Nearly half of British adults support the Government's proposal to welcome Hong Kongers, a poll has revealed.
The Savanta ComRes survey found just one in four oppose the proposal to offer Hong Kongers that hold British National Overseas (BNO) Passports and their dependents a bespoke five-year visa, with the pathway to later apply for full UK citizenship.
Over two in five Brits (42 per cent) expressed support for Boris Johnson having made this offer, with just one in four (25 per cent) expressing any opposition.
Support is higher among those who say they are familiar with recent events in Hong Kong, with half (50 per cent) expressing outright support.
Not since 1997 and the handover of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China has the UK ever been involved in such a heated clash over the territory’s future.
Beijing’s introduction of the new National Security Law last week has drawn widespread condemnation and criticism as an affront to Hong Kong’s special ‘one country, two systems’ status.
While the UK has vowed to make good on its promise of a five-year residency to BNO-status Hong Kongers, with an eye to gaining full citizenship, the public are not averse to the Government going further.
Simon Cereda of Savanta ComRes said: “The Covid pandemic has prompted many parliamentarians and other experts to ramp up their questioning regarding the UK’s relationship with China, from our reliance n the Huawei network to our implicit tolerance of the treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The British public seemingly reflect this shift in narrative, with a strong and overwhelming desire for a more distant relationship with China across a range of issues.”
The poll, which interviewed 2,062 UK adults aged over 18 online between July 3 and 5, found over two in five Brits (44 per cent) desire a more distant relationship with China. It comes as Mr Johnson is reported to be reevaluating the decision to incorporate Huawei as a central partner in our 5G national infrastructure.