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Aust flags 'concerns' about HK law change

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has urged protesters and Hong Kong authorities to avoid further violence amid concerns over new extradition laws that have sparked a civilian uprising.

At least 72 people have been taken to hospitals in Hong Kong after massive protests over the law, which would allow suspected criminals to be sent to the Chinese mainland, escalated.

The federal government has a "substantial interest" in Hong Kong, which is home to one of Australia's biggest expatriate communities and Australian-backed businesses.

"Australia supports the right of people to protest peacefully and to exercise their freedom of speech, and we urge all sides to show restraint and avoid violence," she said.

However, Australia's Consul-General in Hong Kong has raised concerns about the proposed laws at "senior levels" within the Beijing-backed government.

"The Australian government believes it is important that any changes to Hong Kong's extradition arrangements are ... resolved in a way that fully respects Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and upholds the rights and freedoms enshrined in Hong Kong's Basic Law under the 'one country, two systems' framework," Senator Payne said in a statement.

The legal changes would allow the extradition of people, including Australians living or travelling through Hong Kong, to mainland China for suspected criminal acts.

Hong Kong Police used rubber bullets and tear gas on protesters, who have vowed to continue fighting the proposed bill.

Australia has updated its travel advice for Hong Kong, telling its citizens to avoid large public gatherings.

Control of the former British territory was handed to China in 1997.

© AAP 2019