July 23, 2019
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China: We will not allow Hong Kong unrest be subject of G20 talks

 Protesters vote on their next action during a meeting outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, China, June 24, 2019. EPA-EFE/JEROME FAVRE

Protesters vote on their next action during a meeting outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, China, June 24, 2019. EPA-EFE/JEROME FAVRE

Beijing, Jun 24 (efe-epa).- China's foreign minister Zhang Jun on Monday said his country would not allow for the topic of the ongoing Hong Kong protests over a controversial extradition bill to be discussed at the upcoming G20 summit, insisting it was an internal issue.

In a press conference setting out China's stance ahead of the meeting of 20 of the world's most developed nations in Osaka, Japan, on Friday, Zhang cast doubt on the chance that Chinese President Xi Jinping and his United States counterpart, Donald Trump, would discuss the unrest in Hong Kong.

"Hong Kong will not be discussed as an issue, we will not allow this scenario to happen," he said, adding that Hong Kong was an autonomous region of China in which no foreign state had the right to intervene.

Millions of Hong Kong residents have taken to the street in mass protests in recent weeks calling on the local government to scrap a proposed bill that would permit several countries, including China, to request the extradition of suspects from the territory.

Opponents of the measure say China could use the mechanism to target dissidents, activists, journalists, and human rights workers and bring them before the Chinese judiciary.

Last week over a million people demonstrated in Hong Kong in what was the largest protest ever recorded in the city.

They pressured the Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to scrap the bill. She suspended it but did not fully withdraw the legislation.

Organizers have scheduled fresh protests calling on Lam to definitively quash the extradition bill.

A large demonstration is expected Wednesday, just before the G20 meeting as well as on July 1, which coincides with the anniversary of the date the United Kingdom transferred Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

Hong Kong remains a special administrative region of China and enjoys considerable autonomy from Beijing.

Backers of the protests hope for wide media coverage during the G20 summit.

"We will not allow for any country or person to interfere in internal Chinese affairs," Zhang reiterated.

Amnesty International has criticized the Hong Kong police for using "unnecessary and excessive use of force" during the protests on Jun 12 by firing rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray at "largely peaceful protesters." EFE-EPA

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