Asia-Pacific

China hits back at Australia and other Five Eyes countries over Hong Kong criticism

China has hit back in response to a Five Eyes statement criticising its Hong Kong policy. Source: AAP

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has rejected criticism of its Hong Kong policy from five Anglosphere countries.

China has hit back at the latest criticism of its Hong Kong policy from Australia and other members of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing group.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian responded to a statement on Hong Kong issued by Australia, the UK, US, Canada and New Zealand - also known as the Five Eyes alliance - which expressed "serious concern" after four opposition MPs were expelled from the Hong Kong parliament.

"No matter if they have five eyes or 10 eyes, if they dare to harm China's sovereignty, security and development interests they should beware of their eyes being poked and blinded," Mr Zhao said on Thursday.

The foreign ministers of the five countries said that a new Chinese government resolution that led to the MPs' disqualification appears to be "part of a concerted campaign to silence all critical voices".

The statement said: "China's action is a clear breach of its international obligations under the legally binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration. It breaches both China's commitment that Hong Kong will enjoy a 'high degree of autonomy' and the right to freedom of speech."

It called on China to "stop undermining the rights of the people of Hong Kong to elect their representatives in keeping with the Joint Declaration and Basic Law".

Hong Kong, a city of 7.5 million people, was promised autonomy over local affairs for 50 years after its return to China in 1997.

Mr Zhao said Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China and that public officials must "be loyal to the motherland".

The four disqualified MPs were earlier barred from running for re-election because of their calls for foreign governments to impose sanctions on China and Hong Kong.

They had remained in office because elections were postponed for one year.

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