China says British 'interference' in Hong Kong 'doomed to fail'

3rd December 2014, Comments 0 comments

British MPs' attempts to "interfere in China's domestic affairs" by visiting Hong Kong are "unacceptable" and "doomed to fail", Beijing's foreign ministry said Wednesday.

Chinese authorities blocked members of the former colonial power's legislature from visiting the city, which has been gripped by weeks of pro-democracy protests.

"Some people from the British side attempt to use the so-called moral obligation to mislead the public and interfere in China's domestic affairs," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing.

"This kind of unacceptable act is doomed to fail."

During a rare emergency debate in which British MPs urged the government to take a tougher line with China, Hugo Swire, a Foreign Office minister, called China's ban "wholly unjustified" but stressed the need to "pursue dialogue in issues even when we disagree".

Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee were denied visas to visit Hong Kong later this month.

The committee is investigating Britain's responsibilities under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the 1984 treaty that established procedures for the handover.

Swire told parliament that Britain had "both a legal interest and a moral obligation in the monitoring and implementation" of the agreement.

But Hua retorted: "Following the return of Hong Kong, Britain has no sovereignty, no administrative power and no right of supervision over Hong Kong. There is no such thing as a 'moral obligation'."

The treaty laid out a system of governance described as "one country, two systems", guaranteeing Hong Kong freedoms not known on the mainland, and preserving its high degree of autonomy for 50 years.

Andrew Rosindell, a member of British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party, urged that the Chinese ambassador be summoned to the Foreign Office to explain, describing the visa ban as "shameful" and "nothing short of an outrage".

© 2014 AFP

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