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.