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China Says It Will Not Allow Talk of Hong Kong Protests at G-20

Bloomberg News
China Says It Will Not Allow Talk of Hong Kong Protests at G-20

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong reopened its downtown government offices on Monday as protesters threatened to resume demonstrations to demand the release of people arrested in recent rallies and establish an independent investigation into the use of force by police.

Historic protests in the past few weeks, including several that turned violent, prompted Chief Executive Carrie Lam to suspend a controversial bill that would allow extraditions to China. Protesters have since called for the legislation’s complete withdrawal and for Lam to resign. The events have embarrassed the central government in Beijing, which continues to back Lam’s administration.

Here’s the latest (all times local):

Protesters Enter Revenue Tower (1 p.m.)

Protests remained small and peaceful on a rainy afternoon, as fewer than 200 people made their way from the Legislative Council to Revenue Tower, a government building in the Wan Chai area, and entered the lobby. The demonstrators were accompanied by a number of journalists.

Wednesday Rally Called (11:30 a.m.)

The Civil Human Rights Front, which organized this month’s historic demonstrations but is not involved with Monday’s gathering, separately called for a “G-20 Free Hong Kong” rally to be held on Wednesday night. It will come ahead of the June 28 start of the Group of 20 summit in Japan, where U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping will hold highly anticipated trade talks.

The gathering send a message to global leaders -- including Xi -- that Hong Kong deserves more democracy, said Jimmy Sham, a CHRF leader. Demonstrators will recite their demands in multiple languages and international relations experts will be invited to speak, Sham told reporters. He said the group had no plans to travel to Japan to protest, and that historic marches the last two Sundays have already showed the world what Hong Kong people want.

“We must not forget how the government and police treated demonstrators on June 12,” said Figo Chan, another CHRF leader, on why the group will keep holding more protests and isn’t accepting the government’s concessions. “We want the world to help voice our concerns.”

China Says No Hong Kong Talk at G-20 (10:20 a.m.)

China said it won’t allow discussion of events in Hong Kong at the G-20. In a briefing in Beijing, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Jun said the summit was a platform for the economy and that China’s focus will be on trade and finance. “Hong Kong will not be discussed as an issue at the G-20 summit,” Zhang said. “We will not allow that scenario to happen.”

Government Office Reopens (9 a.m.)

The city’s Central Government Offices reopened after Friday rallies shifted focus to other government agencies and the Hong Kong Police Force. Hong Kong netizens and activists have called for a protest at 10:30 a.m. Monday in front of the government headquarters.

On Friday, Lam shut the headquarters as hundreds of people gathered and clogged up nearby roads. Hundreds of people then walked to the police headquarters in the Wan Chai area, demanding authorities drop charges against demonstrators over clashes with law enforcement earlier this month. Hundreds remained on the streets outside the government headquarters Friday night. Some threw eggs at the building.

Security chief John Lee has defended his personnel, saying they acted in defense against protesters who charged a police line blocking the city’s legislature in an attempt to storm the building. Some battled with riot police throughout the afternoon to prevent lawmakers from debating the bill.

Pro-Beijing Party Speaks (8 a.m.)

Lam’s problems could be helped by a withdrawal of the extradition bill and talks with protesters, the South China Morning Post reported Sunday, citing Starry Lee, chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong -- the city’s largest pro-Beijing party.

Lee also cautioned that demands for an independent inquiry into police tactics during protests could “easily come up with biased conclusions,” the SCMP quoted her as saying.

--With assistance from Peter Martin, Natalie Lung and Justin Chin.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Karen Leigh in Hong Kong at kleigh4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Daniel Ten Kate

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