China’s ambassador to the UK says rows have ‘seriously poisoned’ relations

China's ambassador to the UK has warned against allowing "Cold War warriors" to damage relations between Beijing and Britain.

Rows over Hong Kong, the ban on tech giant Huawei playing a role in the 5G network, and British criticism of human rights abuses in Xinjiang have soured the relationship in recent weeks.

Beijing's ambassador, Liu Xiaoming, acknowledged that the rows had "seriously poisoned the atmosphere" of Sino-British relations.

He rejected claims of abuse against Uighur Muslims, condemned the decision on Huawei, and warned the UK not to interfere in Chinese internal affairs over Hong Kong.

In an online press conference, Mr Liu said: "China respects UK sovereignty and has never interfered in the UK's internal affairs.

"It is important the UK will do the same – namely, respect China's sovereignty and stop interfering in Hong Kong's affairs, which are China's internal affairs, so as to avoid further damage to the China-UK relationship."

The imposition of a new national security law led to the Government opening the door to British National (Overseas) passport-holders in the territory to come to the UK, and the suspension of extradition arrangements.

China has threatened not to recognise the BN(O) passport as a valid travel document.

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When President XI visited London
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When President XI visited London
File photo dated 20/10/2015 of Chinese President Xi Jinping with Queen Elizabeth II at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, London, during his state visit to the UK. A pop-up book, a painting of a swimming pig and a bottle of gin were among the official gifts given to the Queen last year.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge greets President of China Mr Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan at a creative industry event at Lancaster House in London on October 21, 2015.
A staff member adjusts the Vessel of Friendship, a model of the 'treasure ship' sailed by 15th-century Chinese navigator and diplomat Zeng He, presented to Queen Elizabeth II by President Xi Jinping of China in 2015, during a preview for the exhibition of Royal Gifts, which is part of the annual Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, London.
Well wishers (left) and anti-Chinese protestors (right) hold flags and placards as Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Duke of York visit Inmarsat in London.
Demonstrators hold placards as Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Duke of York visit Inmarsat in London.
(left to right) Rupert Pearce, CEO of Inmarsat, the Duke of York, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Andy Sukawaty, Chairman of Inmarsat, and Greg Hands, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, pose for a photograph during a visit to Inmarsat in London, on the third day of his state visit to the UK.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh bid farewell to President of China Xi Jinping and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan, at Buckingham Palace in London.
Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh bid farewell to President of China Xi Jinping and his wife, Madame Peng Liyuan, at Buckingham Palace in London.
Madame Peng Liyuan and Chinese President Xi Jinping listen to speeches during a visit to Imperial College London during the State Visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, London.
Chinese President Xi Jinping with the Duchess of Cambridge at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, London, during the first day of his state visit to the UK.
China's president Xi Jinping makes a speech at a banquet at the Guildhall in London on the second day of his state visit as Lord Mayor Alderman Alan Yarrow looks on.
The Duke of York (left) speaks with Chancellor George Osborne (centre) during the State Visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, London.
Chinese President Xi Jinping with the Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Elizabeth II at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, London, during the first day of his state visit to the UK.
(from left) Chancellor George Osborne, Madame Peng Liyuan and Chinese President Xi Jinping listen to speeches during a visit to Imperial College London during the State Visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, London.
China's president Xi Jinping sits alongside the Duke of York at a banquet at the Guildhall in London on the second day of his state visit.
Lord Mayor Alderman Alan Yarrow and Lady Mayoress Gilly Yarrow greet the Duke of York at a banquet at the Guildhall in London on the second day of Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit.
(Left to right) The Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth II, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and his wife Peng Liyuan, view a display of Chinese items from the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace in London, during the first day of the Chinese state visit.
The red carpet is rolled out before Prime Minister David Cameron welcomes the President of China, Xi Jinping, to 10 Downing Street in London.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge greet President of China Mr Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan at a creative industry event at Lancaster House in London on October 21, 2015.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge wait in the rain to greet President of China Mr Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan at a creative industry event at Lancaster House in London on October 21, 2015.
China's President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister David Cameron attend a commercial contract exchange at the UK-China Business Summit at Mansion House, London, on the second day of Xi's state visit.
China's President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister David Cameron attend a commercial contract exchange at the UK-China Business Summit at Mansion House, London, on the second day of Xi's state visit.
Business Secretary Sajid Javid and China's Minister Gao Hucheng sign an agreement as Prime Minister David Cameron and China's President Xi Jinping watch at Number 10 Downing Street in London on the second day of his state visit to the UK.
China's President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister David Cameron attend a joint press conference in 10 Downing Street, in central London on the second day of his state visit to the UK.
China's President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister David Cameron shake hands at the end of their joint press conference in 10 Downing Street, in central London on the second day of his state visit to the UK.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the President Xi Jinping of The People's Republic of China and his wife Madame Peng Liyuan as they visit a creative industry event at Lancaster House, London on day two of the President's state visit to the UK.
