Beijing issued a severe warning to any world leaders who planned to talk about Hong Kong’s massive protests during this week’s G20 summit: Don’t do it.
“Hong Kong is China’s special administrative region. Hong Kong matters are purely an internal affair to China. No foreign country has a right to interfere,” assistant foreign minister Zhang Jun told reporters on Monday.
Zhang was responding to a question about whether Chinese President Xi Jinping would be discussing the Hong Kong protests with U.S. President Donald Trump during their meeting in Osaka, Japan, later this week. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has indicated Trump might raise the topic.
“No matter at what venue, using any method, we will not permit any country or person to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” Zhang added.
Zhang’s warning comes after the Chinese foreign minister seemed to blame the “some Western forces” for the mass protests in Hong Kong
“They have made trouble in Hong Kong, stirred up opposition and tried to sabotage Hong Kong's stability and damage the implementation of one country, two systems," Wang Yi said at a press conference last week. “We want to say this loudly: Pull back the black hand you have shown. Hong Kong is China's domestic affair. You shouldn't interfere in Hong Kong. Hong Kong isn't a place for you to run amok.”
Beijing’s only official comments about the protests have been supportive of Hong Kong’s government. But on the mainland, it has sought to scrub any mention of the protests from the media and the internet.
A government-issued directive to media organizations following the protests called for a virtual blackout of the protests: “All websites: Find and delete video content related to Hong Kong anti-extradition protests,” the directive said.
Protests continued in Hong Kong on Monday as activists seek to get the government there to completely scrap the proposed extradition law, which critics claim could allow Beijing to demand Hong Kong hand citizens over to Chinese authorities.
After millions of protestors took to the streets, the government apologized and postponed the bill indefinitely. But now activists want the bill withdrawn entirely, and are demanding that those arrested during the protests be released.
As part of an organized campaign to obstruct the government’s day-to-day workings, dozens of protestors crammed into the lobby of Hong Kong’s tax office headquarters on Monday afternoon, forcing it to close.
Yet more large-scale protests are planned for Wednesday.
Cover: A protester waves a Hong Kong flag outside police headquarters in Hong Kong, Friday, June 21, 2019. More than 1,000 protesters blocked Hong Kong police headquarters into the evening Friday, while others took over major streets as the tumult over the city's future showed no signs of abating. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)