China yesterday accused the United Kingdom of sheltering "wanted criminals" after prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law said he had been granted political asylum there.
London and Beijing are at bitter odds over the fate of Hong Kong, with Britain accusing China of tearing up its promise to maintain key liberties in the former colonial territory for 50 years after the handover.
Law, a 27-year-old former Hong Kong lawmaker and student activist, said Wednesday he had been granted asylum in UK, after fleeing Hong Kong following the introduction of a sweeping new security law.
That provoked an angry response in Beijing. "The UK is clearly a platform for Hong Kong independence agitators, and provides so-called shelter for wanted criminals," foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.
Describing Law as a "criminal suspect," Zhao called the move "gross interference" in Hong Kong's judiciary.