OSAKA — Dozens of Hong Kong residents protested against a controversial extradition bill Thursday as they called on leaders of the Group of 20 economies convening here to help protect them from what they say is an attempt by Beijing to erode their freedom.
Braving a steady rain in the bustling entertainment district of Namba, a 30-minute drive away from the high-security summit venue, demonstrators warned G-20 leaders that the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to take full control over Hong Kong would have an effect on their countries as well.
“We want the leaders in the G-20 Summit to take note that Hong Kong’s autonomy and independent jurisdiction has been greatly challenged by Red China’s penetration,” a rally leader spoke before the crowd of youth. “The extradition bill is the best example of how destructive the communist intervention can be.”
China governs Hong Kong using the “one country, two systems” framework, which allows for separate administrative and economic systems but leaves Beijing in control of foreign affairs and defense. Demonstrators turned out in the millions on Hong Kong streets this month to protest against the legislation, saying the bill would weaken the city’s independence.
Protesters in Osaka Thursday made a specific plea to U.S. President Donald Trump. Noting that members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have expressed concern over the Hong Kong situation, the rally leader, who asked not to be identified, said Trump might be the only one who could help Hong Kong.
“With the invasion of Communist China, Hong Kong is on the verge of death. Only President Trump can help us safeguard the autonomy of Hong Kong,” he said.
Several different groups of protesters from Hong Kong are currently in Osaka to appeal to the G-20 leaders, and might be planning other rallies over the next few days, according to a rally organizer. He added some Hongkongers living in Osaka joined Thursday’s rally.
“I think the world doesn’t fully realize the complication of our situation. I would like to come here to tell the world what’s happening, what’s wrong with this whole deal,” he said. I would like to tell them, do not trust China. They’ve been breaking promises one after another repeatedly.”
Opponents to the bill fear that the Chinese Communist Party could use the proposed law to request the extradition of anyone it views as a threat to its authority. Following the massive protests in the city, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended legislative debate of the bill on June 15. But protesters remain wary, demanding the bill to be formally withdrawn.
Hundreds took to the streets in Hong Kong Wednesday to visit the consulates of G-20 members, calling on foreign governments to raise the issue with China in Osaka.
Beijing said earlier this week that it will not allow the G-20 to discuss political events in Hong Kong — with one Chinese government official saying, “Hong Kong matters are purely an internal affair for China.”