China has accused Britain of gross interference in its affairs since Beijing introduced new national security legislation in Hong Kong.
Liu Xiaming, China’s ambassador to the UK, has claimed the government “keeps making irresponsible remarks” about the former British colony, saying it had made unwarranted accusations about the security law.
The legislation punishes crimes of secession, subversion, terorrism and collusion with foreign forces.
Last week a man carrying a sign reading “Liberate Hong Kong” became the first person charged with inciting separatism and terrorism under the new law.
Britain has said that the law was a “clear and serious” violation of the 1984 joint declaration. Boris Johnson last week offered Hong Kong residents the chance to settle in the UK and apply for citizenship.
About 350,000 UK passport holders, and 2.6m others who are eligible, will be able to come to the UK for five years. Ambassador Xiaoming responded to this offer: “This move constitutes gross interference in China’s internal affairs.”
The Prime Minister is also toughening his stance on his decision to allow China’s Huawei involved in the development of British 5G infrastructure.
He has come under pressure from some MPs and the US to ban Huawei on security grounds. However China’s ambassador said there would be consequences if the UK treated China with suspicion in making the decision.
“We want to be your friend. We want to be your partner. But if you want to make China a hostile country, you will have to bear the consequences,” he said.