MPs and Hong Kong Student Leaders call for UK to extend visa rights and to consider Magnitsky sanctions of Hong Kong officials at Parliamentary event.

MPs and Hong Kong Student Leaders call for UK to extend visa rights and to consider Magnitsky sanctions of Hong Kong officials at Parliamentary event.

On 9 September 2019, Hong Kong Watch hosted a packed panel event in the UK Parliament. The event, which was standing room only and was hosted by Fiona Bruce MP, featured speakers including Catherine West MP, Steve Double MP, as well as student unions leaders Sunny Cheung, Joey Siu and Kex Leung from the Hong Kong Higher Education International Affairs Delegation (HKIAD).

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Steve Double, a Conservative MP, called for the United Kingdom government to consider extending the rights of BNO passport holders. After the event, he said:

“It is great to welcome so many concerned students and young people from Hong Kong to Parliament this evening, and to speak to them about the work that I have with Hon gKong Watch to promote the rights of BNO passport holders.”

“I was pleased to present a petition about the rights of BNO holders in the Commons recently and I hope the government will continue to support the people of Hong Kong by offering them more assistance in Hong Kong and the means to settle in the United Kingdom.”

His call for the consideration of the citizenship issue was echoed by Fiona Bruce MP, the Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, who highlighted that more than 30 people have signed a Parliamentary motion in favour of Commonwealth nations giving Hong Kongers citizenship.

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Catherine West MP, a Labour MP and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, highlighted the importance of universal suffrage for the future of Hong Kong, as well as the fact that it is vital that the Hong Kong government defend the fundamental right to peaceful protest.

The HKIAD was founded in July this year by a collection of student unions from 12 higher education institutions. The representatives of HKIAD said that they had travelled to London to call for the international community to “stand with Hong Kong.”

Joey Siu, a spokesperson of HKIAD and Vice-President of the City University of Hong Kong, called for the government to use Magnitsky sanctions against officials:  

“The UK should introduce Magnitsky-style sanctions on individuals who infringe human rights and basic freedoms of Hong Kongers. Given extensive personal and economic ties with the UK, sanctions on individuals can be an effective deterrent for senior officials and police officers who now seem to behave with impunity.”

Sunny Cheung, a spokesperson of HKIAD and a student of Hong Kong University, also raised the issue of Magnitsky sanctions and called for the UK government to offer more support for students:

“The UK government should step up support for Hong Kong students. All Hong Kong students with a student visa currently need to reside in the UK for 10 years to obtain UK citizenship. We suggest that UK government can shorten the duration of having a permanent citizenship from 10 years to 5 years.”

During the Question and Answer session multiple attendees expressed their support for the protests and their desire for Hong Kong’s freedoms to be protected.

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