Written by Reuters
04 Jul, 2019 | 11:59 am
Reuters – China told Britain to keep its hands off Hong Kong on Wednesday (July 3) while London called for Beijing to honour the agreements made when the city was handed over in 1997, escalating a diplomatic spat over the former British colony.
Beijing denounced British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt as “shameless” and said it had made a diplomatic complaint to London after he on Tuesday (July 2) warned of consequences if China neglected its commitments to guarantee basic freedoms.
China‘s ambassador to London, Liu Xiaoming, told reporters in London that some regard Hong Kong as “still under British rule” and criticised the British government for interfering in Chinese matters.
The growing war of words between China and Britain follows mass protests in Hong Kong against a now-suspended bill that would allow extradition to mainland China.
Hundreds of protesters in the former British colony besieged and broke into the legislature on Monday (July 1) after a demonstration marking the anniversary of return to Chinese rule.
China called the violence an “undisguised challenge” to the “one country, two systems” model under which Hong Kong has been ruled for 22 years.
On Wednesday, Hunt said on Twitter good relations between the two countries were based on honouring agreements, a reference to the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration which saw the return of Hong Kong to China in exchange for half a century of freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland, including the right to protest.
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