China warned Britain on Wednesday that its interferences in Hong Kong’s affairs will “definitely backfire” after London criticised plans for a national security law in the former colony.
“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, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular briefing.
Zhao said London must “immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs and China’s internal affairs, or this will definitely backfire.”
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Tuesday that Beijing still has time to “reconsider” the proposal, which China plans to enact in response to pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous city.
Raab also told the British parliament he has spoken to “Five Eyes” Western intelligence allies about potentially opening their doors to Hong Kongers if Beijing’s plans spark an exodus.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would offer millions of Hong Kongers visas and a possible route to UK citizenship if China persists with its national security law.
Opponents fear the legislation will lead to political oppression in the financial hub, eroding freedoms and autonomy supposedly guaranteed in Britain’s 1997 handover of the colony back to China.