Beijing accuses UK of ‘gross interference’ over Hong Kong citizenship offer

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Beijing has accused ministers of a “gross interference into China’s internal affairs” by offering Hong Kong residents a route to citizenship over a controversial national security law.

Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to the UK, used a press conference on Monday to defend the legislation that clamps down on liberties as necessary to “prevent, suppress and punish collusion with a foreign country”.

And he accused the Government of “political manipulation” by offering around three million Hongkongers the right to settle in the UK and ultimately apply for citizenship.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged the move last week after deciding China had committed a “clear and serious breach” of the Sino-British Joint Declaration that aimed to smooth the transition when the territory was handed back to China in 1997.

Mr Liu also accused some British politicians of portraying China as a “threat” or a “hostile country” when discussing Huawei’s role in the 5G network.

“We want to be your friend, we want to be your partner, but if you want to make China a hostile country you have to bear the consequences,” he said.

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