Britain has repeatedly pressed China to honour its commitments to protect freedoms in Hong Kong after police fired tear gas to disperse protesters rallying in the former British colony against a now-suspended extradition bill.

Hong Kong has been rocked in recent weeks by the largest protests in China since crowds demonstrated against the bloody suppression of pro-democracy activists in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in June 1989.

“The people of Hong Kong are perfectly within their rights to be very sceptical, very anxious about proposals for extradition to the mainland that could be politically motivated, that could be arbitrary and could infringe their human rights,” Johnson told Reuters in an interview.

“So yes I do support them and I will happily speak up for them and back them every inch of the way,” the former foreign secretary said. “And I would stress to our friends in Beijing that the ‘one country, two systems’ approach has worked, is working and should not be cast aside.”

Late on Monday, hundreds of protesters in the territory besieged, and broke into, the legislature after a demonstration marking the anniversary of its 1997 return to Chinese rule.

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