Britain’s stick – The Hong Kong Bill (Part 1)

Yesterday, we provided evidence that China’s salami crackdowns are as sinister as a Tiananmen massacre crackdown. ( Article: Fallacy of reasoning from ‘crackdown’ to actions – The new TianAnMen crackdown) Some have wondered what sticks on Peking can be employed by Britain. The Lib Dem Campaigners for Hong Kong campaign for the Hong Kong Bill in 2 parts – 1. Sanctions, and 2. BN(O) rights.

Let us first look at the lighter portion of the bill – #2 BN(O) rights.

British Nationals (Overseas) passport holders are holders of a British passport and a British National. Applicants took up the nationality to agree with the British identity. While no European countries, including multi-nationality pre-unified Germany, forbids right of abode to some of their nationals; Britain created a second-class nationality for Hong Kong. China looks at nationals lightly too. From the Cultural Revolution to Tiananmen massacre, and from locking up Uyghurs in concentration camps to arresting Wuhan doctors who suggested the outbreak of Covid-19; Peking never shy away from human sacrifices in return for Party order. Is it Global Britain to suggest it too cannot protect all her nationals because of political considerations? Even till early this year, the government is anxious about offending China as if considering our immigration matters is sailing gunboats up the South China Sea. Peking must be laughing now. Even with its problems in the pandemic, Peking’s leadership follows Sun Tzu’s doctrine of warfare to the latter to seek attack when all others are in crisis, for this is to emphasise superiority (敵之害大,就勢取利,剛決柔也。). Simply put, “Loot a burning house”. Peking is invalidating a race – the Hongkongers, and British interests in Hong Kong as we battle the Coronavirus pandemic. The word ‘compassion’ was never in its vocabulary. Of course, we are a nation of ethical and moral values, perhaps, only with a short-sighted government. Whether it is a Rule Britannia pride, economic greed because of the average wealth of a potential migrant from Hong Kong or honouring social liberal values; it does rest upon our shoulders to show we stand up for Hong Kong.

To provide BNO, the acquisition of British Citizenship to right the wrongs of the past. It will follow the same principles as affording the Falkland Islanders, whose islands are also defended by HongKongese soldiers in 1982, British Citizenship. A nationality without the right of abode is so out of common sense that Britain could never conclude the European Convention on Human Rights because Protocol 4 of the ECHR could be violated.

The current government have repeated a legal concern about British Citizenship acquisition over the past few months; however, these concerns have been rejected by Lord Goldsmith QC and Laurie Fransman QC. First, while the government says, former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith mentioned the Sino-British Joint Declaration (‘JD’) would be breached by conferring full citizenship. Yet, in March 2020, Goldsmith has written to the Foreign Secretary explicitly saying his words are misrepresented. He provided a four-page legal opinion explaining there are no breaches to the JD should the right of abode be extended to BNO. Secondly, both Counsels maintains that changes to the UK’s immigration policy are a domestic affair and changes to British Nationality laws have been made numerous times since JD is signed.

Over the next articles, we will look into another major element of the Hong Kong Bill – Sanctions.


  1. Fallacy of reasoning from ‘crackdown’ to actions – The new TianAnMen crackdown. Available at
  2. Bob Seely & Imran Khan MP letter to the Home Secretary available at

* Nicholas Chan is a Liberal Democrat member training in Criminal Law. He is Vice-Chair of Liberal Democrat Friends of Hong Kong.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Note that many residents of Macau possess Portuguese citizenship by virtue of being born in Macau before 3 October 1981, naturalization, or being born to parents with Portuguese citizenship in Macau.

  • Richard Underhill 29th May '20 - 5:40pm

    There are occasional differences in the Conservative Party. Please consider their first elected leader, Edward Heath, organ scholar and sailor ISBN 0 340 70582 2,
    Hodder and Stoughton (published 1998, after the resignation of Margaret Thatcher as PM and MP and after the 1997 general election, won by New Labour under Tony Blair with Liberal Democrat gains).
    page 456 “General Idi Amin had pauperised a country that was rich in natural resources in order to line his own pockets and those of his cronies. With many of his people beginning to get restless he cast around for a scapegoat from the Asian community – one of the most hard working and law abiding groups in Uganda, who had been there for generations.”
    ” We tried to persuade Amin to change his mind … . however, like most dictators, the man could not be reasoned with. Uganda was still part of the Commonwealth and we therefore had a moral duty to to accept these unfortunate people.”
    Heath’s shadow cabinet had taken five minutes to agree a line against Enoch Powell and the Monday Club on the immigration to the UK of Ugandan Asians.
    With commendable brevity Heath said “It was the right thing to do”.
    “By ‘Commonwealth’ the right usually meant Australia, New Zealand and Canada which Her Majesty has made clear is not her definition of the Commonwealth, nor has it ever been mine.”
    On page 457 Heath quotes a letter from Arnold Goodman,_Baron_Goodman
    “I do not remember an episode of Governmental behaviour as being more clear-cut in relation to morality and principle and less self -seeking in terms of popular appeal”.
    He is also politically important because he was PM when the UK negotiated entry to the EEC.
    After the resignation of President de Gaulle the French were charmed at the British embassy in Paris with French wine admired by the then President of France, Georges Pompidou.

  • Richard Underhill 29th May '20 - 11:31pm

    Donald Trump has correctly stated that the agreement between China and the United Kingdom has been breached by the People’s Republic of China. It was supposed to last 50 years but it has not. He is therefore putting sanctions onto Hong Kong.
    Did we ask him to do that?
    Four million hard-working entrepreneurs might stimulate the UK economy, but we would not be able to bring properties over here.
    BBC2 Newsnight briefly interviewed former Foreign Secretary David Miliband about President Trump’s dislike of the World Health Organisation and withdrawal of funding. he said that Trump’s action will only strengthen China. His statement was curtailed by a weather forecast for the UK, hot.

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