Beijing on Monday lashed out at the United States for voicing alarm over the jailing of leaders of Hong Kong's democracy movement, calling Washington's comments "gross interference".
Four prominent activists were last week jailed for their role in the 2014 Umbrella Movement protests, which called for universal suffrage and democracy.
The US State Department on Friday said it was "disappointed" by the jailing and called on the city to respect residents' rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.
"We expressed strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to these comments," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in Beijing.
"China urges the US to respect China's sovereignty, respect the rule of law in Hong Kong, respect the judicial independence that the US claims is important, and stop interfering in Hong Kong's internal affairs in any form," Geng said.
"It is a gross interference in China's internal affairs and the internal affairs of the Hong Kong SAR."
The United States last week also voiced concern over Hong Kong's plans for new extradition laws, under which SAR residents could end up before courts on the mainland.
Geng defended the policy, calling it necessary to avoid the city turning into a "sanctuary" for fugitives. (AFP)
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