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China insists UK is ‘shooting itself in the foot’ as Britain’s Hong Kong visa programme kicks off on Sunday

China insists UK is ‘shooting itself in the foot’ as Britain’s Hong Kong visa programme kicks off on Sunday
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has expressed its opposition to British interference in Hong Kong’s affairs as the UK prepares to open its new visa programme to 70 percent of the island’s residents on January 31.

“The British side violated its promises, insisted on going its own way, repeatedly hyped the issue of British National Overseas Passports, interfered in Hong Kong affairs, and interfered in China’s internal affairs,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, stated during a daily press conference. 

The spokesman said that Beijing has repeatedly called on the UK to desist and stop intervening in Chinese affairs, adding that Britain “is only shooting it’s in the foot.”

Zhao took the opportunity to reiterate Beijing’s confidence in Hong Kong’s future as a more integrated part of China. “I would like to reiterate here that we are full of confidence in the bright future of Hong Kong,” the spokesman said.

“No force or situation can shake the determination and will of the Chinese government and people to safeguard national sovereignty and security, maintain Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and oppose external intervention.” 

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The UK visa programme opens to 5.4 million Hong Kong residents on January 31, giving a staggering 70 percent of the territory’s population the right to come and live in Britain, and eventually become citizens. 

The UK says China is undermining Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms, and conservatively estimates that 300,000 people will take up the offer of moving to Britain.

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