China warned Britain on Wednesday that interfering in Hong Kong will backfire, after the former colonial power vowed to give sanctuary to locals who may flee the city if a controversial security law is passed.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said in a column that he would offer millions of Hong Kongers visas and a possible route to UK citizenship if China persists with the law.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said, “We advise the UK to step back from the brink, abandon their Cold War mentality and colonial mindset, and recognise and respect the fact that Hong Kong has returned” to China.
Zhao said London must “immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs and China’s internal affairs, or this will definitely backfire.”
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Wednesday accused foreign critics of displaying “blatant double standards” over moves by Beijing to strengthen control over the city.
Following talks with officials in Beijing, Lam said China has the same right as the US and UK to enact legislation protecting its national security and that foreign criticism and threats of sanctions could not be justified. She said China was compelled to take the step at the national level because of the opposition in Hong Kong legislature.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson from the EU said Hong Kong people must be free to mark the Tiananmen Square crackdown anniversary, which police had banned.