On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people marched through the streets of Hong Kong to protest against a proposed law change which would allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.
On Monday, US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said "the continued erosion of the "one country, two systems" framework puts at risk Hong Kong's long-established special status in global affairs".
Beijing has backed Hong Kong's government over its controversial plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland, saying it opposes "any outside interference" in the semi-autonomous territory.
On May 16, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Hong Kong pro-democracy leader Martin Lee in Washington and expressed concerns about the bill, which the State Department says threatens Hong Kong's rule of law.
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus told a regular news briefing "the continued erosion of the "one country, two systems" framework puts at risk Hong Kong's long-established special status in global affairs".
Lam earlier on Monday defended the proposed amendments - which would allow for case-by-case extraditions to jurisdictions, including mainland China, beyond the 20 states with which Hong Kong already has treaties - as necessary to ensure the territory meets its "international obligations in terms of cross-boundary and transnational crimes". They believe it will further erode the city's freedoms and relatively independent rule of law under the "one country, two systems" arrangement.
According to Lam, the bill seeks to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a haven for fugitives and is not focused on mainland China.
The Tiananmen Square Massacre and the Hong Kong handover caused two large immigration waves to Canada. Critics say that the proposed extradition measure threatens Hong Kong's legal autonomy.
People of all ages took part.
Leaders have argued for the changes on the grounds that they will help Hong Kong uphold its global obligations.
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The protest was largely peaceful, though there were a few scuffles with police as demonstrators broke through barriers at government headquarters and briefly pushed their way into the lobby.
Hong Kong Police projected the number of protesters at closer to 240,000.
"It is not because of hope that we come out, we come out in protest so we can have hope", he said.
"We can not be in Hong Kong today, but we hope to at least do something by holding this event", she said. Chinese government officials have been reportedly pushing bills in the Hong Kong legislature that would punish "disrespect" for the Chinese national anthem, and would ban publications critical of the Chinese government or communism in general from being sold on the island. Western democracies have accused Hong Kong of failing to address issues such as money laundering and terrorist financing, Lam said.
Organisers said more than a million hit the streets but the record crowds have failed to sway chief executive Carrie Lam who has rejected calls to withdraw or delay the bill.
Human rights groups have highlighted the alleged use of torture, arbitrary detentions, forced confessions and problems accessing lawyers in China as reasons why the bill should not proceed.
But in recent years, Hong Kong's pro-Beijing leaders have taken a harder line and resisted protester demands.
"Whether or not the new law is enacted, the people of Hong Kong have made an important statement".
Prof Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at SOAS, agrees that "the odds are very much against the protesters in Hong Kong" this time. "A Hong Kong without freedom - how about we just wipe it off the map entirely and call it China?"