As the stand-off between anti-government protesters and police continues, the Chinese ambassador to the UK has warned the Government against interference in Hong Kong’s affairs.
Liu Xiaoming has accused the Government and the Foreign Affairs Committee of publishing reports “making irresponsible remarks” on Hong Kong.
Mr Xiaoming added that some UK politicians had planned to present an award to a “chief propagandist of Hong Kong independence” who has “instigated extreme violence”.
Mr Xiaoming’s comments come as violence escalated overnight in Hong Kong when police ordered protesters to vacate a university they had occupied.
District elections are due to be held in Hong Kong on Sunday, but there are fears that the violent scenes could disrupt these plans.
Speaking in London, Mr Xiaoming said: “The British Government and the Foreign Office committee of the House of Commons published China-related reports making irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong.
“What is worse, certain British politicians even planned to present (an) award to a chief propagandist of Hong Kong independence and who has instigated extreme violence.”
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “The UK is seriously concerned by the escalation in violence from both the protesters and the authorities around Hong Kong university campuses.
“It is vital that those who are injured are able to receive appropriate medical treatment, and that safe passage is made available for all those who wish to leave the area.
“We need to see an end to the violence, and for all sides to engage in meaningful political dialogue ahead of the District Council elections on Sunday.”
An alleged attack on a Hong Kong government official in London on Friday was condemned as “barbaric” by the country’s leader Carrie Lam, but demonstrators said the incident had been overplayed.
Footage posted on social media on Thursday night showed Hong Kong justice secretary Teresa Cheng fall to the ground while being pursued by a large group of anti-government protesters in the British capital.
The Hong Kong government claimed the incident caused Ms Cheng “serious bodily harm” while China said she injured her hand.
Hong Kong, which was a British colony until 1997, is part of China under the one country, two systems model.
In practice, this means that Hong Kong citizens have freedoms that people in mainland China do not.
The protests are partially about a fear that these freedoms are being eroded.
The protests in Hong Kong started in June after the government planned to pass a bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China.
People feared this would undermine the city’s freedoms, and although the bill was withdrawn, the demonstrations continued and grew into broader anti-government protests.