A Chinese state-owned newspaper has used the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the US to accuse protesters in Hong Kong of terrorism.
On Monday the China Daily published on its Facebook page a doctored image of the Twin Towers burning in New York City with the caption "Anti-government fanatics are planning massive terror attacks, including blowing up gas pipes, in Hong Kong on September 11."
The Chinese government-run publication claimed the information had been leaked from a group chat on the website Telegram, and that the "terror plot encourages indiscriminate attacks on non-native speakers of Cantonese, and starting mountain fires."
Commenters were sceptical of the post, with some arguing it was disrespectful to the almost 3000 people who died on September 11, 2001 in the worst terrorist attack on US soil, reports news.com.au.
"Are you guys making fun on the 911 tragedy?" wrote one Facebook user.
"Insanely inappropriate to spread false information like this. Horribly wrong,'' said another.
In response to the China Daily report, anti-government activists fighting against increasing Chinese control in Hong Kong paused their demonstrations to pay respect to 9/11 victims.
"In solidarity against terrorism, all forms of protest in Hong Kong will be suspended on Sept. 11, apart from potential singing and chanting," they said in a statement.
On Wednesday morning (US time) loved ones of the almost 3,000 victims of the 9/11 attacks gathered at the ground zero memorial to hear their names being read out.
Exactly 18 years before, unimaginable horror struck America when four commercial flights were hijacked by terrorists and crashed into sites including the Twin Towers.
A plane was also flown into the Pentagon building in Virginia, and another was crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Hong Kong has been rocked by pro-democracy protests for months, spurred initially by resistance to a bill that would allow residents to be extradited to mainland China.