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Hong Kong

Volume 163: debated on Monday 4 December 1989

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to afford citizenship rights in the United Kingdom to the Indian population now resident in Hong Kong.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs is considering with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary a package of measures to maintain confidence in Hong Kong and hopes to make an announcement around the turn of the year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any steps have been taken to enable the Indian population now living in Hong Kong to become Chinese citizens after 1997.

Chinese nationality is a matter for the Chinese Government. However it is our understanding that under Chinese nationality law aliens lawfully resident in China are eligible to apply for Chinese nationality. Those members of the Indian population who have resided in Hong Kong for at least seven years and who have taken Hong Kong as their place of permanent residence will continue to enjoy permanent resident status in the Hong Kong special administrative region after 1997, in line with the Sino-British joint declaration on the question of Hong Kong of 1984.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will test the acceptability of the basic law in Hong Kong by a referendum of all citizens.

The Basic Law will be a Chinese law to be promulgated by the National People's Congress. It is being drafted by the Chinese authorities in consultation with Hong Kong people. A referendum would be neither appropriate nor useful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many orphans there are at present in the camps in Hong Kong; how they are to be repatriated, and what measures he will take to ensure a satisfactory result.

We are seeking information from Hong Kong. I shall reply to the hon. Member as soon as possible.