London offers Hong Kongers UK residency
The British government on Wednesday offered three million Hong Kong citizens the right to settle in the UK, with the option to obtain citizenship later on. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had threatened to take this step a month ago if China went ahead and introduced its new security law. Commentators doubt that the UK is doing itself any favours.
Alienating China could be costly
Cathrin Kahlweit, London correspondent for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, wonders how far Britain is ready to go in this conflict:
“The price of a British reaction that is more than symbolism or rhetoric could be high if it leads to a trade war. ... But in the face of an impending, severe recession and the repercussions of the Brexit, is Britain also ready to forego billions in Chinese direct investment, important technology imports and access to the huge Chinese market? ... Britain needs China economically. Its universities are partially financed by Chinese students. The big test of whether London can risk more than strong words is yet to come.”
Immigration requires public investment
Britain's ramshackle infrastructure means it couldn't cope with mass immigration from Hong Kong, warns The Sun:
“Probably only a small fraction of the 2.9 million eligible to come here will do so. ... Even so, it is vital the Government does not forget the public's key objection to the vast increases in our population over the past 20 years: that housing, transport, healthcare and so on were never scaled up to cope. Boris Johnson's new mantra is 'build, build, build'. And he will need to do so rapidly to accommodate an influx from Hong Kong, aside from all the other motives.”