China demanded that US diplomats based in Hong Kong "stop interfering" in the city's affairs on Thursday 8th July, after reports were leaked that they had met pro-democracy activists, prompting a furious response from Washington.
China cited local media reports that a US official from Hong Kong's US Consulate General had met a local "independence group", which promoted China's Foreign Ministry to express "strong dissatisfaction" with the US authorities, AFP has reported.
In a statement on Thursday, 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."
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, of the US consulate’s political section in Hong Kong.
Speaking to reporters in Washington, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus rejected China's claims and accused it of leaking personal details of their diplomat. "I don't think that that's a formal protest, that is what a thuggish regime would do," she said. "That is not how a responsible nation would behave."