China accuses G7 countries of ‘meddling’ in Hong Kong affairs

Keegan Elmer

Beijing has condemned “irresponsible comments” by the G7 leaders, who made reference to Hong Kong in a joint statement at the end of their three-day meeting in southwestern France.

China also accused the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US of having “ulterior motives” and of meddling in Hong Kong affairs, after they expressed “deep concern” about the situation in the city.

The joint statement, issued after the meeting in Biarritz on Monday, said: “The G7 reaffirms the existence and the importance of the 1984 Sino-British agreement on Hong Kong and calls for avoiding violence.”

Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, China’s foreign affairs spokesman Geng Shuang said Hong Kong was an internal matter for China and foreign nations had no right to interfere.

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“We will handle our own affairs and we will ask the members of the G7 countries not to harbour evil intentions, mind other people’s business nor continue its sinister plot,” Geng said.

“Regarding the Sino-British Joint Declaration, I would like to stress once again that the ultimate purpose and core content of the joint declaration is to confirm that China will resume its sovereignty over Hong Kong.

“No country or organisation has the right to intervene in Hong Kong affairs by making use of the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” he said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the G7 countries had “expressed, collectively, deep concern about what is happening in Hong Kong,” adding that the leaders remained “collectively committed to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework.”

Britain’s foreign secretary Dominic Raab had earlier called on China to respect peaceful protest in Hong Kong.

What is the Sino-British Joint Declaration?

The British government has repeatedly urged China to uphold the terms of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which pledges that China’s basic policies regarding Hong Kong “will remain unchanged for 50 years”, including the promise that the city would retain a high degree of autonomy, after the 1997 handover from British to Chinese sovereignty.

Hong Kong has been wracked by more than two months of protests over an attempt by its government to pass an extradition bill which opponents regard as a huge dent in Hong Kong’s autonomy.

On Sunday Beijing sent its strongest warning yet that it could deal directly with the protests in Hong Kong, in a commentary published by state news agency Xinhua, which also quoted the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s remarks that the mainland government “should intervene” in the event of unrest in the city.

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