After a rare press conference in which he claimed that the British foreign secretary was backing law-breakers in Hong Kong. China’s ambassador to London has been summoned to the Foreign Office accused of making unacceptable criticisms of the UK
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Relations between the UK and China cooled sharply after Jeremy Hunt called on Beijing not to use the protests in Hong Kong as a “pretext for repression”.
Liu Xiaoming said on Wednesday that Hunt’s remarks represented gross and unacceptable interference, a claim that was dismissed by the Foreign Office as unacceptable and inaccurate.
The past month has seen the worst political unrest in Hong Kong for decades, amid protests against a proposed law allowing for the extradition of individuals to mainland China, where courts are controlled by the Communist party.
Earlier this week, protesters stormed the legislative council building and raised the old British colonial flag on the 22nd anniversary of the territory’s return to Chinese rule on 1 July.
In a bid to underline British displeasure at the ambassador’s remarks, the permanent under-secretary at the Foreign Office, Sir Simon McDonald, summoned the ambassador for a dressing down.
The sudden collapse in Sino-British relations-relative to the golden era hailed by David Cameron in 2013 -represents a personal test for Hunt as he makes his bid for the premiership, but it is also likely to have consequences for Hong Kong’s future relations with Chinese government.
Source: The Guardian