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China accuses British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt of 'colonial fantasy' over Hong Kong

China accuses British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt of 'colonial fantasy' over Hong Kong

A protester waves the British Union Jack flag in the parliament chamber after they broke into the government headquarters in Hong Kong on Jul 1, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Philip Fong)

BEIJING: China on Wednesday (Jul 3) said it lodged an official protest with London after British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned Beijing of "serious consequences" if it breaches the Hong Kong handover agreement.

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

READ: What the world said about the Hong Kong protests

READ: China tells Britain to stop 'gesticulating' about Hong Kong

It is the second day in a row that China has slammed Mr Hunt for remarks he has made regarding 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.

In an interview on Tuesday, Mr Hunt said the Joint Declaration, signed in 1984, was a "legally binding document which has force for 50 years".

"Hong Kong is part of China and we have to accept that. But the freedoms in Hong Kong are enshrined in a joint declaration" signed with former colonial ruler Britain, Hunt said.

"We expect that legally binding agreement to be honoured and if it isn't, there will be serious consequences."

The British prime ministerial candidate on Monday tweeted "to stress UK support for Hong Kong and its freedoms".

"No violence is acceptable but Hong Kong people must preserve right to peaceful protest exercised within the law, as hundreds of thousands of brave people showed today (Monday)," he added.

Protesters seized the Legislative Council building late Monday night, daubing its walls with anti-government graffiti and fixing a British colonial-era flag in the main podium.

There have been violent demonstrations over the last month against a controversial extradition Bill, with millions taking to the streets of Hong Kong.

Source: AFP/cna/zl

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