Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that China will consider not recognizing BNO passports as valid travel documents, in response to the new British policy allowing Hong Kong residents to claim British citizenship.
Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said UK's new policy is a violation of international law and interferes with China's internal affairs.
The UK government on Wednesday issued its Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa Policy Statement, announcing that it will change the arrangements and extend residence rights for BNO passport holders. The relevant measures will come into force in January 2021.
"This seriously goes against its own promises, interfered in China's internal affairs, and violated international law and the basic norms governing international relations," a spokesperson from the Chinese embassy in the UK said in a statement reacting to the British move. "The Chinese side expresses its grave concern and strong opposition and will certainly take effective countermeasures."
In an MOU exchanged between China and the UK, the UK has explicitly pledged that BNO passport holders who are Chinese citizens residing in Hong Kong shall not have the right of abode in the UK, said the statement.
The UK has now, in total disregard of the strong opposition and repeated representations of the Chinese side, offered a route for BNO passport holders to the right of abode and application for citizenship in the UK, it pointed out.
Hong Kong has been a special administrative region of China since China resumed the exercise of sovereignty, the statement continued, and Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs and brook no external interference in any form.
"The Chinese Government remains unwavering in its resolve to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, to implement 'One Country, Two Systems' fully and faithfully, to enforce the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR, and to oppose any external interference in Hong Kong affairs," it said.
"The Chinese side urges the UK side to recognize the fact that Hong Kong is part of China, have a right and objective understanding on the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR, immediately correct its mistakes and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, which are China's internal affairs, in any form. Such interference will be self-defeating."