Hongkongers unfurl NYT ads during silent protest at New York’s Grand Central Terminal

Standing in solidarity despite being physically apart.

Kayla Wong| June 29, 09:22 PM

More than 150 Hongkongers staged a silent protest at New York City's Grand Central Terminal on Friday evening, June 28, 2019 calling for people around the world to "stand with Hong Kong", Apple Daily reported.

A few non-Hongkongers were seen standing in the crowd too.

"Stand with Hong Kong at G20"

The activists, dressed in black, held up a copy of the New York Times (NYT) that was published on the day itself, with a full-page ad being shown prominently to passers-by.

The ad says "stand with Hong Kong at G20".

The ad, in the form of an open letter to readers, was just one of the many that were placed in international newspapers such as The Guardian.

Hong Kong activists have taken out those ads to implore the international community to help fight against the highly unpopular extradition bill, as world leaders gather at the annual two-day G20 summit held at Osaka, Japan this year.

The summit ends on Saturday, June 29, 2019.

Mobilised via the Internet

Apple Daily reported that the Hongkongers residing in New York took to the Internet and called for others to gather at the Grand Central at 7:45pm, reflecting the decentralised nature of the movement against the extradition bill thus far.

The Hongkongers then carried out a flash mob-style protest, standing still on the same spot for about five minutes, before dispersing peacefully.

Although the extradition bill has since been suspended by the Hong Kong government following the massive protests, protesters are concerned it could be revived one day.

Previously, Chief Executive Carrie Lam had said the government will not proceed with the legislative exercise for the bill without having "confidence from the people".

Physically apart from Hong Kong, but still part of the action

A Hongkonger who has been living in New York for the past 20 years told Apple Daily that even if the Hong Kong people live outside of the city, they should still do their part to stand in solidarity with the protesters, and let the outside world know about the situation at home.

"Although many feel disheartened, we still don't want to give up our roots, our home," she said.

"We're writing letters to the congressmen and the White House," she added.

"Like the rest of the Hong Kong people, we are doing all we can to protest against the extradition bill."

What’s the controversy about?

The extradition bill, if passed, would see criminal suspects, both Hong Kong citizens and foreigners, sent to mainland China.

But many in Hong Kong, including lawyers and businessmen, worry that the law would allow Beijing to freely target political dissidents.

The Hong Kong government has been heavily criticised for trying to push the bill through the legislature.

Even after Taiwanese authorities made clear the bill was not necessary to bring Chan Tong-kai — the murder suspect in the case that was cited as justification for the bill — to justice, the Hong Kong government continued to defend the bill.

Police treatment of both the protesters and reporters have sparked fears that civil liberties are quickly being eroded in the city.

More on the Hong Kong protests:

Top image via Ball Cheng's Facebook