Focus on HONG KONG
Date: 30th June. 12.00-13.30hrs UK time (19.00-20.30hrs HK time)
Hosted by Lib Dems Overseas (LDO) in association with the Paddy Ashdown Forum
During the process of negotiating the handover (or return) of Hongkong to China in 1997, the late Paddy Ashdown advocated for the people of Hong Kong to be given the right of abode in the UK if China were to renege on promises made in the Sino-British Declaration of 1984. The British Nationals (Overseas) passports were issued in 1987 to HK residents to replace the British Dependent Territories passports and almost 3 million HK residents were entitled to hold these passports.
Fast forward June 2020, after years of protests following the so-called Umbrella Revolution which started in 2014, China has introduced sweeping National Securities legislation as an annex to the Basic Law introducing 4 new security crimes with extra-territorial reach.
This has led to the UK government offering BNO passport holders the right to settle in the UK as from January this year as well as funding a welcome package for HKers amounting to £43million to be accessible through local authority services in England, Scotland and Wales. It has been reported that as of April approximately 34,000 BNO passport holders have applied to the UK under the new visa scheme with pathway to citizenship after 5 years of residency.
12.00- 12.05: Welcome by Robert Woodthorpe-Browne MBE, PAF
12.05-12.10: Introductions by the Moderator: Merlene Toh Emerson MBE, LDO
12.10-12.30: Key note speaker: Alistair Carmichael MP, Chair of APPG for Hongkong. Alistair will update the meeting on his work in bringing the private member’s Hong Kong Bill to Parliament and of the scrutiny role played by the APPG that he chairs on the deterioration in civil and political rights in HK and in holding the UK government to account.
12.30-12.50: Views from Hongkongers in Britain
- Mr Simon Cheng, co-founder of HKB and former trade and investment officer at the British consulate in HK, who was detained by the Chinese authorities for 15 days in 2019, will share his views on the impact of the National Security legislation on the pro-democracy movement in Hongkong
- Mr Julian Chan, co-founder of HKB will be speaking about the work of HKB and the support network and services available to new immigrants from HK to the UK.
12.50-13.00: Response by Baroness Sal Brinton
13.00-13.28: Questions and Answers
13.28-13.30hrs: Wrap Up and Thanks