Public Rally Against Hong Kong's Article 23 Held in Sydney, Australia
(Clearwisdom.net) On Thursday 19th December 2002, more than seventy people staged a peaceful rally at Circular Quay in Sydney to raise public awareness of Hong Kong's proposed enactment of the Basic Law's Article 23. Participants included human rights groups, scholars, and those with ties to Hong Kong.
Thousands of pamphlets were handed out in the Central Business District of Sydney. Hundreds of Australians in Sydney have also handed out pamphlets in Chinese and English. Most people received the information with astonishment and disbelief that this type of law could be proposed. As flyers were handed some practitioners sent forth righteous thoughts.
More that 200 people conducted a parade down the main streets of the city, displaying around 30 poster boards and banners that exposed the issues behind Article 23. Many passersby signed petitions and voiced their objections to Article 23.
Amnesty International spokeswoman and coordinator of the Committee for Human Rights in China Ms Dianne Hiles said in her speech at Circular Quay that Article 23 of the Basic Law threatens to curb human rights everywhere. Rather than modernizing Hong Kong's laws, this is a step backwards. Amnesty International calls for a much longer consultation period.
Amnesty International notes the views expressed by the Human Rights Committee in Hong Kong, which state that "all laws enacted under article 23 of the Basic Law must be in conformity with the Covenant [ICCPR]". Amnesty International calls upon the Hong Kong SAR government to revise its proposals to ensure that any legislation is in full conformity with the Covenant.
Colleen May, a concerned Australian, said in her speech, "I am personally concerned about the effect this legislation will have on our country, whether through trade, research or human rights abuses. This Article 23 has raised great concern internationally, because it will impact every country linked with Asia. This basically includes the entire world."
The event was attended by many Chinese media, including newspapers and radio, as well as newswire photographers.
As the deadline for the consultation period approaches, there are still many efforts being made to stop the enactment of Article 23 and clarify the truth in the process.