China warns Britain interfering in Hong Kong will 'backfire'

Andrew Cummings
June 3, 2020

Anti-government protesters march in Hong Kong, May 24, 2020.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Beijing had lodged "serious representations" with London over Raab's remarks, which "grossly interfered" in Hong Kong's affairs.

"The ball is in the court of the government in China, it has a choice to make here", British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told parliament.

The not the only country willing to take measures to welcome people who may leave Hong Kong.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam accused foreign governments on Tuesday of "double standards" in their reaction to Beijing's plans.

American companies are nervous about a contentious national security law planned for Hong Kong and feel pessimistic about the city's medium term future, according to a new survey.

The plan for the legislation follows months of often violent pro-democracy protests in a year ago that plunged Hong Kong into its biggest crisis since the handover.

As The Globe and Mail first reported in May, almost 50 Hong Kong residents, a lot of them activists who took part in the pro-democracy protests, have already applied for refugee status in Canada.

Even before China announced its plan for the security law, there was a surge in renewals of British National Overseas Passports by Hong Kong residents, while immigration consultants have reported a rush of inquiries from people looking to move overseas. "If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead, we will honour our obligations and provide an alternative", Johnson said.

China lodged stern representations with the United Kingdom on Wednesday over its foreign secretary's remarks on Hong Kong, saying Britain has no jurisdiction or supervision over the Chinese city.

"I can only say that the worldwide community and some of the foreign governments have been adopting blatant double standards in dealing with this matter and commenting on this matter", Lam said.

"It is within the legitimate jurisdiction of any country to enact laws to protect and safeguard national security". "We advise the United Kingdom side to step back from the brink". But colonial Hong Kong enjoyed political liberalism - with freedom of expression, the rule of law and an impartial justice system.

The standing committee of China's National People's Congress could enact the law later this month or at the end of August, analysts have said.

When Ming Wong saw that Britain was prepared to offer extended visa rights and a "path to citizenship" for British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders in Hong Kong, she seized the moment and re-applied for her lost passport.

"I hope it will not come to this", he wrote, concerning the offering of visas, and insisted, "Britain does not seek to prevent China's rise".

Around 350,000 people in Hong Kong now already have a BNO passport, but 2.6 million others are also eligible.

BNO passport holders now can stay for only up to six months.

"Since the handover in 1997, the key has been the precious concept of "one country, two systems", enshrined in Hong Kong's Basic Law and underpinned by the Joint Declaration signed by Britain and China", Johnson wrote.

The security legislation also met with stinging criticism from the United States.

The countries, which are part of the "Five Eyes" security alliance, are building up a "groundswell of worldwide support" for action on Hong Kong.

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