China tells U.S. diplomats in Hong Kong to stop interfering


The protests, however, were not abating, and more are planned for this weekend, including at the airport, where protesters holding signs staged a sit-in at the arrival and departure halls Friday. Protesters say police were slow to protect them.

"All we want is justice and all we want is consistency", said prominent lawyer Kevin Yam, who also protested.

Protesters in Hong Kong are demanding a complete withdrawal of the extradition bill.

The protests were triggered by a controversial bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, where the Communist party controls the courts, but have since evolved into a broader pro-democracy movement. Rallies across the city that Monday ended in chaos with more than 148 people arrested and 800 canisters of tear gas fired in the largest single-day crackdown to date.

Underlying the movement is a push for full democracy in the city, whose leader is chosen by a committee dominated by a pro-Beijing establishment rather than by direct elections.

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

A man carries an umbrella reading "Hold Up Freedom; Oppose Evil Bill" as protesters take part in the anti-extradition bill protests march in Hong Kong, on August 4, 2019. Independent booksellers have disappeared from the city, before reappearing in mainland China facing charges.

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

The government has suspended the extradition bill, but failed to fully withdraw it, and demonstrations have become increasingly violent in recent weeks.

For nine weeks now, anti-government rallies have frequently ended in violent clashes with police - and some would-be visitors are concerned the city may be more unsafe than before.

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Beijing has ramped up its accusations that foreign countries are "fanning the fire" of unrest in the city.

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

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Extra security measures have been put in place at the airport ahead of the rallies, with authorities preventing anyone without a boarding pass from entering the check-in area.

Washington advised US citizens to "exercise increased caution" due to the volatile nature of the protests, some of which have "turned confrontational or resulted in violent clashes".

Demosisto says it campaigns for more self-determination for Hong Kong but not independence.

The government on Thursday said tourist arrivals dropped 26% at the end of last month compared to a year ago and were continuing to fall in August. The travel industry accounts for 4.5% of the financial hub's economy and employs about 2500,000 people, or about 7% of the total working population.

The impact could be as bad or worse than occurred during the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, Travel Industry Council chairman Jason Wong Chun-tat was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post. Wong said cancellations could cause hotel revenues in August to drop by 40% against the same period a year ago.

According to news outlet Radio Free Asia (RFA), a travel agency in Shenzhen said many people in China had recently cancelled their trips to Hong Kong.

Information is strictly censored in China, and many state-media outlets have painted a picture of protesters "destroying" the city - a tactic aimed at fanning public anger against the demonstrators.