BEIJING: China on Thursday (Aug 8) demanded that US diplomats based in Hong Kong "stop interfering" in the city's affairs, after reports that they met with pro-democracy activists.
The foreign ministry said it had expressed "strong dissatisfaction" with US authorities, citing local media reports that a US official from Hong Kong's US consulate general had met with a local "independence group".
In a statement, the ministry urged the diplomatic office to "immediately make a clean break with various anti-China rioters" and "stop interfering in Hong Kong's affairs immediately".
A report in Hong Kong newspaper Takungpao said there had been a meeting between members of the political party Demosisto - including prominent democracy activist Joshua Wong - and Julie Eadeh, political unit chief of the US consulate general in Hong Kong.
When contacted by AFP for comment, a State Department spokesperson said representatives of the US government "meet regularly with a wide cross section of people across Hong Kong and Macau".
"For example, the day of this particular meeting, our diplomats also met with both pro-establishment and pan-democratic camp legislators, as well as members of the American business community and the consular corps," said the spokesperson.
Demosisto says it campaigns for more self-determination for Hong Kong but not independence.
Tensions are high in Hong Kong after two months of protests triggered by opposition to a now-suspended extradition Bill that would have allowed suspects to be tried in mainland courts.
Protests then grew grown into a broader backlash against the city's government and its political masters in Beijing.
As protesters announced three days of new demonstrations at Hong Kong International Airport from Friday, Washington warned US citizens to "exercise increased caution" when travelling to the city.
"The protests and confrontations have spilled over into neighbourhoods other than those where the police have permitted marches or rallies," said an advisory on the website of the US Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau.
"These demonstrations, which can take place with little or no notice, are likely to continue," it said.