LONDON/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand expressed grave concern over the erosion of democracy in Hong Kong in a joint statement issued on Monday following Legislative Council elections in the former British province.
"We, the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and the United States Secretary of State, noting the outcome of the Legislative Council elections in Hong Kong, express our grave concern over the erosion of democratic elements of the Special Administrative Region’s electoral system," the statement said.
A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Britain called the comments "irresponsible" and said they distorted facts and maliciously discredited the election, which "gravely interfered in China’s internal affairs and violated the basic norms governing international relations."
"The Chinese side expresses firm opposition and strong condemnation," the spokesperson said in a statement on the embassy's website.
(Reporting by William James and Zhang Yan; editing by James Davey and Sonya Hepinstall)