Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam hasn't ruled out the possibility that a foreign country has funded political protests that have roiled the city-state over the last nine months.
Asked by CNBC's Geoff Cutmore on Tuesday about who might be backing the demonstrators, who have appeared to be well organized, she said: "Well, I have no conclusive evidence to answer your question, but it is for all to see that what has happened in Hong Kong on this occasion has attracted disproportionate commentary from Western media, from overseas governments and politicians."
"At the same time we have seen riots taking place in other parts of the world, but the disproportionate reporting of Hong Kong has been assessed by an agency on fair reporting in the United States," she said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Several Chinese media reports have pointed to a report by FAIR, a media critique organization based in New York, which was released in December.
"And I do feel that perhaps there is something at work, although I said there hasn't been any conclusive evidence, so there is a bigger picture other than the domestic situation," Lam said.
Political tensions in Hong Kong have escalated over a controversial extradition bill, which has now been dropped, that would have allowed those arrested in the territory to be sent to mainland China for trial.
Hong Kong citizens were concerned that their civil rights could be slowly eroded under Beijing, but protests in the country have since grown to tie in broader areas of frustration. A recent rally on Sunday once again turned violent.
In July last year, China and the United Kingdom became embroiled in a diplomatic spat after Beijing criticized the British government for "gross interference" in the Hong Kong protests.
Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to the U.K., said the British government had "issued inappropriate statements, intervened in Hong Kong affairs and encouraged violent lawbreakers," according to a CNBC translation. This came after then Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt said the territory's government should "listen to the legitimate concerns of the people of Hong Kong about their freedoms."
Hong Kong is a former British colony that was handed back to Chinese rule in 1997.
— CNBC's Grace Shao contributed to this article.