In the almost six months since China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong, the relationship between the special administrative region and Britain, its former colonial master, has deteriorated greatly, with the U.K. accusing China of breaching the Sino-British Joint Declaration under which Hong Kong is meant to enjoy a high degree of autonomy for 50 years. Since then, accusations have been flying back and forth between Beijing and Hong Kong on one side and London on the other.

In fact, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab went so far as to suggest in late November that the U.K. might withdraw its judges serving on Hong Kong’s court of final appeal, a move that will greatly weaken the Hong Kong judiciary, contradicting the British claim of wanting to help Hong Kong against an oppressive China..

This position has now been clarified by the top British diplomat in Hong Kong, Consul General Andrew Heyn, in an interview he gave days before departing at the end of a four-year tenure.