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China warned over Hong Kong protests

Call for peace: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam PICTURE: GETTY

BRITAIN has warned China not to use violent protests in Hong Kong as a ‘pretext for oppression’.

It came after Beijing called on the UK to ‘know its place’ with its former colony.

Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said there would be ‘serious consequences’ if China did not honour the 1984 declaration signed with the UK on Hong Kong.

After pro-democracy protesters stormed the territory’s legislative chamber on Monday, Theresa May’s official spokesman said the prime minister wanted any future demonstrations to be conducted peacefully. ‘We are very concerned about the violence,’ he said, but also urged authorities ‘not to use last night’s events as a pretext for oppression’.

The civil unrest came amid growing anger against moves by the Hong Kong government to change extradition laws to allow suspects to be sent to China for trial.

At a Tory leadership hustings yesterday, Mr Hunt said: ‘We expect that legally binding agreement to be honoured and, if it isn’t, there will be serious consequences.’

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has condemned the ‘extreme violence’ and called for peace. She was backed by the Chinese government, which labelled protests ‘serious illegal acts’.