The SNP’s Armed Forces and Veterans Spokesperson has called on the Home Secretary to recognise British-Chinese service personnel who have been “abandoned by successive UK governments.”
Carol Monaghan MP has written to Sajid Javid, urging that full British citizenship be granted to Hong Kong veterans who served in the UK Armed Forces until 1997.
A former British territory, military personnel in Hong Kong served in the UK Armed Forces until sovereignty was returned to China 21 years ago.
Under the British Nationality Selection Scheme launched in 1990, 50,000 Hong Kong families were given the opportunity to obtain full British citizenship. Of these, 500 were offered to military personnel, of which only 250 have been granted.
An estimated 1,600 members of the former Hong Kong Military Service Corps and the Hong Kong Royal Naval Service are said to have missed out.
An appeal in 2015 was rejected by the UK government, because affected personnel were predominantly based in Hong Kong. Monaghan has pointed out that, as members of the UK Armed Forces, these personnel could have been posted anywhere they were required.
The Campaign for Abandoned British-Chinese Soldiers Left in Hong Kong is campaigning on behalf of these veterans and their families, who were not provided with a free choice on transferring their nationality from British-Hong Kong to Hong Kong-Chinese.
Commenting, Carol Monaghan MP, the SNP’s Westminster Spokesperson for Armed Forces and Veterans, said:
“British-Chinese veterans in Hong Kong have been abandoned by successive UK Governments, and I have called on the Home Secretary to recognise the contribution and sacrifices they have made and offer them full British citizenship.
“These veterans served to defend what was then a British territory, and to ignore their campaign because they were predominantly based in Hong Kong is both arbitrary and disrespectful.
“As members of the UK Armed Forces, they signed up to serve and, through that commitment, could have been posted anywhere in the world.
“The British-Chinese soldiers deserve the respect of the nation they helped to defend, and their contribution and sacrifices cannot be forgotten.”
The full text of Carol Monaghan MP’s letter to the Home Secretary can be found below:
I have recently been made aware of the Abandoned British-Chinese Soldiers Left Behind in Hong Kong campaign following correspondence from one of its members. It is with deep disappointment I have read of the experience he and other Hong Kong personnel, who served in the UK’s Armed Forces, have endured in trying to secure full UK citizenship.
I understand that this situation only affects around 1,600 veterans, former members of the Hong Kong Military Service Corps and the Hong Kong Royal Naval Service. An appeal to the UK Government was declined in 2015. The reasons for this included that these personnel were predominantly based in Hong Kong. However, as members of the UK Armed Forces they signed up to serve and through that commitment could have been posted anywhere they were required.
These service personnel were not provided with a free choice on transferring their nationality from British-Hong Kong to Hong Kong-Chinese and I believe this was an unjust decision on the part of the UK Government.
It is only right that their service and indeed duty to the Crown should be recognised with full British Citizenship. I ask that consideration is given by you on this matter and that this error be rectified.
I look forward to your response.
Carol Monaghan MP