China backs Hong Kong's crackdown on 'illegal' pro-democracy protests
Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong (AFP)

China on Tuesday described major pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong as illegal, adding that it supports the Hong Kong government's handling of the protests.

"We fully believe in and support the Hong Kong SAR government to deal with this issue," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing.

Hua said that beginning Sunday "an illegal assembly" was held in Hong Kong followed by "a series of illegal activities damaging the rule of law."

"We oppose all illegal acts in Hong Kong," she added.

Hua chided countries including the United States and Britain for making statements on the demonstrations.

"Hong Kong affairs fall within China's domestic affairs," she said. "We urge caution to outside parties and call for them not to interfere with China's internal affairs in any way."

Britain on Monday voiced concern about the escalating protests in Hong Kong and called for "constructive" talks, while the United States asked Hong Kong's leaders to show restraint and said it had made its support for universal suffrage in the territory known to Beijing.