The British government has updated its travel advice to warn its citizens that Hong Kong does not recognise dual nationality.

“The British Consulate-General has been informed that Hong Kong, like other parts of China, does not recognise dual nationality,” an update to the foreign travel advice for the city said on Monday. “If you have both British and Chinese nationality you may be treated as a Chinese citizen by local authorities, even if you enter Hong Kong on your British passport.”

A protester showed her British passport. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

The consulate may not be able to offer dual nationals assistance, the advisory added.

It comes days after Hong Kong and China said it would no longer recognise British National (Overseas) passports after London extended visa rights to Hongkongers. “From Jan 31, China will no longer recognise the so-called BNO passport as a travel document and ID document, and reserves the right to take further actions,” China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters at the time.

Also last month, Canadian media reported that one of its dual citizens who was jailed in Hong Kong was told to choose which nationality he was. Canada, Britain and the US expressed alarm over the move.

Dual nationality is not legally recognised in Hong Kong under Chinese law, but the rules have never been enforced, diplomats said. Hong Kong is home to 300,000 Canadian, 100,000 Australian and 85,000 American passport holders – many of them dual nationals.

On Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam told reporters that the law would now be enforced.

Tom is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications & New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Quartz, Global Post and others.