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Hong Kong activist goes on defensive after being photographed with US consulate official

Hong Kong activist goes on defensive after being photographed with US consulate official
A Hong Kong activist who has played an active role in the ongoing anti-Beijing protests has raised suspicions after being photographed meeting with a senior official from the US consulate.

Joshua Wong Chi-fung, the secretary-general of pro-democracy party Demosisto, told the Hong Kong Standard that there was nothing sinister behind his recent meeting with Julie Eadeh, a political unit chief of the US consulate general in Hong Kong. Their rendezvous, which was caught on camera, was quickly seized upon by pro-Beijing media.

"I even went to Washington several times, so what's so special about meeting a US consul?" Wong told the Standard.

He claimed that their discussion focused on the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act – a bill proposed in the US Congress which calls for involvement in safeguarding “democracy” in Hong Kong. The two also reportedly discussed banning US exports of equipment to Hong Kong police.

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."

On Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry expressed “strong dissatisfaction” over media reports alleging that a senior official at the US consulate had met with a Hong Kong “independence group.”

In a statement, the ministry urged Washington to "immediately make a clean break with various anti-China rioters" and "stop interfering in Hong Kong's affairs immediately."

Protests continue to rock Hong Kong, weeks after demonstrations erupted in opposition to a now-suspended extradition bill which would allow suspects to face trial in mainland China. A video that circulated on Twitter on Wednesday showed a demonstrator waving an American flag, as his comrades hurled projectiles at a Hong Kong police station.

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