Hong Kong police arrest 24-year-old man on London-bound flight as China vows 'retaliation' for UK offer of citizenship

China promised Thursday to take countermeasures against Britain if it presses ahead with plans to extend citizenship rights to Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed a sweeping security law on the restless financial hub.
Beijing has faced a groundswell of criticism from primarily Western nations over its decision to impose a new law outlawing acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.
Hong Kong police arrested a 24-year-old man at the city's airport in the early hours of Thursday on suspicion of attacking and wounding an officer during protests against a new national security law Beijing imposed on the financial hub.
Hong Kong police fired water cannon and tear gas and arrested more than 300 people on Wednesday as protesters took to the streets in defiance of the sweeping security legislation introduced by China to snuff out dissent.
On Wednesday, police posted pictures on Twitter of an officer with a bleeding arm saying he was stabbed by "rioters holding sharp objects". The suspects fled while bystanders offered no help, police said.
A police spokesman told Reuters the arrested man was surnamed Wong but could not confirm if he was leaving Hong Kong or working at the airport.
Local newspaper Apple Daily, citing unnamed sources, said the suspect was onboard a Cathay Pacific flight to London due to depart just before midnight.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a ceremony to mark the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China from Britain CREDIT: REUTERS/Kevin Li/TMHK
Adding to concerns of Beijing's crackdown, Hong Kong's influential Bar Association published a new legal analysis warning that the wording of the law - which was kept secret until Tuesday - undermines the city's independent judiciary and stifles freedoms.
Britain has said the law breaches China's pre-handover "One Country, Two Systems" promise to grant residents key liberties - as well as judicial and legislative autonomy - until 2047.
It has responded by announcing plans to allow millions of Hong Kongers with British National Overseas status to relocate with their families and eventually apply for citizenship.
"We will live up to our promises to them," Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told parliament.
That move has infuriated Beijing, which says Britain promised not to grant full citizenship rights to Hongkongers ahead of the 1997 handover.
"If the British side makes unilateral changes to the relevant practice, it will breach its own position and pledges as well as international law and basic norms governing international relations," China's embassy in London said Thursday.
"We firmly oppose this and reserve the right to take corresponding measures," it added.
Protesters were hit with pepper spray CREDIT: DALE DE LA REY/AFP via Getty Images
On Thursday, Australian leader Scott Morrison said he was "very actively" considering offering Hong Kongers safe haven.
Taiwan has opened an office to help Hongkongers wanting to flee, while a proposed bill in the United States offering sanctuary to city residents has received widespread bipartisan support.
Beijing says the law is needed to quell seething pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and restore order after a year of political unrest.
But critics fear it will usher in a new era of political repression given similar laws are routinely used to crush dissent on the Chinese mainland.
The law has sent fear coursing through the city and rattled the legal community in a business hub that has built its reputation on the independence and reliability of its courts.

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