BEIJING — China will no longer recognize the so-called British National Overseas (BNO) passport as a travel document and ID document from Jan. 31, and reserves the right to take further actions, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a regular news briefing Friday.
The decision was made after the British government announced that it will begin accepting citizenship applications for BNO-eligible Hong Kong residents starting from Sunday.
Ignoring the fact that Hong Kong has been returned to China for 24 years and China’s solemn position, the British side blatantly violated its commitment and insisted on issuing the so-called “tailored policy” for Hong Kong residents with BNO passports to stay and naturalize in Britain, and has repeatedly expanded the scope of application, Zhao said.
He pointed out that such a move, in an attempt to turn a large number of Hong Kong people into second-class British citizens, has completely changed the original BNO nature agreed between the Chinese and British sides.
“This has seriously violated China’s sovereignty, grossly interfered with Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs, and seriously breached international law and the basic norms governing international relations,” Zhao said, expressing China’s strong indignation and firm opposition to the British side’s move.