Hong Kong Protests: Chinese Ambassador’s Comments Worsen UK-China Relations
The tremendous Hong Kong protests that shook the entire territory, seems to have affected the UK-China relations as well. The diplomatic ties between both the countries severed after London called off the comments made by Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming over UK’s role in massive turmoil in Hong Kong as “unacceptable and inaccurate” and summoned him on Wednesday.
As the history recalls, Britain has played a major role in shaping Hong Kong’s future. This is because Britain handed over the territory to China under an international bilateral treaty called Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984, with which China is bound to guarantee Hong Kong’s economic and political systems for 50 years after the transfer, following “one country, two systems” rule.
Thus, as per the treaty, China could not take away the basic freedom rights of the Hong Kongers and this is what the citizens have been fighting for – their democratic rights.
The situation became worse when UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Tuesday expressed his support for the Hong Kong protestors and said that London would stand by the city for preserving its democratic rights, which the protestors fear would otherwise be lost under the Hong Kong extradition bill.
Beijing saw Hunt’s uninvited comments as the UK’s interference in their country’s political and diplomatic matters. The Chinese ambassador to the UK warned the country for its approach in trying to resolve the Hong Kong protests, which was being manipulated as the UK’s sheer meddling in China’s internal affairs.
“The fundamental principles guiding our two countries is mutual respect, non-interference into internal affairs,” Liu said.
Not only did the Hong Kong protests damage the UK-China relations, but also caused a rift among the leaders. Sir Simon McDonald, head of the UK’s diplomatic service, called to bawl out at the Chinese Ambassador over his warnings. The extradition bill has resulted in political disagreements between both the countries.
Being in continuation for more than a month now, Monday’s protests involved student protestors who gathered in the city and stormed inside the city’s legislature. They occupied the whole place and damaged the building and its contents by writing slogans on the building’s wall. The police used every possible way to drive them out.
Recalling the treaty, Jeremy Hunt on Tuesday said, “There will be serious consequences if that internationally binding legal agreement were not to be honoured”. He added, “we stand four square behind that agreement, four square behind the people of Hong Kong”.
Due to his comments, Hunt has invited criticisms from various Chinese officials. On Wednesday, HK Foreign Ministry representative Geng Shuang also accused Hunt saying he has the “bad habit of criticizing and lecturing on other countries’ affairs condescendingly”.
Xiaoming’s comments also added up to the worsening situations and thereby, the Chinese ambassador has been summoned to meet with the UK Foreign Ministry to avoid any further conflicts created amid the deteriorating situations due to the colossal Hong Kong protests.
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