The British government looks set to follow the example of the US, Canada and Australia and suspend the UK's extradition treaty with Hong Kong - a move that would infuriate China.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is to set out further measures in response to China's imposition of a tough new national security law on Hong Kong amid growing tensions with Beijing.
Raab confirmed at the weekend that he had completed a review of Britain's extradition arrangements as part of the next steps.
China was already smarting over the government's decision last week to exclude the tech giant Huawei from the UK's 5G network - reversing a decision in January allowing it a limited role.
Raab threatened to pour further fuel on flames, accusing the communist regime of committing "gross, egregious human rights abuses" against the country's Uighur population in the north-western Xinjiang province.
The Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, said Beijing was still evaluating its response to the Huawei ruling.
There were reports at the weekend that the the Chinese social media company TikTok had broken off talks to open a global headquarters in Britain.
Communist Party officials were also reported to have warned UK companies operating in China, including Jaguar Land Rover, BP and GlaxoSmithKline, that they could now face retaliation.
Liu warned Britain not to get drawn into a "tit-for-tat" confrontation in the way the US had, imposing sanctions on Chinese officials over alleged abuses in Xinjiang, prompting Beijing to sanction a number of US senators and officials.
Raab played down suggestions any such measures were imminent under the UK's new independent sanctions regime, saying that it took a long time to build a case against any alleged abusers.
He insisted also that Britain wanted a "positive relationship" with China, working with it on issues like climate change as well as trade and investment.
In a combative BBC interview on Sunday, Liu denounced Britain for "dancing to the tune" of the US.
He also rejected allegations of widespread abuses against the mainly-Muslim Uighur people, accusing "so-called Western intelligence" of making repeated "false allegations" against China.
He suggested video footage, said to be from Xinjiang, showing men, kneeling and blindfolded waiting to be led onto trains by police officers was "fake".