Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told Australia to stop interfering in China’s affairs.
He told a daily briefing: “We reserve the right to take actions and all consequences will be borne by the Australian side.”
When asked which international law Australia is in breach of, he said: “Non-interference is a basic norm in international relations. Need I say more?”
China said it also deplored and opposes what it called “groundless accusations and measures” by the Australian Government on Hong Kong.
The Chinese embassy in Australia said in a statement attributed to an unnamed spokesman: “We urge the Australian side to immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs under any pretext or in any way.
“Otherwise it will lead to nothing but lifting a rock only to hit its own feet.”
Australia had said it was suspending the extradition treaty it has in place with Hong Kong, while also announcing measures to attract residents and businesses from there.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: “There will be citizens of Hong Kong who may be looking to move elsewhere, to start a new life somewhere else, to take their skills, their businesses.”
The Australian Government has said there are around 10,000 Hong Kong citizens in the country on student visas or temporary work visas.
Mr Morrison said Hong Kong students, graduates and workers in Australia on temporary visas will be provided with a temporary opportunity to stay and work in Australia for an additional five years, and can then apply for permanent residency after that time.
On the subject of future student visas being offered for a further five years, the Australian Prime Minister said they were “not expecting large numbers of applicants any time soon”.
This is a breaking story. More to follow….