U.K. Opens Path To Citizenship For Some Hong Kong Residents

The United Kingdom said it's going to offer citizenship to certain Hong Kong residents because of China's new national security law.

U.K. Opens Path To Citizenship For Some Hong Kong Residents
Matt Dunham / AP

The United Kingdom said it's going to fulfill its promise to offer citizenship to eligible Hong Kong residents in response to a new Chinese law. 

British Overseas National passport holders and their dependents will be able to stay in the U.K. for five years and later apply for settled status. Then, after another year with settled status, they'll be able to apply for citizenship. 

China imposed a new national security law on Tuesday that critics say strips Hong Kong of its autonomy. The law gives local and mainland authorities the power to prosecute political dissenters. 

"We stand for rules and obligations, and we think that is the soundest basis for our international relations, and the enactment and imposition of this national security law constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration," U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. "It violates Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and is in direct conflict with Hong Kong basic law. The laws also threatens the freedoms and rights protected by the joint declaration."

On Wednesday, hundreds protested against the new law on the 23rd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China. According to the Hong Kong Police Force, authorities arrested "around 370" people and seven officers were injured.

Contains footage from CNN.