The Australian 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.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government believes China’s imposition of new national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory means pro-democracy supporters there might 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,” Australian Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said yesterday, adding that to obtain permanent residency, applicants would still have to pass “the character test, the national security test and the like.”
“So it’s not automatic, but it’s certainly an easier pathway to permanent residency, and of course, once you’re a permanent resident, there’s then a pathway to citizenship there. If people are genuinely persecuted, and they can prove that case, then they can apply for one of our humanitarian visas in any case,” Tudge said.
Morrison last week announced that Australia suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and extended visas for Hong Kong residents from two to five years. The move came after China bypassed Hong Kong’s Legislative Council to impose the sweeping security legislation without public consultation.
Critics view it as a further deterioration of freedoms promised to the former British colony, in response to last year’s massive protests calling for greater democracy and more police accountability. The national security legislation prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities, or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs.
Under the new legislation, police have sweeping powers to conduct searches without warrants, and order internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be in violation of the legislation.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it reserved the right to “take further actions” in response to moves by the Australian government.
“The consequences will be fully borne by Australia,” Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅 ) told reporters at a daily press briefing in Beijing on Thursday last week.
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable