the clashes between police and civilians on 12th June as ‘riot’ to be retracted; and,
  3. an independent commission to be formed in order to investigate the police behaviour on 12th June.

The Hong …

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Protesting the Hong Kong Extradition Bill – the story so far…

A million Hong Kong citizens went on a peaceful demonstration in Hong Kong on 12th June 2019 protesting against the government’s proposed Extradition Bill. Not only did the government refuse the demands of the demonstrators to retract the Bill, but they also described the movement as a “riot”. The police used heavy handed tactics to disperse the crowds including deployment of tear gas and pepper water spray, cornering and beating up protesters with police clubs and the making of arrests.

The government’s tactics infuriated those citizens who had not joined the demonstration, including those residing in overseas. The death of a …

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How Brexit diminishes the rights of British Nationals overseas

I was in Hong Kong in March, and most of my friends had asked me the same question: How’s the progress with BN(O) equal rights movement and how did Brexit affect it?

So what is BN(O)? It stands for British National (Overseas). According to the Home Office website, it means ‘Someone who was a British overseas territories citizen by connection with Hong Kong was able to register as a BN(O) before 1 July 1997.’ They are not granted Right of Abode anywhere, including the UK and HK.

The strict terms of BN(O) made most think that it is a travel document, but it is more than that, such as:

  1. They are eligible to join Her Majesty’s Civil Service, and are eligible to vote if they have lived in the UK for more than six months;
  2. may become British citizens by registration after residing in the UK for more than five years and possessing ILR for more than one year;
  3. would not be subjected to the annual quota of 1000 people if they wanted to apply to stay in UK under the working holiday scheme;
  4. their status is for life and is not be lost in case of Dual or Multiple Nationality, though their siblings cannot inherit the status.

According to the official figures, currently there are more than 800,000 BN(O) holders. Although the numbers are dwindling, they have no intention to withdraw it, and still use the passport to travel overseas. 

Our former leader Lord Paddy Ashdown campaigned for giving BN(O) holders the right of abode since years ago. There was also a seminar organised by the House of Lord with various campaign groups to call for the extension of BN(O) rights in March this year. 

The goal of the campaign groups is to fight for extending their rights. In a radio interview, Choy Ki, one of the representatives of BN(O) Association, mentioned, ‘BN(O) is not only a travel document, but a national identity with a lot of rights under the jurisdiction of the UK.’

The current political spectrum, however, has complicated the issue. For BN(O) holders, Brexit means our visa free travelling status to our EU neighbours could no longer be available. This is important because EU member states offered visa free travel for the HK passport holders, and most BN(O) holders are eligible to obtain one.

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  • User AvatarPeter Martin 9th Jul - 3:29pm
    "......that bring new thinking and approaches to traditional economics" The inclusion of 'traditional' is a bit worrying. 'Traditional' has led us into the mess we...
  • User AvatarLorenzo Cherin 9th Jul - 3:15pm
    David' agreed, do not want to say it, as old news, but the comparing of Sunak, was meant to be left wing, as opposed to...
  • User AvatarKaterina Porter 9th Jul - 3:04pm
    We need to look at some countries abroad, Scandinavian, particularly Finland I believe do very well. In France in a village I know hardly anybody...
  • User AvatarTom Harney 9th Jul - 3:03pm
    I think that we will not be able to judge until the autumn, when the Chancellor makes his statement. Unless he is prepared to radically...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 9th Jul - 2:40pm
    Gordon Brown wasn't a 'left wing' Chancellor. He was extremely cautious and stuck to Tory financial guidelines i n the early years of his Chancellorship....
  • User AvatarGeoffrey Payne 9th Jul - 2:37pm
    Congratulations, a very interesting looking job. From a Lib Dem point of view I reckon we could benefit from having more expertise on sustainable economics.