Pompeo says China trying to muzzle Hong Kong by preventing Tiananmen vigil

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (pictured November 2018), who had earlier denounced China for preventing Hong Kong's annual commemoration, tweeted a photo of his meeting with Tiananmen Square survivors (AFP Photo/MANDEL NGAN)

The United States on Tuesday accused China of muzzling Hong Kong by preventing a vigil to mark the Tiananmen Square protests, amid a heated feud between Washington and Beijing over the city's freedoms

"If there is any doubt about Beijing's intent, it is to deny Hong Kongers a voice and a choice, making them the same as mainlanders. So much for two systems," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on Twitter.

Hong Kong authorities effectively barred the annual commemoration of the bloody 1989 crackdown -- a major gathering in contrast to the imposed silence on the mainland -- by extending a ban on gatherings to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

"We urge Hong Kong authorities to allow people to peacefully remember the Chinese Communist Party's victims," said the State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus.

Pompeo last week certified that Hong Kong no longer was autonomous from China under US law after Beijing pushed ahead on a controversial new security law.

Hong Kong's pro-Beijing leader, Carrie Lam, earlier Monday accused the United States of "double standards" as President Donald Trump orders the use of force to disperse demonstrators against racial abuse.