HONG KONG (AP) — Foreign business groups in Hong Kong have joined the city’s billionaire tycoons in opposing a pro-democracy group’s plans for an Occupy-style protest in the Asian financial center.

In a newspaper ad Thursday, the Canadian, Indian, Italian and Bahraini groups called for organizers to rethink plans to blockade the central business district to press for full democracy.

It’s the first time foreign businesses have waded into the debate over Hong Kong’s political future, which intensified after Beijing released a white paper Tuesday saying it holds ultimate control over the former British colony.

The paper was seen as a warning ahead of the protest. Outraged pro-democracy activists reacted by demonstrating in front of the Chinese central government’s liaison office, burning copies of the paper.

Subscribe to Asian Correspondent

Receive our weekly round-up of the most important stories in Asia

We will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.