China must stop publishing its "dangerous" media reports involving the American diplomat who met with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, the United States said on Friday.
"Official Chinese media reports on our diplomat in Hong Kong have gone from irresponsible to dangerous. This must stop. Chinese authorities know full well, our accredited consular personnel are just doing their jobs, just like diplomats from every other country," US State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a series of tweets.
In a stern warning to China, Ortagus stressed that Beijing must respect the American diplomats and consular officers and protect them from any attack under the Vienna Conventions.
"China has a long record of broken commitments; it's their duty under the Vienna Conventions, to which China is a party, to treat our diplomats and consular officers with due respect and take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on their person, freedom or dignity," she said.
"Foreign diplomats in the United States, including Chinese ones, enjoy open access to all elements of American politics, civil society, academia, and business," read another tweet from Ortagus.
On Thursday, the US branded China a "thuggish regime" after Beijing released personal information of the American diplomat who met with pro-democracy leaders in Hong Kong.
Washington's reaction came after local media reports emerged that a US official from the American consulate general in Hong Kong had met with a local "independence group". Following this, China warned American diplomats in Hong Kong to not interfere in the city's internal affairs.
A newspaper based in Hong Kong had reportedly published a photograph of the American diplomat meeting with protesters of the city's pro-democracy movement.
Since June, Hong Kong has seen nine consecutive weeks of anti-government protests that began against a now-suspended extradition bill, which have since broadened to include calls for democracy and police accountability.
Multiple protests sometimes violent continue to take place in the semi-autonomous state despite the city's pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam publicly apologising for proposing the controversial legislation and announcing later that the bill was "dead".
( With inputs from ANI )