China has warned the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada to stay out of its affairs after the countries accused Beijing of silencing critics in Hong Kong.
The Five Eyes alliance slammed China’s introduction of new rules that allows it to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong.
The countries yesterday called on Beijing to reverse course, saying it appeared to be part of a campaign to silence critics in Hong Kong.
In response, Chinese foreign minister Zhao Lijian said: “They should be careful or their eyes will be plucked out.”
According to the BBC he told journalists in Beijing that “the Chinese never make trouble and are never afraid of anything”.
He said it does not matter if the alliance had “five or 10 eyes”.
“We urge the Chinese central authorities to re-consider their actions against Hong Kong’s elected legislature and immediately reinstate the Legislative Council members,” foreign ministers from Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States said in a statement yesterday.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong said earlier any attempt by foreign states to threaten or pressure Beijing to make concessions was “doomed to fail”.
Hong Kong expelled four opposition members from its legislature last week after Beijing gave city authorities new powers to curb dissent.
The move triggered mass resignations by Hong Kong’s pro-democracy opposition lawmakers.
It also raised further alarm in the West about the level of Hong Kong’s autonomy, promised under a “one country, two systems” formula when Britain ended its colonial rule and handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997.