Thousands gathered at Edinburgh Place on Wednesday evening calling on G20 countries to raise concerns about Hong Kong at the leaders’ summit on Friday, hours after staging a mass march to foreign consulates to lobby country representatives directly.
Crowds wearing all-black spilt out of the public square, many holding signs that read “Free Hong Kong” and “Democracy Now.”
Organisers, the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), issued a statement urging a withdrawal of the government’s suspended extradition bill.
“If you believe in values like democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law like we do, please, we urge all of you to voice out during the G20 summit, and defend our rights together with Hong Kong people,” it read.
The pro-democracy coalition have led millions on marches over recent weeks against the bill, as demands have evolved into calling for universal suffrage ahead of the July 1 pro-democracy rally.
”List of protesters’ demands – CLICK TO VIEW“
1. Complete withdrawal of the extradition bill.
2. Accountability over the police’s decision to shoot rubber bullets and bean bags at protesters on June 12.
3. Release arrested protesters and withdraw all charges.
4. Withdraw all characterisations of the June 12 protest as a “riot.”
5. Lam to resign as Chief Executive.
Outside City Hall, Baggio Leung, Tony Chung from Student Localism and activist Joe Yeung called on people to surround police headquarters in Wan Chai after the CHRF protest.
”CHRF manifesto – CLICK TO VIEW“
Withdraw the Extradition Bill! Free Hong Kong!
A time when democracy and freedom are universal values that are inviolable.
Hong Kong people had urged for democratisation for over 30 years. When Hong Kong was handed over to China since 1997, as written in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, China promised that Hong Kong can enjoy One Country Two Systems and a high degree of autonomy. The Basic Law also promised universal suffrage to be implemented in the year of 2007 to 2008. But China broke these promises, and gradually intervened deeply in Hong Kong’s internal affairs.
Hong Kong people have always insisted on having universal suffrage – to let Hong Kong people rule Hong Kong. Unfortunately, we seem to be further and further away from genuine democracy. In merely 22 years after the hand-over, the One Country Two Systems principle barely survives. During the [legislative] process of the “Extradition Bill”, the Hong Kong Liaison Office blatantly intervened in Hong Kong’s internal affairs and scrapped the promises of [a] high degree of autonomy.
This year, the government decided to put the Extradition Bill through Legislative Council, in order to make all people in Hong Kong, including local citizens and expats, to be potentially extradited to China, or to countries which have less protection on human rights and the rule of law. This will destroy existing protection on human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong and will crack down the last defence to freedom and safety.
In our current political system, Hong Kong does not have genuine democracy. To stop this evil law from passing, 1.03 million followed by 2 million Hongkongers courageously took to the streets in the past two weeks. Some were even cracked down by the police with excessive, disproportionate force and lethal weapons. But the government only gave a shallow apology, without making any tangible changes.
As world leaders meet at the G20 summit, Hong Kong citizens now sincerely urge all of you, including Xi Jinping, to answer our humble questions: Does Hong Kong deserve democracy? Should Hong Kong people enjoy democracy? Can [a] democratic system be implemented in Hong Kong now?
Dear friends from around the world. I believe you have seen through media and the Internet, that Hongkongers spared no efforts to safeguard our freedom. Please bear in mind: if the Extradition Bill passes, when you come to Hong Kong to travel, study or for business, you may face unfair trials. If you believe in values like democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law like we do, please, we urge all of you to voice out, during the G20 summit and defend our rights together with Hong Kong people.
Josephine Ho, a 39-year-old games designer, told HKFP she thinks it is important for foreign governments with business interests in Hong Kong to voice their concerns about the city in the upcoming G20 summit: “Hong Kong is an international city and fundamental rights are very crucial to everyone here,” she said.
Yuen Chang, 50, also told HKFP she has attended the past few anti-extradition bill rallies and welcomes the international attention, saying she hopes G20 countries will speak up on behalf of Hong Kong.
Protesters wielding placards saying “free Hong Kong” have filled the waterfront area near the Central Post Office, with crowds stretching eastwards towards the legislature. pic.twitter.com/uRtCZYx2wp
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) June 26, 2019
“Even though I’m near the back and I can’t hear much of what [the speakers] are saying, I think it’s still important to come out and show my support,” Chang said. “It is not enough for the government to suspend the bill, they must withdraw it entirely.”
The government proposed legal amendments in February that would enable the chief executive and local courts to handle case-by-case fugitive transfer requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreements, most notably China.
The bill was suspended on June 15, though protesters have called for its complete withdrawal.
China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang warned earlier on Wednesday against foreign countries interfering with its internal affairs, adding that the government would oppose the topic of Hong Kong’s protests being brought up at the G20 summit.
“China will certainly not agree to G20 discussing Hong Kong affairs. This is entirely China’s internal affair,” he said.
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.