英揆約翰遜將為香港人更改入境政策

中國強推「港版國安法」引發國際擔憂,前香港殖民國英國更是表達高度關切。英國首相約翰遜親自投書媒體,稱港版國安法不但會危害香港的自由與繁榮,也違反了《中英聯合聲明》,因此,若中國執意推行港版國安法,英國將放寬港人護照效力,其變動將是英國史上最大程度之一。

針對港版國安法議題,約翰遜親自投書《南華早報》 表達看法,他說,香港從一個小島躍升為國際貿易中心及東亞樞紐,是一件美好但並非巧合之事,其成功憑藉的是香港人的自由風氣,能夠透過自身的努力、天賦來追尋最崇高的夢想,「他們能夠辯論、分享新穎的點子,表達他們的期許,他們活在法律的規範下,由獨立的法院運作。」

約翰遜表示,香港人已展現出他們幾乎無所不能的能力,包括手把手牽領著中國的經濟復興,因此,維護香港的成就,最大的受益者將是中國。

約翰遜提到,1997年香港主權回歸中國,中方承諾「一國兩制」方針,包括讓香港維持高度自治、現有的經濟模式和生活型態,僅會在外交事務、國防和國家緊急情況層面上受到限制,上述承諾也在英中雙方簽署《中英聯合聲明》下得到了確保。然而,中國人大在上個月宣布將實施港版國安法,此舉將劇烈侵蝕香港的自由與自主權。

約翰遜指出,目前約有35萬港人持有英國國民海外護照,約250萬人有申請資格,目前的規範為允許持有該護照者入境英國6個月,但「如果中國實施港版國安法,英國政府將修改移民政策,允許任何持有海外護照者入境英國1年,以及其它更多權利,包括工作權,這可讓他們為取得英國公民權鋪路。」

約翰遜強調,這將是英國出入境系統史上所做出的最大變動之一,「如果有做出改變的必要,英國政府會很樂意踏出這一步。

以下為約翰遜投書全文

There is something wonderful about the fact that a small island in the Pearl River Delta rose to become a great trading city and commercial powerhouse of East Asia. Wonderful, but not accidental or fortuitous.

Hong Kong succeeds because its people are free. They can pursue their dreams and scale as many heights as their talents allow. They can debate and share new ideas, expressing themselves as they wish. And they live under the rule of law, administered by independent courts.

With their abilities thus released, Hong Kong’s people have shown they can achieve almost anything. They have prospered hand in hand with China’s economic renaissance; today their home is one of the richest cities in the world and hundreds of mainland companies have chosen to list on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

So China has a greater interest than anyone else in preserving Hong Kong’s success. Since the handover in 1997, the key has been the precious concept of “one country, two systems”, enshrined in Hong Kong’s Basic Law and underpinned by the Joint Declaration signed by Britain and China.

This guarantees Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy” with only limited exceptions such as foreign affairs, defence or in a state of emergency. The declaration adds: “The current social and economic systems in Hong Kong will remain unchanged, and so will the life style” including essential “rights and freedoms”.

Yet last month, the National People’s Congress in Beijing decided to impose a national security law on Hong Kong, which would curtail its freedoms and dramatically erode its autonomy.

If China proceeds, this would be in direct conflict with its obligations under the Joint Declaration, a legally binding treaty registered with the United Nations.

Britain would then have no choice but to uphold our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong.

Today, about 350,000 of the territory’s people hold British National Overseas passports and another 2.5 million would be eligible to apply for them. At present, these passports allow visa-free access to the United Kingdom for up to six months.

If China imposes its national security law, the British government will change our immigration rules and allow any holder of these passports from Hong Kong to come to the UK for a renewable period of 12 months and be given further immigration rights, including the right to work, which could place them on a route to citizenship.

This would amount to one of the biggest changes in our visa system in British history. If it proves necessary, the British government will take this step and take it willingly.

Many people in Hong Kong fear their way of life — which China pledged to uphold — is under threat. If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead we will honour our obligations and provide an alternative.

I hope it will not come to this. I still hope that China will remember that responsibilities go hand in glove with strength and leadership. As China plays a greater role on the international stage — commensurate with its economic prowess — then its authority will rest not simply on its global weight but on its reputation for fair dealing and magnanimity.

Britain does not seek to prevent China’s rise; on the contrary we will work side-by-side on all the issues where our interests converge, from trade to climate change. We want a modern and mature relationship, based on mutual respect and recognising China’s place in the world.

And it is precisely because we welcome China as a leading member of the world community that we expect it to abide by international agreements.

I also struggle to understand how the latest measure might ease tensions in Hong Kong. For much of last year, the territory experienced large protests, triggered by an ill-judged attempt to pass a law allowing extradition from Hong Kong to the mainland.

If China now goes further and imposes national security legislation, this would only risk inflaming the situation.

For our part, the UK raised our grave concerns about Hong Kong in the Security Council last week; we will continue to do so in international forums.

Instead of making false allegations — such as claiming that the UK somehow organised the protests — or casting doubt over the Joint Declaration, I hope that China will work alongside the international community to preserve everything that has allowed Hong Kong to thrive.

Britain wants nothing more than for Hong Kong to succeed under “one country, two systems”. I hope that China wants the same. Let us work together to make it so.

Boris Johnson is prime minister of the United Kingdom.

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A columnist in political development in Greater China region, technology and gadgets, media industry, parenting and other interesting topics.

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