British National Overseas passports may not be recognised by China as a valid travel document.

The Chinese ambassador to the UK said his government may be forced to take the action in response to the UK's promise to give BNO passport holders in Hong Kong a 'path to citizenship'.

In an online conference Liu Xiaoming also set out to debunk what he said were lies and misinformation about the treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, showing videos of alleged terror offences, and success stories from people who the Chinese say attended their re-education camps.

The treatment of the Uighur minorities have been the focus of much criticism by the West, after reports emerged alleging women were being subjected to forced sterilisation and families being imprisoned in concentration camps.

The ambassador said the claims were untrue.

Mr Xioaming said: "After UK announced that they're going to change the policy on BNO, we have made a response by saying, we are considering not to recognize the BNO Passport as

a legal travel document.

"That, you know, is because of the UK taking the measure to departure from their commitments from the MOU in 1984.

"At that time, they said they are not going to give a permit to the BNO holders, and we also agreed to regard the BNO passport as legal travel document.

"Now, since they have violated their commitment, we have to make a response."

The ambassador also said the UK should not bow to pressure by 'a certain country' to 'uncouple' with China, adding that it would lose out if it treated China as an enemy.

Stopping short of directly calling out Donald Trump and the US, Mr Xiaoming said: "It’s our hope that the UK would resist the pressure and coercion from a certain country and provide an open, fair, transparent and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese investment so as to bring back the confidence of Chinese businesses in the UK.”

He added that once the Brexit and Covid-19 issues were dealt with “there will be unlimited prospects for China-UK co-operation in areas of trade, financial services, science and technology, education and healthcare”.

“It is hard to imagine a global Britain that bypasses or excludes China.

“Decoupling from China means decoupling from opportunities, decoupling from growth and decoupling from the future.”

Disputes between the UK and China over Hong Kong, tech giant Huawei and human rights abuses in Xinjiang have “seriously poisoned” relations between the two countries, he said.

The ambassador said the UK was at a “critical historical juncture” in how it wanted to treat China, adding: “China respects UK sovereignty and has never interfered in the UK’s internal affairs.

“It is important the UK will do the same – namely, respect China’s sovereignty and stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs, which are China’s internal affairs, so as to avoid further damage to the China-UK relationship.”

"We threaten nobody. We just let you know the consequences.

"People regard some of my remarks as threatening words.

"I think they quote my remarks out of context.

"But, if you do not want to be our partners and our friends, you want to treat China as a hostile country, you will pay the price.

"That means you will lose the benefits of treating China as opportunities, as friends, and you will bear the consequences of treating China as a hostile country.”

Earlier this month Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the UK would withdraw its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, while the Digital secretary Oliver Dowden announced that Huawei technology would not be used to provide the UK's 5G phone network.

All existing 5G equipment by Huawei is to be removed by 2027, and companies will be banned from buying new equipment after December this year.

Mr Dowden said the decision would have an impact on everyone in the country, and would delay the rollout of 5G by up to three years, costing billions of pounds extra.