Greater New York Chapter of the Overseas Chinese People's Alliance Holds a Forum Against Article 23
On the afternoon of December 22, 2002, the Greater New York Chapter of the Overseas Chinese People's Alliance of Democracy and Peace held its first Democratic Discussion Forum at the Overseas Chinese Cultural and Educational Center in Flushing. Renowned political commentator, Mr. Ling Feng, and Mr. Zhou Juyuan, Professor of Economics at the City University of New York were invited to talk about their opposition to the Hong Kong government's proposal to enact Article 23 of the Basic Law. The forum attracted nearly 200 attendees including representatives from the Greater New York academic circle, Taiwanese Association, Traditional Overseas Chinese People Association, Overseas Democratic Movement Organization, Falun Gong practitioners and representatives from the Re-education through Labor Research Foundation. Among similar activities held during the last few years, this forum attracted the greatest number of attendees. After the forum, a grand parade was held entitled, "Opposing the Enactment of Article 23, Safeguarding Hong Kong's Democracy and Freedom", which called on the citizens of New York City, who enjoy democracy and freedom, to be concerned about the Hong Kong people's human rights and freedoms.
Ms. Yang Yueqing, Director of the Overall Overseas Chinese People Alliance hosted the Democratic Discussion Forum. She first invited Mr. Tang Yuanjun to give a speech. Mr. Tang is a Democratic Movement public figure from Mainland China who first fled to Taiwan and later came to New York City to seek political refuge. Mr. Tang briefly talked about how he went into exile and about his feelings and thoughts. Tang said that he has experienced all kinds of tribulations during the almost 20 years since he organized the Democratic Salon in 1983 to promote democracy in China. This led him to resolutely oppose the enactment of Article 23 in Hong Kong. He firmly supports the Hong Kong people in striving for freedom and democracy.
The main speaker was Mr. Ling Feng, a political commentator, who had lived in Hong Kong for 21 years. His speech was entitled, "The Whole Story about Hong Kong's Legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law." He discussed in detail how enacting Article 23 of the Basic Law would not only deprive the Hong Kong people of their freedoms and democratic rights, but would also harm Hong Kong's future.
Mr. Zhou Juyuan, Professor of Economics from the City University of New York, believes that the Chinese Communist Party's "one country, two systems" policy is impossible to uphold and that today, a prime example is how it has forced Hong Kong to enact Article 23. "Speaking for the Hong Kong people, this is really a nightmare."
Mr. Hong Zhesheng who is in charge of the Asian Democratic Discussion Forum, Mr. Liu Qing, the chairman of China's Human Rights, Mr. Hu Ping, the chief editor of Beijing's Spring, Mr. Liang Junpu, one of the founding members of the Traditional Overseas Chinese People Association, Mr. Tang Baiqiao, Chairman of China's Peace, Mr. Pang Zhong, the former News Chief from the Hong Kong Phoenix Satellite TV station, Ms. Huang Jianhong from Macao, and Xu Shuiliang, Zhao Pinlu, and Wei Ling also gave brief speeches. They all expressed their opposition to the enactment of Article 23 in Hong Kong and their grave concerns for Hong Kong's future.
Attendees at the Democratic Discussion Forum also included Mr. Wang Hanwan, the Deputy President of the Greater New York Sub-Alliance of the Overall Overseas Chinese People Alliance, General Secretary, Mr. Huang Zaitian, members of the executive council of the Alliance, Mr. Xue Wei, Zhu Linyi and Guo Jingzi, President of the New York Taiwanese Association, Mr. Huang Jingzhi, former police officer from the Longgang police substation of the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau [Guangdong province, China], Mr. Zhang Jianhua, and the widow and son of Mr. Wang Ruowang.
After the forum, more than 200 people from the Global Coalition Against Article 23 Legislation held signs reading, "Oppose Increasing the Police's Authority, Protest Autocracy", "Freedom and Human Rights in Hong Kong, Freedom of the Press" while they marched from the Flushing Overseas Chinese Cultural and Educational Center to the plaza in front of the Flushing Public Library. Here they held a rally. Mr. Ling Feng and Liu Qing as well as others explained to passers-by damages that enactment of Article 23 of the Hong Kong basic law would bring to people in Hong Kong as well as overseas. The rally attracted the attention of a lot of passers-by.