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U. K. gives $59 million to assist Hong Kong migrants calm down

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The integration program will present funding to assist arrivals entry housing, schooling and job

The British authorities mentioned on Thursday it’s establishing a 43 million pound ($59 million) fund to assist migrants from Hong Kong settle within the nation as they escape rising political repression within the former colony.

The provide extends to holders of British National (Overseas) passports who’ve been supplied particular visas, opening a path to work, residency and eventual citizenship to as much as 5 million of Hong Kong’s 7.4 million folks.

The integration program will present funding to assist arrivals entry housing, schooling and jobs. Around 10% of the funds will go towards establishing 12 “virtual welcome hubs” across Great Britain and Northern Ireland to “coordinate support and give practical advice and assistance,” the British Consulate-General said.

China has sharply criticized what it labels British abuse of the passports, saying it will no longer recognize them as travel documents or as a form of identification. Most residents also carry Hong Kong or other passports so it’s not clear what effect that would have.

“The move delivers on the U.K.’s historic and moral commitment to the people of Hong Kong who chose to retain their ties to the U.K. by taking up BN(O) status in 1997,” the Consulate-General said in a statement, referring to the year Hong Kong was handed over to China.

“It provides them with a pathway to live in the U.K. should they choose to do so,” the consulate said.

It said that Overseas Passport holders have had their rights and freedoms restricted by the national security law imposed by Beijing, and “it is right that we change the entitlements in the U.K. which are attached to their status.” China imposed the sweeping legislation on Hong Kong last year following massive anti-government protests in 2019. and the authorities have used it to virtually end political opposition and severely restrict free speech.

Changes to the electoral system have also closed off routes for political participation, with just 20 of the 90 members of the future Legislative Council to be directly elected. Beijing has also demanded that those running in elections must prove their loyalty to China and the Communist Party and threatens to prosecute anyone for statements regarded as unpatriotic, whether issued in Hong Kong or abroad.

Most opposition figures have either been jailed, intimidated into silence or fled abroad. Political gatherings have been broken up by police and even art exhibitions have been criticized for promoting opposition views.

One prominent opposition figure, Nathan Law, was granted refugee status in the U.K..

“The fact that I am wanted under the National Security Law shows that I am exposed to severe political persecution and am unlikely to return to Hong Kong without risk,” Mr. Law tweeted.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian lashed out at the British decision, calling Law a criminal suspect wanted by the Hong Kong police.

“”We resolutely oppose any nation, group or particular person harboring felony parts in any approach,” Mr. Zhao instructed reporters at a each day briefing. “This is gross interference in Hong Kong justice, a violation of worldwide legislation and the fundamental rules of worldwide relations, and likewise goes towards the constant British precept of the rule of legislation.”

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