The United States has called China's moves to change the Hong Kong electoral system a direct attack on its autonomy and democratic processes and says Washington is working at "galvanising collective action" against Chinese rights abuses.
Earlier on Friday, Beijing proposed legislation that would tighten its increasingly authoritarian grip on Hong Kong by making changes to the electoral committee that chooses the city's leader, giving it new power to nominate legislative candidates.
The measure, set to be approved during a week-long session of China's rubber-stamp parliament, would further marginalise a democratic opposition decimated after Beijing imposed national security legislation following anti-government protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2019.
The United States condemns China's "continuing assault on democratic institutions in Hong Kong," State Department spokesman Ned Price told a regular news briefing.
Price called Beijing's moves "a direct attack on Hong Kong's autonomy ... freedoms and the democratic processes".
"If implemented these measures would drastically undermine Hong Kong democratic institutions," he said.
Price said Washington was working to rally allies and partners to speak with one voice in condemning China's abuses against minority Muslims in Xinjiang and the "repression" taking place in Hong Kong.
Australian Associated Press