Hugo Swire, a Minister of State for the Foreign Office of the UK, published an article on Saturday, September 14 in the South China Morning Post indicating that he supports Hong Kong’s universal suffrage and that "Britain stands ready to support in any way we can." The article resulted in an array of counterattacks from China. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Tuesday that China will never allow any external forces to interfere in the internal affairs of Hong Kong and damage Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. "We have the determination and ability to defend our national security." As early as Monday, Hong Lei had already accused Swire of making "irresponsible remarks" and expressed strong dissatisfaction. Global Times, a newspaper owned by the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily, accused the British of "impure motives."
On Tuesday Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao published a long article titled "British Espionage Activities in Hong Kong," referring to British intelligence officers’ "blatant" actions in Hong Kong. The article said, "Ever since the reunification, the UK intelligence agency’s activities in Hong Kong not only have not dwindled down, they continue to strengthen. The ‘operation center’ is currently located inside the British Consulate-General on 1 Supreme Court Rd. Admiralty." The author also questioned the reason behind the fact that the Consulate-General building was designed by the same person that designed the MI6 headquarters building in London.
The article said that British intelligence agencies are very focused on buying and getting key personnel to defect. "To achieve their target, they have followed some key figures for a long time, as long as several years or even more than a decade." The article also claimed that Britain has detailed material on senior Hong Kong officials under British authorities. "With such information, they exerted long-term control over a group of senior officials during the transition. Once it is necessary, they will then use the media in Hong Kong to issue negative news to attack their targets. Former Secretary for Development Mak Chai-kwong was alleged to have fraudulently claimed a housing allowance for five years starting in 1985. All the evidence was from the allegations of civil servants’ information decades ago. Who else has such capabilities other than the British authorities?"
In addition, another pro-Beijing newspaper in Hong Kong, Wen Wei Po, also published an article saying that, ever since the turnover of the sovereignty of Hong Kong 16 years ago, "a large number of MI6 spies have returned to Hong Kong, infiltrating into political parties, organizations, the judicial system, trade associations, the media, and vital government bodies, so as to snatch the right to govern Hong Kong."
Source: BBC Chinese, September 17, 2013