China’s 5G UK deal un­der threat in Hong Kong fury

Daily Express - - FREDERICK FORSYTH - By Mark Reynolds

PRIME Min­is­ter Boris John­son has hinted he could pull the plug on Bri­tain’s Huawei 5G deal af­ter China threat­ened the UK for of­fer­ing res­i­dency to three mil­lion Hong Kong cit­i­zens.

The pro­vi­sion was made as hun­dreds were ar­rested in the for­mer Bri­tish colony amid protests over new Chi­nese se­cu­rity laws.

For­eign Min­istry spokesman Zhao Li­jian said the UK “se­ri­ously vi­o­lated in­ter­na­tional law and ba­sic norms” by of­fer­ing Hong Kong Bri­tish Na­tional Over­seas (BNO) hold­ers the right of abode.

He said: “Hong Kong af­fairs are China’s in­ter­nal af­fairs and no coun­try has the right to in­ter­fere.

“China re­serves the right to re­spond and the UK will bear all con­se­quences.” He also threat­ened “cor­re­spond­ing mea­sures” in re­sponse. “All Chi­nese com­pa­tri­ots liv­ing in Hong Kong, in­clud­ing those with BNO pass­ports, are Chi­nese na­tion­als,” he said.

“The na­tional se­cu­rity law for Hong Kong is to en­sure the steady and sus­tained im­ple­men­ta­tion of this im­por­tant pol­icy.”

When asked what the mea­sures might be, he de­clined to com­ment.

Mr John­son ac­cused China of “an un­ac­cept­able breach” of Hong Kong’s free­doms.

The row could dam­age Chi­nese tech firm Huawei’s in­volve­ment in the UK’s 5G net­work, he added.

Ter­ror­ism

“I don’t want to see our crit­i­cal na­tional in­fra­struc­ture at risk of be­ing in any way con­trolled by po­ten­tially hos­tile state ven­dors,” he said. “We have to think very care­fully about how to pro­ceed.”

Un­rest is spread­ing in Hong Kong af­ter Bei­jing im­posed a law that will end free­doms guar­an­teed for 50 years when Bri­tish rule ended in 1997.Within hours, Hong Kong po­lice, bran­dish­ing pep­per­spray guns, made 10 ar­rests, in­clud­ing a man with a proin­de­pen­dence flag. About 360 oth­ers were held at a banned rally.

Un­der the law – which con­tra­venes the 1984 Sino-Bri­tish joint dec­la­ra­tion – in­cit­ing ha­tred of China’s gov­ern­ment and Hong Kong’s re­gional gov­ern­ment are of­fences. Acts in­clud­ing da­m­ag­ing pub­lic trans­port fa­cil­i­ties – which hap­pened dur­ing the 2019 protests – can be con­sid­ered ter­ror­ism.

Among those con­demn­ing China yes­ter­day was the US House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. It ap­proved sanc­tions pe­nal­is­ing banks do­ing busi­ness with Chi­nese of­fi­cials. But 50 coun­tries, led by Cuba, sup­ported China at the UN this week.

Blinded by pep­per spray... friends try to help dis­tressed woman af­ter Hong Kong po­lice, top left, launch an at­tack. Left, pro­tester is ar­rested

Pic­tures: SIMON JANKOWSKI/NURPHOTO & GETTY

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