Sydney, Australia: China on Thursday offered a path to permanent residence for thousands of Hong Kong people, drawing a furious reply from Beijing in response to China’s crackdown on dissent.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government was suspending its extradition agreement with the city, and in addition to extending 10,000 Hong Kong visas already in the country, door to thousands wanting to start another new life Thrown open.
Morrison said the decision was made in response to a decision imposed by China last week of a strict new security law in Hong Kong, which he said is “a fundamental change of circumstances” for the semi-autonomous region.
During a press conference he said, “Australia is adjusting its laws, our sovereign laws, our sovereign immigration program, the things on which changes are taking place in our region. Beijing shot back, condemning the Australian declarations as a violation of “basic principles of international relations”.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned, “China … reserves the right to seek further responses, all results to be borne by Australia.”
“Any attempt to suppress China will never succeed.”
Australia’s Foreign Minister Marriage Payne said China’s move to Hong Kong was discussed Thursday with Australia’s so-called “Five Eyes” security partners – New Zealand, the United States, Britain and Canada.
The new law, which occasionally followed violent anti-democracy protests, is the most radical change since independence in Hong Kong as Britain signed an agreement in 1997 to maintain its way of life to China for 50 years. Was handed back to the city. China has drawn widespread global criticism of the law. Beijing has levied charges on some Australian imports in recent months and trade in other key commodities in response to Australian moves to counter Chinese intervention in the country.
China was Australia’s largest trade partner and a competitor to influence in the Pacific, when Canberra made a call to investigate the origins of the coronovirus epidemic. New Zealand is also reviewing its relationship with Hong Kong as the new law states, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said on Thursday, “including extradition arrangements, control over strategic goods exports and travel advice”.
Canada has also suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, while the British government has offered more than three million Hong Kong a comprehensive path to citizenship.
Morrison questioned the question of whether challenging Hong Kong would increase the likelihood of Chinese retaliation.
“We will make decisions about our interests, and we will make decisions about our laws and our advice, and we will do so rationally and calmly and consistently.”
As part of the new measures, 10,000 Hong Kong citizens and residents in Australia on student or temporary work visas will be allowed to remain in the country for an additional three years.
“If you are a temporary visa holder, your visa will be extended an additional five years from today, in addition to the time you have already lived in Australia, at the end of that period of the permanent residence route With, ”Morrison said.
Five-year visas and possible permanent residency were also offered to Hong Kong entrepreneurs or skilled workers who wish to relocate to Australia in the future.
“If there are businesses that wish to relocate to Australia, generate employment, bring investment, create opportunities for Australia, then we will be very active in trying to encourage that,” he said .
The move echoed Australia’s response to the 1989 Tianmen Square crackdown when Canberra sheltered thousands of Chinese students and their families.
But this is contrary to the current conservative government’s policy of restricting immigration. Morrison said he did not expect a multitude of new visa applications in Hong Kong due to coronovirus travel restrictions. He said that it would be very disappointing if China tried to stop Hong Kong citizens from taking advantage of the proposal.