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China Demands US Diplomats Stop Meddling in Hong Kong's Affairs

Protesters march past the U.S. Consulate to deliver a petition asking for support to oppose a proposed law that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland, in Hong Kong, June 26, 2019.

China has demanded that U.S. diplomats based in Hong Kong stop meddling in matters involving the city after a diplomat reportedly met with pro-democracy activists.

The foreign ministry said Thursday it expressed "strong dissatisfaction" with U.S. officials over a U.S. consulate official's reported meeting with a local "independence group."

The ministry called on the the U.S. consulate to "immediately make a clean break with various anti-China rioters" and to "stop interfering in Hong Kong's affairs immediately."

The Hong Kong newspaper Takungpao reported U.S. Consulate General political counselor Julie Eadeh met with members of the pro-democracy political party Demosisto, including prominent activist Joshua Wong.

A U.S. State Department spokesperson told AFP representatives of the U.S. government "meet regularly with a wide cross section of people across Hong Kong and Macau."

China has claimed the anti-government protests in Hong Kong are funded by the West, but has failed to produce evidence other than supportive statements from some Western politicians.

Tensions in the semi-autonomous region are high after two months of protests that have sometimes turned violent.

The unrest was initially triggered in June by a planned bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to China to face trial.

The protests have since evolved into a movement for democratic reforms.

Demosisto maintains it is fighting for more self-determination for Hong Kong and not independence.