USA calls China 'thuggish regime' after Beijing protests diplomat's opposition meeting

USA calls China 'thuggish regime' after Beijing protests diplomat's opposition meeting

"You would easily imagine that within that 27,000 we have virtually every opinion on every issue. we certainly wouldn't dream of telling them what they have to think about something".

The Hong Kong office of China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday asked the United States to explain reports in Communist Party-controlled media that US diplomats were in contact with student leaders of protests that have convulsed Hong Kong for nine weeks.

As tensions between police and protesters have recently escalated, leading to some violent confrontations, several countries, including the United States, the U.K., and Australia, have issued travel warnings for those citizens planning to visit Hong Kong.

As Hong Kong demonstrators enter their 10th consecutive weekend of protests, the former USA ambassador to China warned Beijing against interference, saying that could escalate tensions across the Strait.

Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao published a photograph of a USA diplomat, who it identified as Julie Eadeh of the consulate's political section, talking with student leaders in the lobby of a luxury hotel.

Hong Kong's embattled and deeply unpopular leader, Carrie Lam, appeared in public for the first time in two weeks on Monday, condemning the protesters and saying that they had pushed the territory "to the verge of a very unsafe situation".

China's aviation regulator demanded Friday that Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific carrier prevent staff who have supported the protests from working on flights going through Chinese airspace or arriving in the mainland.

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam on Friday ruled out concessions to "silence the violent protesters", as pro-democracy activists who have staged months of demonstrations rallied at the city's airport.

The airport sit-in is the second time the demonstrators have brought their message to the busy travel hub, hoping to garner support from global arrivals.

Hong Kong buckled under a general strike on Monday followed by the most widespread and sustained clashes so far at more than a dozen locations.

Protesters demonstrate at the airport in Hong Kong on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019.

A pro-Beijing newspaper published a report on Thursday, including photos and details, about Julie Eadeh, the political unit chief of the US consulate general in Hong Kong, meeting with Joshua Wong, one of the protest movement's leaders, and others.

The government of Hong Kong slammed the professor's claims and the surrounding rumors in a Thursday press release, saying the allegation of Beijing reinforcements was "absolutely unfounded and was a complete fabrication".

Some passengers arriving at the airport stopped to take photos or look at leaflets being handed out by the demonstrators.

"We have to tell children about the current situation in Hong Kong, and educate them about what the right kind of society is", Lai told AFP.

Faye Lai was attending with her three-year-old niece and said she hoped the rally would help children understand the tumult that has engulfed the worldwide financial hub in recent weeks.

Lau oversaw the response to pro-democracy protests five years ago in which police were accused of using excessive force.

"They are not aggressive at all. Very genuine", she said.

The protests, in which police have fired teargas and rubber bullets, began over a draft law that would have allowed the extradition of suspects to mainland courts.

Around 100 protesters gathered to burn paper money featuring caricatures of Lam and emblazoned with the logo "Hell Bank Note" as others looked on.

One protester, Ms Charlotte Lam, 16, told Reuters: "It will be a peaceful protest as long as the police do not show up".

Further protests are planned for the weekend.



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