China has criticized U.S. Congress members who nominated Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy protest movement and three of its most prominent student leaders for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The 12 lawmakers, in a letter this week to the nominating committee in Oslo, said they were naming Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow and the pro-democracy movement for the prize in recognition of their “peaceful efforts to bring political reform and self-determination to Hong Kong.”

In a statement Friday, the Foreign Ministry in Beijing urged the U.S. lawmakers to “stop meddling” in Hong Kong and China’s internal affairs, saying the 2014 protests were “downright illegal.”

The letter was signed by four Democrats and eight Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Christopher Smith, who lead the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.