By Gaurav Sharma
Beijing, July 3 (IANS) China on Wednesday blasted Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt for making “shameless” remarks after he warned Beijing of serious consequences if it failed to honour the pact under which Hong Kong was returned to it in 1997.
Beijing also said it has formally complained to the UK over Hunt’s statement.
Mass protests over Beijing-proposed legislation, which would allow individuals to be extradited from Hong Kong to China, have not died down and added to the worries of China despite it shelving the bill.
The US and the UK have expressed concerns about China tightening its grip on the former British colony where people enjoy the right to protest and the judiciary is independent unlike on the mainland.
Hunt said on Tuesday that China must “honour” the commitments mentioned in the Sino-British agreement signed when Hong Kong was returned to Beijing as an autonomous region.
“And if it isn’t there will be serious consequences,” Hunt said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry launched a scathing attack on Hunt when asked about his comments.
“I have responded to Mr Hunt’s false statements about Hong Kong for two consecutive days and expressed China’s strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition,” Ministry’s spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press conference.
“However, he seems to be still immersed in the illusion of the former British colonialists. He does not think about repentance and continues to talk about it. I will say a few more words today… To say the so-called freedom of Hong Kong residents is what the British side is fighting for is simply shameless.
“We have made solemn representations to the British side in London and Beijing. I hope that the British side will seriously treat China’s solemn stance and stop making similar false remarks and refrain from grossly interfering in China’s internal affairs.”
On July 1, when Hong Kong marked the 22nd anniversary of the return of the city to China, scores of protesters stormed the legislature and ransacked the building.
Slamming the protesters, Beijing had said that the “violent incident at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) on July 1 was a serious illegal act that trampled on the rule of law and endangered social order”.
Geng said that Hunt “ignored the facts and actually said that the SAR government was repressing”.
“I want to ask Mr. Hunt if the British Parliament is besieged, invaded and destroyed, will the British government let it go and sit still? If, as Mr Hunt said, this is a democracy, does he think that the police who strictly guard the British Parliament should be withdrawn? Geng asked.