China yesterday said it would not allow discussion of Hong Kong at the G20 summit this week even as US President Donald Trump plans to raise the mass protests during his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
The semi-autonomous territory has been shaken by huge demonstrations this month with protesters demanding the withdrawal of a bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.
Trump has weighed in on Hong Kong’s worst political unrest since its handover from Britain to China in 1997, saying he understood the reason for the protests and hoped demonstrators can “work it out with China.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later said Trump would discuss Hong Kong with Xi at the summit, which is to take place in Osaka, Japan, on Friday and Saturday.
However, Chinese Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Jun (張軍) said the G20 is a forum to focus on global economic issues.
“I can tell you with certainty that the G20 will not discuss the Hong Kong issue and we will not allow the G20 to discuss the Hong Kong issue,” Zhang said at a press briefing previewing Xi’s attendance at the summit.
“Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs and no foreign country has the right to intervene,” he said.
In Hong Kong, about 100 protesters yesterday blocked access to a government office in Wan Chai District for nearly two hours.
Earlier, one of the main protest groups announced a demonstration tomorrow to try to draw the attention of world leaders attending the summit.
The leaders of the Civil Human Rights Front said they hope the world leaders meeting in Osaka would hear the protesters’ concerns over the weakening of the territory’s legal autonomy by mainland China.
Kelvin Ho, one of the group’s leaders, said the protest was meant to “urge the international community to give stress on Beijing that we need democracy.”
Joshua Wong (黃之鋒), another activist who helped galvanize mass pro-democracy protests in 2014, said on Twitter that he was urging his followers to join tomorrow’s protest.
Pro-democracy activists and legislators and others critical of the extradition bill have insisted they are not satisfied with apologies from the authorities over the handling of the unpopular legislation and over police moves during protests that many Hong Kong residents considered overly aggressive.
Bonnie Leung (梁穎敏), another Civil Human Rights Front leader, said the extradition bill, which has been indefinitely shelved for now, would affect not just Hong Kong residents, but potentially anyone visiting the territory.
“The whole world who have connection with HK would be stakeholders,” she said. “This is not about a power struggle. This is about the values that make the world a better place, such as the rule of law.”
“If you also treasure these values, please speak up and do speak up before it is too late,” she said.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥), who has apologized over the controversy, but refused calls to step down, said the legislation was needed to ensure criminals would not use the territory to evade capture and to meet international standards, such as rules against money laundering.
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