In a recent interview with the BBC’s Mark Urban, China’s ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming says China is upholding the principle of “one country, two systems” and that the British government has “no right to interfere with citizens of Hong Kong.”
He also took questions on Huawei and the treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang province. Here’s a few takeaways from that interview.
On whether China is still committed to upholding its Joint Declaration with the United Kingdom, signed before Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997:
We are upholding the principle of one country, two systems. This promise has been made not only to Britain, but to the world, to the Chinese people, including those in Hong Kong. The Joint Declaration has completed its mission after Hong Kong’s handover. And now, I think the “one country two systems” has been very successful in Hong Kong.
But that Declaration gives British Government no sovereignty, no right, no legitimacy to interfere into the internal affairs of Hong Kong.
The British government has a duty to protect your own citizens but not the people of Hong Kong. The citizens of Hong Kong are, you know, they are part of China now, Hong Kong, and according to basic law, Hong Kong people will run their own affairs and they are entitled to implementing their social system different from the mainland. But it has nothing to do with the British government.
On “media distortions” of Hong Kong’s proposed extradition bill:
The whole story has been distorted. This case is about rectifying the deficiencies, plugging the loopholes of the existing legal system.
You portrayed the story as the Hong Kong government making this amendment at the instruction of the Central Government. As a matter of fact, the Central Government gave no instruction, no order about making amendment. This amendment was initiated by the Hong Kong government. It is prompted by a murder case happened in Taiwan and this…
On the treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang:
These are all distortions, it is all made up, fake news, I would say. We respect people to have their freedom of religion. People are entitled to have their religion. And the important thing is, you are missing the big picture. The reason for these centres is to educate those young people who have been intoxicated by extremist ideas. And ever since these measures, there have been no extremist violent incidents in Xinjiang for the past three years, which means these measures have been successful.
Huawei is a good company. It is a leader in 5G. They are here for win-win cooperation with their British counterparts. And they contribute tremendously not only to telecom industry in this country, but they employ 7000 people. In terms of win-win collaboration, if the UK collaborates with Huawei, there will be promising future for both sides.