Asia Minute: Hong Kong Protests Take a Different Turn

Jun 25, 2019

Credit Vincent Yu/AP

It’s been more than two weeks since demonstrators first packed the streets of Hong Kong in massive protests against a proposed extradition treaty. Smaller rallies have taken place since, but organizers say something bigger is coming on Wednesday.

Police say more than a hundred protestors blocked a Hong Kong government building for a couple of hours on Monday — a relatively small event compared to the recent past.

Dozens of demonstrators flocked to the “Revenue Tower” in the neighborhood of Wan Chai — a couple of stops on the MTR rail system from Central — which is where the Legislative Council meets.

That’s where huge street protests peaked a little more than a week ago. Organizers say about two million people took part on June 16th – that’s about a quarter of Hong Kong’s population.

The heart of the dispute is a proposed extradition treaty that would allow Hong Kong residents to be taken out of the city to face criminal charges — including potentially to mainland China. The bill’s hearing has been postponed, but it hasn’t been withdrawn.

Hong Kong’s government is currently keeping a low profile with leader Carrie Lam cancelling today’s weekly cabinet meeting.

Organizers are calling for a “silent march” in the city’s business district on Wednesday — moving past consulates of the Group of 20 nations – an organization that meets later this week in Japan.

China is already warning the topic will not come up in the official sessions of the G-20.

An official of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Monday “we will not allow Hong Kong issues to be discussed at the G20 summit.” Adding "Hong Kong affairs are Chinese domestic affairs; any foreign force has no right to interfere in this.”