(Clearwisdom.net) Ceng Zhunliang reports from Central News Agency: For the past five years since Hong Kong's sovereignty was transferred back to China, on one hand, the Hong Kong government has talked loudly about "one country, two systems" and "no change in 50 years" since the handover to China. On the other hand, it has been attempting to eagerly establish Article 23 of the Basic Law despite the fact that over half of Hong Kong's citizens are against it.

Article 23 of the Basic Law stipulates that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government (CPG), to prohibit the theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations.

There are have been disputes on how the HKSAR should carry out the Article 23 of the Basic Law, and how to add or revise related articles. In September, under the Beijing government's instigation, the Hong Kong government made a Proposal for Implementation of Article 23 that intended to implement the law without adequate legislative process of public consultation and discussion. However, an earlier survey indicated that 54% interviewees were against this legislation. In a recent survey conducted by Hong Kong Chinese University, 45% interviewees were against the legislation. Only 20% of the people support it.

Some political observers indicated that Hong Kong government's " Consultation Document on Proposals to Implement Article 23 of the Basic Law" was published on September 24, 2002 at Beijing's request. (Editor's Note: The Consultation Document discusses the proposed legislation in general terms only -- no specifics are given. It is proposed that after the Consultation Period ends, December 24, 2002, that the legislation proceed directly to it's final stages with no provision given for public input into the final wording of the legislation itself. Normally, a "White Paper" would be called for, which presents the entire proposed final wording of the legislation to the public for comment before it is passed into law.)

Although the Hong Kong government repeatedly insists that the implementation of Article 23 will not at all interfere with Hong Kong people's freedoms, Hong Kong's political parties, academic circles, medias, religions, and legal systems as well as many countries, organizations, and media around the world have been expressing worries and concerns. This indicates that the Hong Kong government has so far failed to resolve the concerns raised by its hurried implementation of Article 23 of the Basic Law.

Recently, a non-governmental human rights union formed by more than 40 various organizations in Hong Kong initiated a big rally against the implementation of Article 23 of the Basic Law. 5000 people were originally expected, yet approximately 60,000 people showed up, which is very rare in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong government was very surprised. However whether this could achieve the effect of making the government change its policies is yet to be seen.

In fact, it should not be a surprise that the Hong Kong people, who have been used to democracy, freedom, and an open society, reacted strongly to Article 23.

Political analysts say that it is truly hard to understand Beijing's political logic. It seems Beijing wants to keep using the term "one country, two systems" in describing Hong Kong, yet at the same time it is reducing freedom of speech.

In conclusion, the implementation of Article 23 of the Basic Law will likely become the biggest threat to Hong Kong people's freedoms of thought, belief, speech, freedom of the press and literature, freedom of information, freedom to carry out academic research, and even the freedom of association. The voice opposing the legislation is high in Hong Kong. If the Hong Kong government continues to please the Chinese government, ignoring the Hong Kong people's will, and imposes Article 23 on the people, it would in fact be violating its pledges that "Hong Kong people rule Hong Kong", "high autonomy", and "no change in 50 years." How could the people of the world ever trust the Chinese government again?