President Emmanuel Macron says "he was monitoring the (Hong Kong) situation closely and reiterated France's support for the principle of "one country, two systems".

Hong Kong was discussed during an hour and a half phone call on Friday between French President Macron and Chinese President Xi, a French official says.
Hong Kong was discussed during an hour and a half phone call on Friday between French President Macron and Chinese President Xi, a French official says. (Reuters)

French President Emmanuel Macron has told Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping he is following events in Hong Kong closely and continues to back the "one country, two systems" principle for Beijing's rule over the city, an Elysee official said on Saturday.

"The President said he was monitoring the (Hong Kong) situation closely and reiterated France's support for the principle of 'one country, two systems'," the official told Reuters news agency.

China has approved security legislation for Hong Kong that democracy activists, diplomats and some in business say will jeopardise its semi-autonomous status and its role as a global financial hub.

China denies such fears. 

China says the anti-subversion law is needed to tackle "terrorism" and "separatism".

Opponents fear it will bring mainland-style political oppression to a business hub supposedly guaranteed freedoms and autonomy for 50 years after its 1997 handover to China by then colonial Britain.

'Grave concern'

The legislation has reignited tensions between Washington and Beijing, and led the European Union to express "grave concern" last week.

Hong Kong was discussed during an hour and a half phone call on Friday between Macron and Xi, the official said.

The Elysee had reported the call in a statement late on Friday without mentioning Hong Kong.

The statement also referred to cooperation in tackling the coronavirus pandemic, saying Macron stressed the essential role of the World Health Organization, blamed by Washington for mishandling the crisis. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies