China has hit back at proposed US legislation to ban the sale of tear gas and other riot control equipment to Hong Kong, accusing the Americans of “sheer hypocrisy and double standards”.

In sarcastic remarks at a regular Beijing press briefing on Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying described US government and police handling of previous domestic demonstrations as “impressive”, with examples which included last month’s Portland protests as well as Baltimore in 2015 and Occupy Wall Street in 2011.

“If violent crimes similar to those in Hong Kong take place in the US, would those American Congress people maintain the same level of ‘benevolence’? I wonder if the US congressmen want to use the anti-riot equipment inside the US for their own use?”

Hua was responding to the announcement by US congressional representatives on Tuesday of a PROTECT Hong Kong Act , which would prohibit US companies from exporting so-called non-lethal crowd control items like tear gas – as well as defence articles and services – to Hong Kong, where the local police force is facing growing criticism for its response to protests.