The Chinese administration is trying to send spies to Britain by abusing a special visa system designed to help Hongkongers escape the increasingly stringent crackdown on freedom in the former British colonies. The British newspaper reported on Monday.
The UK Government has a “sleeper agent” working for the Chinese administration to apply for a UK visa under a new scheme designed to provide holders of British National (Overseas) status in Hong Kong with a path to citizenship. recognizing. London Times A British government source said:
“There is a rigorous background check on visa applications, but for good reason,” government sources reportedly said. “The BN (O) visa scheme review process is far more thorough than any other scheme.”
Benedict Rogers, CEO of NGO Hong Kong Watch, co-founder of the British Conservative Human Rights Commission, said the revelation was “totally ridiculous.”
“The UK has to tighten the process to scrutinize and eliminate these spies,” he writes. twitter..
In response to this report, a home office spokesperson said: “The BN (O) Visa Route reflects the UK’s historical and moral commitment to the people of Hong Kong who chose to maintain their relationship with the UK by obtaining BN (O) status. , An unprecedented generous proposal that reflects a deep connection with Hong Kong. “
In a statement emailed to The Epoch Times, a spokesperson said, “Throughout the application process, we are taking precautions to help those in the most need without abuse.” ..
The Epoch Times requested the Interior Ministry to confirm or reject the allegations cited in the Times of London report, but did not respond by the press time.
A new visa system for BN (O) status holders was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last July after Beijing imposed strict national security laws on Hong Kong. Chinese Communist Party, the biggest penalty for life imprisonment.
Launched in January, BN (O) status holders will be able to live, study, work and eventually apply for citizenship in the UK for five years.
according to Government statisticsIn the first three months of this year, there were 34,300 visa applications. Of these, the main applicants were 20,000 and the dependents were 14,300.
Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last British Governor, told The Times of London that he believed that the BN (O) visa system was the “right response” to the imposition of National Security Act.
But he said Britain is a “totalitarian state that uses informants” and should “realize” the risk of the Chinese administration misusing plans to spy on Britain.