Scotland should welcome as many Hong Kong residents as possible after they were granted the right to move to the UK, the Scottish Conservatives have said.
Leader of the Scottish Conservatives Jackson Carlaw said the Government should appeal to people fleeing from Hong Kong to make Scotland their home.
It follows the UK Government announcing it was offering citizens in Hong Kong the right to settle in the UK and ultimately apply for citizenship after it accused China of a “clear and serious breach” of a key treaty with Britain.
Mr Carlaw said the Scottish Government should work on measures for “making Scotland attractive”, arguing it would give the country an economic “boost”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday Beijing had violated the former British colony’s degree of autonomy by imposing a much-criticised national security law on the territory that is a breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The security law in Hong Kong makes activities deemed subversive or secessionist punishable by imprisonment, and is seen as targeting anti-government demonstrators.
In response, Mr Johnson announced a new route for people in Hong Kong with British National (Overseas) (BNO) status to apply for visas to live and work in the UK immediately, without a salary threshold, and apply for citizenship.
Mr Carlaw accused the Scottish Government of being “unusually quiet” on the issue of Hong Kong and China, adding: “The SNP isn’t usually slow to comment on issues where people living under the threat of oppressive laws need to seek sanctuary elsewhere.”
Mr Carlaw said: “It was absolutely the right thing for the UK Government to make this offer to the Hong Kong people.
“That sentiment now has to be matched by the Scottish Government.
“Making Scotland attractive for these Hong Kong residents would not only help them, but could boost our economy too at a time when Scotland unquestionably needs it.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government has made clear the Chinese government’s decision to implement the national security law is of deep concern and will irreversibly diminish the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong’s people.
“We have indicated our support for the UK Government’s commitment to provide a bespoke pathway to citizenship for British National Overseas passport holders and their dependants.
“Scotland is open to people from all over the world and those who decide to come to Scotland from Hong Kong and elsewhere will be welcomed for the positive contribution they bring to our communities, economy and society.”