The UK foreign secretary has continued to warn China not to “repress” violent protesters in Hong Kong.
A group of activists occupied Hong Kong’s parliament on Monday over a controversial extradition bill.
Jeremy Hunt told the BBC he “condemned all violence” but said the Chinese government should listen to the “root causes” of protesters’ concerns.
It comes after China warned the UK not to “interfere in its domestic affairs” and labelled the UK “hypocritical”.
Mr Hunt repeated his warning that China would face serious consequences if it failed to honour Hong Kong’s high level of autonomy from Beijing, as set out in the Joint Declaration – the 1984 treaty between the UK and China which paved the way for sovereignty over the territory to pass back to Beijing.
“The heart of people’s concerns has been that very precious thing that Hong Kong has had, which is an independent judicial system,” Mr Hunt told Radio 4’s Today programme.
“The United Kingdom view this situation very, very seriously,” he added.
China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, said on Wednesday it was “hypocritical” of UK politicians to criticise the lack of democracy and civil rights in Hong Kong when, under British rule, there had been no elections nor right to protest.