The top U.S. and Chinese diplomats are publicly airing differences over the protests in Hong Kong, where students want democratic changes to the electoral system.
Secretary of State John Kerry met Wednesday at the State Department with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (yee).
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Kerry said the U.S. supports the "highest possible degree of autonomy" in Hong Kong. He hoped Hong Kong authorities will exercise restraint and allow the protesters to express their views peacefully.
Wang said the protests are "China's internal affairs" and called on other countries to respect its sovereignty. He said no country would allow "illegal acts" violating public order.
The mass protests pose the stiffest challenge yet to Beijing's authority since China took control of the former British colony in 1997.