US: World is watching how China handles Hong Kong
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US: World is watching how China handles Hong Kong

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States says the world is watching how China deals with Hong Kong and its commitments to preserve freedoms there.

Top diplomat for East Asia, Daniel Russel, told a Senate panel Wednesday the U.S. supports the right of citizens of the semi-autonomous Chinese city to a free election for its chief executive in 2017.

He denied Chinese allegations that the U.S. has helped foment two months of pro-democracy protests. He said demonstrations weren’t driven by outsiders but by Hong Kong people speaking out about their future.

Russel’s comments came as three founders of the civil disobedience campaign surrendered to Hong Kong police and called for an end to the increasingly violent street demonstrations. Students are still occupying two sites.

Russel called for all sides to exercise restraint and lower tensions.