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China says only it can rule on Hong Kong constitution

China says only it can rule on Hong Kong constitution
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Beijing: China insisted Tuesday it alone held the authority to rule on constitutional matters in Hong Kong, as it condemned a decision by the city's high court to overturn a ban on face masks worn by pro-democracy protesters.

The statement raised hackles among activists in Hong Kong after months of violent protests over concerns that Beijing is chipping away at the autonomy of the financial hub.

The ban on face-covering came into force in October, when the city's unelected pro-Beijing leader invoked colonial-era legislation for the first time in more than 50 years.

The move was seen as a watershed legal moment for the city since its 1997 return by Britain to China -- but has been largely symbolic.

The city's high court ruled on Monday that the government ban on face masks was unconstitutional. But Beijing said the judicial branch of the special administrative region had overreached.

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