Paddy Ashdown on Windrush and Hong Kong

Over at Politics Home, Paddy Ashdown compares the Windrush scandal to Britain’s treatment of British subjects in Hong Kong at the point of our handover of their country to a tyrannical foreign power.

At that point, there were about 3 million British Dependent Territories Citizen (BDTC) passport holders (including people born before July 1, 1997 in Hong Kong, and naturalised British subjects) with right of abode in the UK. But against their wishes, Hong Kongers were stripped of their right of abode and many of the core rights which they desired and deserved, and given the option to apply for ‘British National (Overseas) Passports’ or the ‘BNO’ with their rights limited to holiday travel and the right to vote.

At the time, the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 was recent memory and many in Hong Kong felt their British citizenship was a vital lifeline in case China were not sincere in their handover commitment to give Hong Kong a ‘high degree of autonomy’ and uphold their ‘rights and freedoms’. I campaigned for Hong Kongers to be given the right to claim British citizenship as a last resort if China failed to live up to the promises enshrined in the international treaty to which Britain laid its hand. But the then Conservative government refused to consider this. The BNO, sarcastically referred to by Hong Kongers as ‘Britain says no’, was viewed as a betrayal as the UK just cancelled the citizenship of her former colonial subjects.

In both cases we are talking about people with British Citizenship (of one sort or another) with a right of abode in Britain, one group robbed of that right by bureaucratic oversight and indifference driven by targets supposedly aimed at non-citizens; another robbed in broad daylight as an act of policy.

Whose rights are safe?

Read the whole piece here.

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One Comment

  • Mike Cheung 4th May '18 - 1:35am

    Hats off to Lib Dem leaders and members who stand up for values of justice and have been campaigning for Hong Kong British Nationals who deserve equal concerns .

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