Patel told the Select House of Commons Home Affairs Committee that she is actively examining the 18-23 age cohort because they are too young to qualify for the BNO. She said the issue was complex but added, “I am giving this commitment to this cohort. ”
Young people have been at the forefront of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests and are likely to be an early target if the Chinese government makes large-scale arrests.
Patel’s engagement was praised by Nathan Law, the prominent Hong Kong activist who fled to the UK following China’s imposition of strict security law last month. He said it was “very important” for Britain to extend BNO status to those who were too young to claim it themselves and too old to become dependents of BNO parents.
Law said protesters as young as 14 were arrested for participating in pro-democracy events, and he urged the UK to ignore any criminal records for demonstrations during the examination of the ability of people to enter. “If they have a history of charges when they apply for a visa or immigration, they should not be considered or even receive preferential treatment,” he said.
The law, 27, does not hold BNO status but came to the United Kingdom on a regular visa to seek refuge from the repression in China. He said he had discussed his exile with other activists and that he would use his current base in London for political advocacy work.
He also suggested that background checks be carried out to prevent any police or other official involved in human rights abuses against demonstrators from accessing Britain as BNO. “People who have committed human rights violations should not be allowed,” he said.
“I’m not doing this for myself. I’m penniless. I do this for people who have suffered more than I have. We have a sense of obligation and responsibility towards this community. ”
He said he did not know how long he would stay in the UK.
The law provided that pro-democracy candidates would be disqualified from running in the legislative elections scheduled for September, but if they were not, they would get “a radical victory”.
Speaking to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, Law said that there had been an irreversible structural change in the American vision of China. “It will not be changed by a new president or an election result. It’s a very rare bipartisan problem in the United States, ”he said.
He urged the West to define certain parameters in its relations with China, holding the country responsible for its human rights record. “We cannot allow human rights violations just because we want to trade with China. We need a united front. If they refuse to do so, we need countermeasures. “