LONDON England: In a video post, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the UK will work to hold Beijing to its commitments to maintain democratic rights made when Hong Kong was handed back to China.
China had not complied with its commitment made 25 years ago to respect the "One Country, Two Systems" arrangement agreed upon under the deal that ended British colonial rule in 1997, he added.
"On the 25th anniversary of the handover, we simply cannot avoid the fact that, for some time now, Beijing has been failing to comply with its obligations. It is a state of affairs that threatens both the rights and freedoms of Hong Kongers and the continued progress and prosperity of their home," Johnson added.
In his first trip outside of mainland China in more than two years, Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Hong Kong to mark the anniversary of the handover.
Chinese officials have stressed that the UK should keep out of the affairs of Hong Kong.
In response to Johnson's comments, the Chinese foreign ministry accused the UK of retaining a colonial mindset, despite the city's handover.
During a regular news briefing, foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said, "Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong and no external force has the right to interfere. The UK has no right of sovereignty, governance, or supervision over post-handover Hong Kong, and the so-called commitments do not exist at all."
In light of the introduction of the national security law last year, the UK introduced an immigration route for holders of British National passports.
Some 120,000 Hong Kong residents have applied under the scheme, Johnson said, "We are not giving up on Hong Kong. Twenty five years ago we made a promise to the territory and its people, and we intend to keep it."
The UK would "do all we can to hold China to its commitments, so that Hong Kong is once again run by the people of Hong Kong, for the people of Hong Kong," he added.