Chinese envoy to UK: Stop damaging relations
BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) - Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said at a news conference on Wednesday that China had repeatedly made strong representations to the UK on the issue, urging it to resist the temptation to meddle in China’s internal affairs and calling on London to show respect.
China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom urged Britain to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and to refrain from further damaging the relations between the nations, while calling for the UK to seriously reflect on its recent remarks and actions on Hong Kong.
Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said at a news conference on Wednesday that China had repeatedly made strong representations to the UK on the issue, urging it to resist the temptation to meddle in China’s internal affairs and calling on London to show respect.
He met with Simon McDonald, Britain’s permanent undersecretary at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, after the news conference in China’s London embassy. Liu told McDonald that Hong Kong is no longer under British colonial rule and that it is a special administrative region that is part of China.
“It has to be pointed out that, on this very important issue of principle, the UK government chose to stand on the wrong side. It has made inappropriate remarks not only to interfere in the internal affairs of Hong Kong but also to back up the violent lawbreakers,” the ambassador said.
This week marks the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland and the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR. However, on a day intended for celebration of that, a group of protesters stormed the Hong Kong Legislative Council complex, causing extensive damage by vandalizing the legislative chambers and destroying equipment.
Liu said the violent behavior of radicals broke the rule of law in Hong Kong, undermined social order, compromised the fundamental interests of Hong Kong and challenged the bottom line of the “one country, two systems” principle.
But China trusts that the Hong Kong SAR government will bring the lawbreakers to justice, and Beijing will support the SAR government in restoring public order and maintaining the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, as China has been doing since the return of Hong Kong in 1997.
“We urge the British side to seriously reflect on the consequences of its words and deeds and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs in whatever forms,” Liu said, while adding that Hong Kong’s affairs are purely China’s internal affairs and need no interference from any country, organization or individual.
He said he hopes Hong Kong will continue to be a positive factor in the two nations’ relationship.
The ambassador also criticized remarks made by the UK’s foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who spoke in the media and commented on social media on the issue. Hunt referred to the Joint Declaration, which was signed in 1984 and which completed its mission as a transitional document during the handover of Hong Kong in 1997.
“It’s totally wrong for Jeremy Hunt to talk about freedom,” Liu said. “This is not a matter about freedom. It’s a matter about breaking laws in Hong Kong. We all remember what Hong Kong was 22 years ago, under British rule. There was no freedom or democracy.”
Liu said the Joint Declaration that was signed by the Chinese government was a promise to the world. China’s commitment to the “one country, two systems” principle is unwavering, he said, and Hong Kong’s basic system will remain unchanged for 50 years after 1997. But the declaration itself has “completed its mission”, he said, and was spent when Britain returned Hong Kong to China and China resumed its sovereignty. He said Britain now has “no right to claims” based on the document.
“We certainly hope that whoever will be the next British prime minister will follow what is agreed by the two governments with regard to the relationship, the fundamentals of the relationship, between China and the UK. We should respect sovereignty, territory, integrity, noninterference in the internal affairs of each other,” the ambassador said.
In interviews with British media, Liu has said he was disappointed by some reports by Western media, saying some of them were “severely prejudiced”.
Liu said around 800,000 people had signed an online petition to support a proposed amendment to legislation in Hong Kong that the demonstrators opposed. He said the opinion of the 800,000 was ignored in many media reports, as was the Hong Kong government’s receipt of more than 3,000 letters in support of the amendment.
“But of this we cannot get a single glimpse in any media here,” he said. “So, it’s very unbalanced, it’s not convincing. I do hope that British media do justice to British readers and present a balanced picture.
“If you take a deep breath, reflect on what would be the consequences if those lawbreakers have their way. Hong Kong would be plunged into a lawless society. Will it serve the interests of the region? Will it serve the interests of stability, prosperity? Will that serve the interests of 300,000 (British) citizens in Hong Kong? The answer is definitely no.”