China warns UK of consequences for its stand on Hong Kong

London, July 21 (efe-epa).- The Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom warned on Tuesday that Britain will have to face the consequences of going “further down the wrong road” after the UK government suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in protest against a new security law for the ex-British colony that gives Beijing more power.

“The UK has blatantly interfered in China’s internal affairs and contravened international law and the basic norms governing international relations,” Liu Xiaoming wrote on Twitter.

His remarks came a day after a statement by the UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab in parliament, confirming the suspension of Hong Kong’s extradition treaty following Beijing’s new national security law for the semi-autonomous city.

“China has never interfered in the UK’s internal relations. The UK should do the same to China. Otherwise, it must bear the consequences,” Liu added.

In addition to announcing the suspension of the extradition treaty with Hong Kong, Raab also announced the extension to the former colony of the arms embargo it already applies to mainland China.

In a statement posted on its website, the Chinese embassy in the UK said: “China urges the UK side to immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s internal affairs, in any form.”

“The UK will bear the consequences if it insists on going down the wrong road,” it added.

Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered three million Hong Kong citizens the chance to settle in the UK and ultimately apply for citizenship.

That move came after Beijing introduced new, contentious security legislation for Hong Kong, rejected by the UK, who said it compromised with an independent judiciary.

The new national security law in Hong Kong was implemented after a year of mass protests in the city, which were triggered by a since-shelved extradition bill that critics said would have allowed China to target dissidents and bring them to the mainland for trial.

The UK government has accused China of breaching Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the territory’s de facto constitution, by implementing the security law without going through local legislative channels.

Police arrested hundreds amid anti-government protests earlier this month, marking the 17th anniversary of the British handover of Hong Kong, an occasion that was banned by officials for the first time in its history.

At least 10 people were detained on suspicion of breaking the national security law.

London and Beijing have indulged in a bitter war of words, with both sides accusing the other of breaching the 1984 agreement underpinning the 1997 handover of the territory.

The British government has also banned the Chinese giant Huawei from its 5G network, citing security issues, and under pressure from Washington. This has also contributed to the escalation of diplomatic tensions. EFE-EPA


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