As protests in Hong Kong against a controversial extradition bill continue, a great deal of attention is now being paid to how world leaders will respond to the demands of Hongkongers at the upcoming G-20 summit.
The G-20 is an international forum of cooperation, with an annual summit attended by government representatives and central bank governors from the European Union and 19 other countries, including Canada, China, Japan, the UK, and the United States.
The summit has been an annual event since 2011. This year, the forum will be held in Osaka, Japan, on June 28 and 29.
Hong Kong protesters recently decided that they will raise their voices to the G-20 summit in the hopes that their concerns about their government’s extradition bill are considered in discussions between heads of state.
The Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), an umbrella body of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy groups, announced on June 21 that it would organize another rally to be held at Hong Kong’s Edinburgh Place on June 26, according to the event’s Facebook page.
“Before this important event on the international stage, we should rally again to deal another blow to Carrie Lam! Hongkongers, stand firm!” the post read.
The one-hour rally is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. local time.
The CHRF was responsible for organizing the two mass protest marches seen in the last few weeks, with the most recent one on June 16 drawing about 2 million participants in a city of 7.5 million people. It was the biggest protest in Hong Kong history.
The umbrella body has demanded that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam withdraw her government bill completely from the pro-Beijing majority legislative council (LegCo) and step down.
Many Hong Kongers remain worried that if the bill were to pass through the LegCo, Beijing could potentially pressure the city government to hand over citizens of any nationality to face trial in the communist Chinese regime’s courts under false pretenses.
Martin Patzelt, a member of the governing Christian Democrat Union and the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid in the German Parliament, called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to raise the discontent surrounding the Hong Kong extradition bill with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit.
Patzelt made the comments following a meeting with two of Hong Kong’s anti-Chinese Communist Party (CCP) activists, Ray Wong Toi-yeung and Alan Li Tung-sing, on June 20, according to UK-based human rights organization Hong Kong Watch. The two activists were granted political asylum by the German government in May.
“The young demonstrators who blocked the adoption of the extradition law on 12 June are the defenders of freedom and should be praised for their great courage and remarkable political commitment in the face of the threat of their freedom being restricted,” Patzelt stated.
On June 12, peaceful protests descended into chaos at around 3 p.m. local time, after some protesters attempted to break through police lines outside the LegCo building in Admiralty. After pushing back against those protesters, local police used tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and bean bags in an attempt to clear all protestors from the streets.
Currently, debate of the extradition bill has been “indefinitely suspended” after Lam’s stunning backed down on June 15 from continuing efforts to ram the bill through the council. But she stopped short of acknowledging any of the protesters’ demands.
“I call on the Hong Kong Government to withdraw, not suspend, the proposed extradition law in the face of the clear opposition of the Hong Kong people,” Patzelt stated, reiterating the protesters’ actual demands.
The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung published a commentary article on June 21 calling on foreign governments—not just G-20 member countries—to put pressure on the CCP in Beijing to consider Hongkongers’ rights to the freedom they were promised under the “one country, two systems” agreement of 1984. The model was intended to preserve Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms while under CCP rule.
“The foreign countries must therefore make clear to the Chinese government the consequences that the deprivation of liberty would bring for Hong Kong,” the article stated.
It added: “Those who ignore their [Hong Kong] situation resign themselves to the autocratic [Chinese] regime.”
The “one country, two systems” model came into effect in 1997 and the city’s sovereignty was handed over from Britain to China.
However, the city has since seen the encroaching influence of the CCP’s ideology impact local politics, education, and freedom of the press—much to the dissatisfaction of Hong Kongers.
Now, concerns have been heightened even further because if the bill, which includes the mainland, were to pass, it would erode the judicial independence of Hong Kong, which critics say signal the end of the “one country, two systems” model.
On June 20, Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, issued a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on behalf of the Canadian Coalition for Human Rights in China.
The letter urged Trudeau to raise human rights issues, including the current situation in Hong Kong, in a possible meeting with Xi at the summit.
“Ensure that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government refrains from using excessive force against protesters, withdraws the extradition bill, and commits to preserving the high degree of autonomy, rule of law, and an independent judiciary in Hong Kong,” the letter stated.
Amnesty International recently issued a report confirming that Hong Kong police employed “unnecessary and excessive use of force” to disperse peaceful protesters on June 12.
The Canadian Coalition for Human Rights in China, made up of 15 Canadian organizations including the non-profit Canada-Hong Kong Link, is dedicated to ensuring that human rights issues are part of Canada’s dealings with China.
Trudeau has yet to confirm whether he will raise the situation in Hong Kong with Xi upon a meeting. He has been under pressure, particularly from Canada’s conservative politicians, to reach out to Xi over the two Canadians who remain in detention in China.
The United States
In an interview with Fox News on June 16, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that U.S. President Donald Trump would raise the Hong Kong issue with Xi if the two leaders meet in Japan during the summit.
“I’m sure this will be among the issues that they discuss,” Pompeo stated.
SecState @SecPompeo interviewed by Fox News: I am sure this (#HongKongProtests #NoExtraditionToChina ) is among the issues they’ll (#Trump and #Xi) discuss during G20. We see what’s happening in #HongKong and we will see what’s #CarrieLam‘s decision next. #extraditionbill pic.twitter.com/DeI3H8kCbi
— Himalaya Global Workstation (@HGW45599518) June 17, 2019
“‘They’re obviously having a big impact,’ @realDonaldTrump told @TIME when asked what message he had for the #HongKong protesters. ‘And I think that they’ve been very effective in their dealings with #China.’ https://t.co/CJuwCr4rKp
— Jeffrey Ngo 敖卓軒 (@jeffreychngo) June 20, 2019
Joshua Wong, the iconic figure from the 2014 Umbrella Movement and the current secretary general of Hong Kong’s political party Demosisto, urged world leaders to request that Xi “let Hong Kong have democracy and not to erode Hong Kong’s freedoms,” according to a June 19 article from the Telegraph.