State-run tabloid Global Times has accused Britain of violating the joint declaration it signed with China by “trying to interfere with Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity” since the handover.

In a commentary published on Thursday, the paper said the Sino-British Joint Declaration was only aimed at ensuring a smooth transition when Hong Kong returned to China’s sovereignty in 1997, but did not give any room for Britain to continue to try to influence events in the territory.

However, the article said London “frequently gossips” about Hong Kong’s affairs.

Not only that, it said, London also supports “a series of extremist actions mounted by the opposition in Hong Kong”.

It also singled out Hong Kong’s last governor, Chris Patten, as having played an “undignified role” in “so-called pro-democracy movements in Hong Kong” – in which “radical demands” were made beyond “the understanding of a high degree of autonomy” in Hong Kong.

The article asked whether Britain shouldn’t “blush, for confusing right and wrong”.

“Hong Kong enjoys more democracy today than under British rule. Today, Hong Kong people genuinely rule Hong Kong, and each Chief Executive is a Hong Kong citizen chosen by election,” it said.

“But during the colonial era, all governors were sent by London. How does London have the audacity to preach that Beijing should give Hong Kong people more democracy and freedom?” the article said.