Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Beijing had lodged “serious representations” with London over Raab’s remarks, which “grossly interfered” in Hong Kong’s affairs.
“We advise the UK to step back from the brink, abandon their Cold War mentality and colonial mindset, and recognise and respect the fact that Hong Kong has returned” to China, Zhao said at a regular briefing.
Zhao said London must “immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs and China’s internal affairs, or this will definitely backfire.”
Hong Kong has been rocked by months of huge and often violent pro-democracy protests over the past year.
In response Beijing has announced plans to introduce a sweeping national security law covering secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign interference.
China says the law — which will bypass Hong Kong’s legislature — is needed to tackle “terrorism” and “separatism” in a restless city it now regards as a direct national security threat.
But opponents, including many Western nations, fear it will bring mainland-style political oppression to a business hub that was supposedly guaranteed freedoms and autonomy for 50 years after its 1997 handover to China from Britain.
In parliament on Tuesday, Raab said he had reached out to Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada about contingency plans if the law creates a deluge of Hong Kongers looking to leave.
“I raised it on the Five Eyes call yesterday — the possibility of burden sharing if we see a mass exodus from Hong Kong,” Raab told lawmakers, referencing the intelligence-sharing alliance between the five powers.