The UK Foreign Office summoned the Chinese ambassador to London on Wednesday over an increasingly tense diplomatic spat prompted by anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong, a former British territory.
Liu Xiaoming was called to answer questions about what the Foreign Office says are "unacceptable and inaccurate" comments from China about Hong Kong.
Liu had denounced British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt for supporting "violent lawbreakers" and accused the UK of still having a "colonial mindset" towards the city.
"In the minds of some people, they regard Hong Kong as still under British rule. They forget ... that Hong Kong has now returned to the embrace of the Motherland," Liu told reporters.
"I tell them: hands off Hong Kong and show respect. This colonial mindset is still haunting the minds of some officials or politicians," he added.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang went further on Wednesday, saying that Hunt was "basking in the faded glory of British colonialism and obsessed with lecturing others."
'Hong Kong is not China'
The UK government has repeatedly pledged support for the hundreds of thousands of protestors in Hong Kong, who have staged mass demonstrations in recent weeks to express their anger with their pro-Beijing government.
Demonstrators and the UK have accused China of violating the "one country, two systems" principle it promised to uphold when the UK handed over the territory to China in 1997, saying the city's pro-Beijing government is becoming increasingly authoritarian and beholden to Beijing.
On Monday, the situation between protestors and police grew so strained that demonstrators broke into the Hong Kong's legislature, covering the city's emblem in the main chamber with black spray paint.
On Wednesday, police arrested 12 people in connection with the incident. In a statement, police vowed to "resolutely pursue the protesters for their illegal and violent acts at the complex on July 1."
es/amp (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)
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