The President of China, Xi Jinping (centre) arrives at Lancaster House in London, where he attended an event celebrating the cultural collaboration, existing and future, between the UK and China.
The President of China, Xi Jinping (right) leaves Lancaster House in London, where he attended an event celebrating the cultural collaboration, existing and future, between the UK and China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends a BAFTA presentation at Lancaster House in London.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) and the Duchess of Cambridge attend a BAFTA presentation at Lancaster House in London.
Madame Peng Liyuan listens to speeches during a visit to Imperial College London, on day two of the state visit by the Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The Duke of Cambridge with the President of China, Xi Jinping, at Lancaster House in London, after they attended an event celebrating the cultural collaboration, existing and future, between the UK and China.
People wait outside Imperial College London ahead of the visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping on day two of the state visit by the Chinese President.
A general view of the Ballroom at Buckingham Palace, London, during a state banquet in honour of Chinese President Xi Jinping during the first day of his state visit to the UK.
President of China Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan accompany Queen Elizabeth II as they arrive for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace in London, on the first full day of his state visit to the UK.
President of The People's Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping, meets the Prince of Wales at Clarence House, London for China Tea on the first day of the President's state visit to the UK.
President of The People's Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping, meets the Prince of Wales at Clarence House, London for China Tea on the first day of the President's state visit to the UK.
President of The People's Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping and China's First Lady Peng Liyuan, meet the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House, London for China Tea on the first day of the President's state visit to the UK.
China President Xi Jinping addresses MPs and peers in the Palace of Westminster's Royal Gallery in London on the first full day of his state visit to the UK.
A member of the Household Cavalry on Horse Guards Parade, London, ahead of a ceremonial welcome for the Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan on the first day of their state visit to the UK.
Queen Elizabeth II at Horse Guards Parade, London, during the ceremonial welcome for Chinese President Xi Jinping on the first day of his state visit to the UK.
The Duke of Edinburgh accompanies Chinese President Xi Jinping (left), as he inspects a Guard of Honour during the ceremonial welcome on Horse Guards Parade, London, for the President on the first day of his state visit to the UK.
Chinese President Xi Jinping inspects a guard of honour during the official welcome ceremony at Horseguards Parade in London, on the first official day of the Chinese state visit.
Members of the Household Cavalry on Horse Guards Parade, London, ahead of a ceremonial welcome for the Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan on the first day of their state visit to the UK.
Queen Elizabeth II at Horse Guards Parade, London, during the ceremonial welcome for Chinese President Xi Jinping on the first day of his state visit to the UK.
The Duke of Edinburgh and Chinese President Xi Jinping inspect the troops at Horse Guards Parade, London, during the ceremonial welcome for the president on the first day of his state visit to the UK.
A protester at The Mall in London, as Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan arrive on the first day of their state visit to the UK.
The Duke of Edinburgh accompanies the President of The People's Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping (nearest camera), as he inspects a Guard of Honour during the ceremonial welcome on Horse Guards Parade, London, for the President on the first day of his state visit to the UK.
The Duchess of Cornwall and the Prince of Wales greet Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London, on the first official day of their state visit.
The crowds on The Mall outside Buckingham Palace, London, on day one of the Chinese state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Chinese President Xi Jinping leaves 10 Downing Street in London after he met with Prime Minister David Cameron on the second day of his state visit to the UK.
Well wishers wave flags as Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Duke of York visit Inmarsat in London.
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Donald Trump's White House has pushed allies to distance themselves from China, and US sanctions ultimately led to the UK's U-turn on Huawei's involvement in 5G.

Boris Johnson's Government has also come under pressure from hawkish MPs on the Tory benches calling for a tougher stance.

But Beijing's representative in the UK said the country should follow its own foreign policy.

Mr Liu said: "It's our hope that the UK would resist the pressure and coercion from a certain country and provide an open, fair, transparent and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese investment so as to bring back the confidence of Chinese businesses in the UK."

He added that once the Brexit and Covid-19 issues are dealt with, "there will be unlimited prospects for China-UK co-operation in areas of trade, financial services, science and technology, education and healthcare".

"It is hard to imagine a global Britain that bypasses or excludes China," he said.

"Decoupling from China means decoupling from opportunities, decoupling from growth and decoupling from the future."

He said he hoped the two countries have "enough wisdom and capabilities" to manage their differences "rather than allowing anti-China forces and Cold War warriors to kidnap the China-UK relationship".

"Great Britain cannot be great without independent foreign policies," he said.

Mr Liu devoted a large part of his press conference to addressing "rumours and lies" about the treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, with a series of propaganda videos aimed at rebutting Western criticism.

He suggested that "so-called victims" of persecution including forced sterilisation were either separatists or "actors trained by anti-China forces in the US and other Western countries".

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