The US State Department has questioned Beijing's commitment to the ‘one country, two-systems’ principle saying it says one thing, but practises another when it comes to the SAR's autonomy.
The State Department said Beijing had publicly and frequently reiterated its commitment to "One Country Two Systems" but its statements and actions were inconsistent with the commitment to the SAR's high degree of autonomy.
It made the comment in its latest policy report, which is issued under a 1992 law to allow the US treat the SAR separately from the mainland for matters concerning trade export and economics control after 1997.
Among the examples the report gave were the stipulation that a law criminalising abuse of the national anthem or flag be adopted by Hong Kong and the approval of a plan to place mainland security agents and apply mainland law at the West Kowloon terminus of the express rail link.
It also cited the barring of British human rights activist Benedict Rogers from entering Hong Kong.
However, the US said Hong Kong still generally enjoyed a high degree of autonomy in most areas, and this was more than sufficient to justify the city's continued special treatment.
The SAR government has rejected the State Department’s comments, saying Hong Kong had been exercising a high degree of autonomy since the handover and Hong Kong people were administering the SAR "in strict accordance with the basic law".
"This demonstrates the full and successful implementation of the 'one country, two systems' principle, which has been widely recognised by the international community," it said in a statement issued on Tuesday night.
"Foreign governments should not interfere in any form in the internal affairs of the HKSAR."