Wednesday, 8 December 2021

China accuses British FM of colonial fantasy over Hong Kong


BEIJING: China on Wednesday said it lodged an official protest with London over remarks by British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt about Hong Kong, accusing him of “fantasizing in the faded glory of British colonialism”.

It is the second day in a row Beijing has hit back at Hunt for remarks he made about the unprecedented anti-Beijing protests that have rocked the former British colony.

Under the terms of the 1997 handover deal from British to Chinese rule, Hong Kong enjoys rights and liberties unseen on the mainland.

But protesters accuse Beijing of reneging on that deal with the help of unelected leaders.

While recognizing that Hong Kong is part of China, Hunt on Tuesday warned of “serious consequences” if Beijing breaches the “legally binding agreement”.

The comment infuriated Beijing, which had already scolded Hunt for a “gross interference” when he voiced support for the protesters.

“He seems to be fantasizing in the faded glory of British colonialism and in the bad habit of gesticulating while looking down on other countries’ affairs,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular briefing.

“I need to re-emphasise that Hong Kong has now returned to its motherland,” Geng said.

“The rights and obligations related to the British side under the declaration have all been fully implemented.”

He said China had made “stern representations” with Britain — the term for an official protest.

“The UK at every turn considers itself as a guardian which is nothing but a delusion,” Geng said.

“I want to ask Mr Hunt… during the British colonial period was there any democracy to speak of in Hong Kong?” he added.

The demonstrations erupted last month against legislation that would allow extraditions to the mainland.

The protests rose to a new level on Monday when demonstrators stormed the city’s legislature, left anti-Beijing messages on the walls such as “Hong Kong is not China”, and hung the colonial-era flag.

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