Coffers swell for G20 ad push

Top News | Cindy Wan and Phoenix Un 26 Jun 2019

Anti-fugitive activists raised nearly HK$5.5 million through an online crowdfunding campaign in a single day, hoping to place ads in major international newspapers to run an open letter appealing for G20 world leaders' intervention with Hong Kong's fugitive bill controversy.

The call for donations went out on crowdfunding website GoGetFunding yesterday morning, and the goal to raise HK$3 million was reached in less than four hours.

Unlike the draft that went online, the final version has been drastically toned down.

The open letter was written by a group of Hong Kong citizens who took to the streets in protests against the fugitive bill.

"This is our sincere plea for your help to defend our sovereignty and freedoms," it wrote.

"Hong Kong will cease to be a free economic zone, which has long served the world's most prominent businesses."

It stressed the bill has not been withdrawn, and repeated demands to release arrested protesters and to appoint an independent committee to look into police brutality.

"In view of the upcoming G20 summit and the meeting between [US President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping], we implore you to deliver our concerns and demands to your governments. We urge you to stand with us in preserving Hong Kong's freedom and autonomy under Chinese rule," it wrote.

The finalized version of the open letter will be placed on the front page of the Financial Times' US and Asian editions tomorrow, while members of campaign organizer "Freedom Hongkongers" are actively reaching out to more prominent international media, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal from the United States, The Guardian from Britain and several newspapers from Japan, the country hosting G20.

A HK$130,000 ad will be in the Financial Times tomorrow. And a full page ad will be published in The New York Times on Friday.

Donations ended at about 3.30pm, after organizers received a total amount of HK$5.45 million from over 22,000 people in less than six hours.

According to the website, the remaining money after paying for the ads will be donated to help those arrested in the protests.

Demosisto's secretary general Joshua Wong Chi-fung, who helped with the campaign, said organizers hoped to draw international attention to Hong Kong during the G20 summit.

"They also took reference from the 2014 Sunflower Student Movement in Taiwan, during which a full page ad to call for democracy was placed in The New York Times," he said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor received the lowest rating ever compared to all former chief executives by scoring 32.8 points, according to the University of Hong Kong.

It was just a day after the Chinese University published that Lam received the lowest rating ever on a survey since the handover.

The HKU Public Opinion Programme interviewed 1,015 citizens on June 17 to 20, and found that Lam's latest popularity rating stood at 32.8 points, which dropped 10.5 points compared to two weeks ago.

Her approval rate is 23 percent, disapproval rate 67 percent, giving a net popularity of minus 44 percentage points, a significant drop of 20 percentage points.

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