- Ambassador’s warning comes in response to UK’s special visa offer to Hong Kong citizens
China will not recognise the British national (overseas) passport as a legal travel document, raising the prospect that the 3 million Hong Kong citizens eligible for the passport will be banned from leaving Hong Kong by the Chinese government.
The warning was made at a press conference by the Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, in which he also warned that it was hard to imagine a global Britain that bypassed or excluded China. Decoupling from China would mean decoupling from growth and the future, he suggested.
UK-China relations have headed into deep freeze after the UK banned the China state-backed Huawei from UK 5G technology and then protested over the introduction of new security laws in Hong Kong, a former British colony.
Liu punctuated his online press conference with videos seeking to debunk reports that Uighur Muslims have been suppressed in Xinjiang province, saying those sent to re-education centres, which he claimed were akin to boarding schools, were only going through the same kind of anti-radicalisation training as terrorists in the west.
He said it was the UK, and not China, that had changed, and should take full responsibility for the current difficulties in the relationship. He blamed cold-war warriors in the Conservative party, and said they were influenced by outside powers. The UK and China should have the wisdom not to allow anti-China forces and cold-war warriors to kidnap the relationship, he said. Great Britain, he argued, “cannot be great if it does not have independent foreign policies”.