Australia to offer residency to 10,000 Hong Kongers

Updated: Jul 13, 2020, 08:13 IST | Agencies | Sydney

The security alert comes a day after China said it will impose reciprocal measures in response to US sanctions on Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslims

People form long queues in the summer heat to vote during primary elections in Hong Kong on Sunday. Pic/AFP
People form long queues in the summer heat to vote during primary elections in Hong Kong on Sunday. Pic/AFP

Prime Minister Scott Morrison's government says it will offer around 10,000 Hong Kong passport holders currently living in Australia a chance to apply for permanent residence once their current visas expire. It believes China's new national security law means pro-democracy supporters may face political persecution.

"That means that many Hong Kong passport holders may be looking for other destinations to go to and hence why we have put forward our additional visa options for them," Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said on Sunday. In order to obtain permanent residency, applicants would still have to pass "the character test, the national security test and the like," Tudge said. "If people are genuinely persecuted and they can prove that, then they can apply for one of our humanitarian visas."

Meanwhile, the US on Saturday warned American citizens to exercise increased caution in China due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws including detention and the use of exit bans. The security alert comes a day after China said it will impose reciprocal measures in response to US sanctions on Chinese officials over alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslims.

Nearly 6 lakh vote in pro-democracy primaries in HK

Lakhs of Hong Kong residents turned up over the weekend to vote in an unofficial primary election held by the city's pro-democracy camp as it gears up to field candidates for an upcoming legislative poll.

People lined up at polling booths in the summer heat despite a warning last week by Hong Kong's constitutional affairs minister, Eric Tsang, that the primaries could be in breach of the new national security law because it outlaws interference and disruption of duties by the local government. "Despite the threat of the national security law, there are still nearly 6,00,000 people coming out to vote, " said Au Nok-hin, one of the organisers of the primaries. "We can see Hong Kongers are really brave." Organisers had estimated of a turnout of 1,70,000.

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