Author: Mark Quinlivan

China says the UK would bear all consequences for any move it took to offer Hong Kong citizens a path to settlement in Britain and also told Australia to not "go further down the wrong path".

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison has signalled his Government may follow the UK in offering visas to Hong Kong citizens after China imposed a new security law on the city.

The UK said earlier this week it would grant leave for Hong Kong citizens with British National Overseas Status, and their dependent families, to live and work in the UK for five years, and later apply for citizenship.

China Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a daily briefing on Thursday (local time) it was advising Australia to look at the Hong Kong security law in a "correct and objective light".

UK in offering visas to Hong Kong citizens after China imposed a new security law on the city.

"Stop interfering in China's internal affairs with Hong Kong as a pretext, and refrain from going further down the wrong path."

China reserved the right to act against the UK over the issue, Zhao said, without specifying what measures Beijing may take.

"Disregarding China's solemn position, the British side now seeks a policy change which will offer a route for a certain group of people to remain and apply for citizenship in the UK.

"This is a serious breach of its own commitment and grave violation of international law and basic norms of international relations. 

"China strongly condemns this and reserves the right of further reactions, the consequences of which shall be borne by the British side."

Scott Morrison.

Morrison said on Thursday that events in Hong Kong were concerning and the Australian Government was "prepared to step up and provide support".

China's Parliament adopted the security law, which punishes the crimes of secession and subversion, in response to protests last year triggered by fears that Beijing was stifling Hong Kong's freedoms, guaranteed by a "one country, two systems" formula agreed when it returned to Chinese rule.

Australia's relations with China are strained after Canberra called for an international investigation into the source of the coronavirus.

Note from Nighthawk.NZ:

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