China has lashed out at the British foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, after he spoke to Hong Kong’s leader about protests that have morphed from a campaign against a controversial extradition bill into rolling street demonstrations demanding electoral reforms.

Raab spoke to Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, and stressed the need for “meaningful political dialogue and a fully independent investigation into recent events as a way to build trust” in the territory, the UK Foreign Office said.

The former British colony has seen widespread protests in recent months which began with a campaign against a controversial extradition bill and has gone on to include a push for electoral reforms in the Chinese territory.

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said the days where Britain ruled Hong Kong were “long gone … The UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of supervision over Hong Kong. Affairs of Hong Kong brook no foreign interference. It is simply wrong for the British government to directly call Hong Kong’s chief executive to exert pressure.”

A UK foreign office spokesperson said: “The foreign secretary underlined the strength of the relationship between the UK and Hong Kong, noting our support for Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy as provided for in the joint declaration and our commitment to the principle of ‘one country, two systems’.

“The foreign secretary condemned violent acts by all sides but emphasised the right to peaceful protest, noting that hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people had chosen this route to express their views.”

With the Press Association


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