Over HK$5 million has been raised through a crowdfunding campaign to place front-page newspaper ads in international newspapers urging readers to pressure G20 leaders to act over the city’s extradition law crisis. The fundraiser achieved its original HK$3 million goal within hours on Tuesday, as over 20,000 donors made contributions.
The organiser of the campaign said a frontpage space has already been booked with the Financial Times this Thursday, ahead of Friday’s G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. However, Beijing has said that it will not allow discussion of the Hong Kong issue during the meeting.
The campaign was launched on Monday saying that a frontpage space below the fold on the Financial Times would cost £14,980 (HK$149,019). The campaign also seeks to raise funds for slots on the frontpages of newspapers in the US, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan, among others.
The extradition bill was first proposed in February to allow the city to handle case-by-case extradition requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreement. However, there have been mass protests and widespread criticism over the risk of residents being extradited to mainland China, which lacks human rights protections. The bill was suspended after huge demonstrations, but not axed.
Protesters have demanded the government to withdraw the bill entirely, form an independent inquiry to investigate alleged police brutality, retract the characterisation of the June 12 protest as a “riot,” release all arrested protesters.
The ad will consist of an open letter asking foreign nationals to put pressure on their governments ahead of the G20 meeting which will be attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Hong Kong finance chief Paul Chan.
“We now need your support: get our voices heard at your governments and consulates; let freedom prevail at the upcoming G20 summit and beyond. We can be saved, if you act now,” it said.
The letter will be signed “Hong Kong Citizens, Vanguards of Freedom.”
The organiser said that any extra funds not used for buying ad space will be given to a fund to help those injured or arrested during the June 12 protest.
More protests against the extradition bill have been planned ahead of the G20. In Hong Kong, demonstrators are set to gather at Chater Garden at 9am on Wednesday. They plan to walk to 19 foreign consulates to summit petition letters, urging them to pressure Xi Jinping. Meanwhile, Hong Kong and Japanese students are set to rally in Osaka on Thursday.
The Hong Kong Free Press #PressForFreedom 2019 Funding Drive seeks to raise HK$1.2m to support our non-profit newsroom and dedicated team of multi-media, multi-lingual reporters. HKFP is backed by readers, run by journalists and is immune to political and commercial pressure. This year’s critical fundraiser will provide us with the essential funds to continue our work into next year.