China says U.S.'s Pompeo 'blackmailing' Hong Kong government

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the media at the State Department in Washington

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Thursday U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is "blackmailing" the Hong Kong government with the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act and that Washington's recent actions amount to blatant interference on China's internal affairs.

Pompeo said on Wednesday the recent treatment of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong makes it harder to assess whether the territory remains highly autonomous from China, a requirement for special treatments the city gets under American law.

A spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry's office of the commissioner to Hong Kong said in a statement Pompeo's actions cannot scare the Chinese people and that Beijing will safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests.

(Reporting by Huizhong Wu and Lusha Zhang; Writing by Se Young Lee; Editing by Tom Hogue)