29 Jan 2021

Number of Hong Kongers coming to UK likely to be ‘greater than expectations’ – pro-democracy activist Simon Cheng

Social Affairs Editor and Presenter

The Chinese government has said it will no longer recognise the special British National Overseas status given to Hong Kong residents as a valid form of ID.

Beijing’s decision comes days before the launch of a new scheme offering residency and a route to citizenship for British National Overseas passport holders in the UK.

The scheme was set up in response to the imposition of Beijing’s national security law last year. China criticised the UK for interfering in its internal affairs.

Many Hong Kongers carry multiple passports and ID cards, so it’s unclear how the Chinese government could prevent people leaving for the UK.

We spoke to Simon Cheng, a pro-democracy activist from Hong Kong who now lives in London, and began by asking what the UK visa scheme meant to those in Hong Kong.