Alwaght- Tensions between the US and China have over Hong Kong have been increased, as Beijing says demonstrations in its Special Administrative Region are being fueled by foreign powers, including Washington.
In the latest exchange, Washington on Friday called out Beijing-backed news outlets for sharing "dangerous" reports after a newspaper revealed personal information about an American diplomat in Hong Kong who met with student leaders of Hong Kong’s protesters.
"Official Chinese media reports on our diplomat in Hong Kong have gone from irresponsible to dangerous. This must stop," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus posted on Twitter.
Beijing has increasingly pitched the anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous city as funded by the West, at one point describing violent unrest in the city as "the work of the US."
The Hong Kong-based, pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao reported that the political unit chief of the US Consulate General in Hong Kong, Julie Eadeh, had met with members of the political party Demosisto.
It shared details on Eadeh's career as well as her family members' names.
The Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China in Hong Kong denounced Ortagus' remarks as "blatant slander against China" that had "again exposed US gangster logic."
Ortagus, however, said that "Chinese authorities know full well, our accredited consular personnel are just doing their jobs, just like diplomats from every other country."
"Foreign diplomats in the United States, including Chinese ones, enjoy open access to all elements of American politics, civil society, academia, and business," she added.
On Thursday, China demanded that US diplomats based in Hong Kong "stop interfering" in the city's affairs.
In a statement, the Chinese foreign ministry urged the US diplomatic office in Hong Kong to "immediately make a clean break with various anti-China rioters" and "stop interfering in Hong Kong's affairs immediately."
Ortagus responded at the time: "I don't think that that's a formal protest, that is what a thuggish regime would do. That is not how a responsible nation would behave."
Tensions are high in the Asian financial hub after two months of protests and clashes triggered by opposition to a planned extradition law.
Last year, the Hong Kong National Party was outlawed on the grounds it posed a security threat, the first such ban since the city was handed over from Britain to China in 1997.