Britain risks being pulled into Hong Kong’s worst political crisis in decades as thousands of residents of the former colony ramp up a campaign to receive full UK citizenship to secure an avenue of escape from the territory. Hong Kong residents who registered for British National (Overseas) status before the handover of the territory from the UK to China in 1997 have the right to consular assistance but they are not British citizens and do not have the automatic right to live or work in the UK. Elspeth Guild, a Law Professor at Queen Mary University of London, said any BNO holders in the UK who might be at risk on their return to the territory should be granted an extension of stay by the Home Office. It would be “scandalous” if the UK tried to deport them back to Hong Kong “where there is a risk that they would be persecuted”, she said.
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