China has warned the UK not to interfere with Hong Kong following the imposition by Beijing of a sweeping new national security law, BBC reported.
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said the UK’s offer of a path to citizenship for up to three million Hong Kongers amounted to “gross interference”.
“The UK government keeps making irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong affairs,” he told a virtual news conference.
The ambassador said a decision on exactly how Beijing intended to respond would be made once it knew the details.
Mr Liu also warned the UK that if it decided against using Chinese tech giant Huawei’s technology to build its 5G network, this would send a “very bad message to other Chinese businesses”.
The UK has argued that China has reneged on an agreement that took effect in 1997, which offered certain freedoms to Hong Kong for 50 years in return for handing the territory back to Beijing.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab insisted the plan to allow millions of British Nationals (Overseas) to come to the UK did not represent interference in China’s domestic affairs.
“We want a positive relationship with China… but the real issue here is one of trust, and whether China can be trusted to live up to its international obligations and its international responsibilities,” he said.
“That’s the message that we are telegraphing along with many of our allies, and indeed many international partners around the world.”
Stay out of HK
The US has no right to intervene in Hong Kong’s internal affairs, the city government said in an online statement, after the American Senate unanimously passed a punitive sanctions bill in reaction to the controversial new National Security Law imposed by China.
“Once again, we urge the US Congress to immediately stop interfering in HKSAR’s internal matters,” the South China Morning Post quoted the statement, by an unidentified spokesman, as saying on the Hong Kong government’s website.
“The act and the so-called sanctions are totally unacceptable. They will not deter us but will only harm the relations and common interests between Hong Kong and the US,” the statement said.
“The implementation of the one country, two systems principle in the HKSAR is entirely the internal affairs of the PRC (People’s Republic of China).”
The Hong Kong Autonomy Act passed the US House of Representatives without objection on Wednesday, and was approved by the Senate unanimously the following day.
It now awaits President Donald Trump’s decision to enact it into law or veto it, though a veto would likely be overturned by a broad bipartisan majority in the Congress.
The legislation would require the US government to punish individuals, along with financial institutions that knowingly conduct business with them, for “materially contributing” to any failure by the Chinese government to live up to its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration or Hong Kong Basic Law.
The national security law, which Beijing put into effect and made public late on Tuesday night, on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese rule, criminalises a wide range of behaviour and acts under four categories of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with a foreign power.
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