The Global Coalition against Article 23 Legislation is composed of many
non-government organizations around the world. We may have diverse backgrounds,
but we come together for one thing in common, that is: we all believe
the proposed Article 23 legislation in Hong Kong is in violation of the
"One Country, Two Systems" policy. It is legislation that will destroy
Hong Kong's freedoms and rights and make Hong Kong a police state.
It is known to all that the chief executive of the Hong Kong SAR government
was appointed by Beijing, and most of the seats in Hong Kong's legislative
council were not elected either. Furthermore, jurisdiction of Hong Kong
is supervised by the "explanations" of the Standing Committee of the National
People's Congress. Under such a non-democratic circumstance, there is
a hardly sufficient system of checks and balances on the SAR government.
The Article 23 legislation, which is being forced through by the Hong
Kong government in such a hurry, would put at stake Hong Kong's freedoms
of thought, belief, press, speech, information, academic research, association,
assembly and many other types of freedom. If it is passed, the "One Country,
Two Systems" policy will be virtually gone.
In fact, Hong Kong's existing laws already sufficiently cover all the
crimes listed in Article 23. Thus, more legislation under Article 23 would
not help; rather, it will harm the very foundation that is essential for
any country's long-term prosperity and stability. Look at the key definitions
in the consultation document, such as "state security", "state secrets"
etc.; it is obvious that under pressure from Beijing, all the key definitions
will target any dissenting groups in the same way as the Mainland government
Under the dictatorship of Mainland China, the definition of those key
concepts can be changed at will by the rulers. Thus, anyone could easily
violate the legislation unknowingly, and be banned or repressed under
the name of "anti-subversion". To name a few: the AIDS activists who revealed
the AIDS situation in China to foreign media, those who disclosed the
persecution of healthy Falun Gong practitioners in mental hospitals, and
media workers who reported large scale strikes. Thus, the Article 23 legislation
could be turned into a convenient tool to repress any group in Hong Kong
that says or does something that the Beijing government feels uncomfortable
This worry is justified by the fact that in the past five years after
the handover, the Hong Kong government has used "public security" regulations
to repress many dissidents. One example is the sham trial of sixteen Falun
Gong practitioners who did nothing but hold a peaceful demonstration.
This trial was viewed as a "political trial" in the international community.
The point of Article 23 legislation is to expand the communist regime's
style of rule to Hong Kong. If the Hong Kong government and people allow
Article 23 legislation and open the door to Beijing's policies, what it
will threaten or harm is not just Falun Gong but EVERYONE in Hong Kong.
The free and open society, which is essential to the well-being of Hong
Kong on every level, would no longer exist.
The proposed Article 23 legislation has caused widespread attention and
deep concerns in the international community. The United States and England
have both expressed their grave concerns. In Hong Kong, it has triggered
rising concern across a broad spectrum of society -- from clerics, bankers,
lawyers, journalists, artists, university students to religious groups.
Before the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, United States, Canada, France
and many other countries made an open statement that they would have the
moral obligation to make sure the "one country, two systems" policy was
implemented in Hong Kong. In the Joint Declaration by PRC and England,
it was stated that England has the responsibility to oversee that the
"one country, two systems" policy be implemented in Hong Kong according
to the Basic Law. In fact, at this historical moment when Hong Kong faces
the gravest threat yet to its civil liberties in the form of Article 23
just five years after the return, it is the responsibility for everyone
of us who cares about Hong Kong's future to step forward, to say something
or do something to help.
We welcome any corporation, organization or individual to join this global
coalition against Article 23 or sign on our website to oppose this proposed
legislation. Let's work together to stop Jiang Zemin's regime from sacrificing
the interests of six million Hong Kong people just for his own, and who
would replace the "One Country, Two Systems" policy with a "police state
policy" in Hong Kong.
We also call for the Hong Kong SAR government to keep a clear mind before
making such a serious decision and to protect the future of Hong Kong.
To protect Hong Kong is to protect our conscience.
Posting date: 20/Dec/2002
Original article date: 17/Dec/2002
Category: Open Forum