Hong Kong: Seven Organizations Protest the SAR Government for Controlling Spaces for Public Demonstration and Distorting the Law (Photo)
(Clearwisdom.net) On August 20, 2002, seven civilian, human rights and political organizations in Hong Kong including the Hong Kong Human Rights Joint Committee, Hong Kong Human Rights Watch, Democratic Party, the Frontline, Street and Labor Service, Hong Kong Employee Union and 4-5 Action held a press conference entitled, "Civilians Protest Police's Suppression of Citizens' Rights -- If a Conviction Is to Be Drawn, a Law Can always Be Invented." They condemned the police for their use of a succession of violent and brutal means to interfere with citizen's rights to peaceful appeal and public assembly. They condemned the police abuse of their authority to prevent citizens from practicing their civil rights. At the same time, they stated that the police frequently exploited loopholes found in laws and regulations and even used unrelated laws relating to such topics as "public obstruction" which were written to target street vendors in an effort to prosecute the Falun Gong practitioners during their peaceful appeal. The police used this to suppress protestors and then used the cover of "handling things in accordance with the law" to deceive people, attempting to tighten the freedoms in Hong Kong.
Luo Woqi: Absolute Power Makes People Corrupt.
The chief secretary of Hong Kong Human Rights Watch, Mr. Luo Woqi said, "Absolute power makes people corrupt," Currently, there are very few regulations to restrict the police. The Secretary for Security, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee only considered her role as a protector of those she reports to. This caused more and more frequent suppressions of demonstrators. Many means such as grabbing and confiscating loud speakers, which police had seldom resorted to before, have now become a standard way to handle protestors.
It Is the Police Who Undermine the Social Order
Luo Woqi expressed that when the police dealt with demonstrations, they tried hard to collect on-spot evidence. If protestors did not cooperate with them, they were accused of "obstructing police". If some police were injured due solely to their rough actions, they fabricated accusations against the protestors for "attacking police". The police said that doing so was protecting the public security. For example, during the appeal activities last Sunday on the opening ceremony of one of the subway branches, there were many elderly men and women. Even so, the police rushed up to the organizers and grabbed their loud speakers. From these events we can clearly see "It is the police who undermine social order."
Luo Woqi criticized the police for abusing the law, for instance, in the way they treated Falun Gong. On November 10, 2001, the police used the regulation article of "restricting randomly posting signs on streets" -- an article created for public sanitation and civil regulation, to confiscate Falun Gong demonstration banners. It is likely that the government would use this regulation and other law articles to suppress personal appeals and deceive the public into thinking that the police are upholding the law. But in fact, they distort the law to the extreme. If the court does not take notice of this situation, the protestors are to sure to be falsely accused. He sternly chastised the Hong Kong government saying that he hoped that police would stop suppressing demonstration activities and Secretary for Security, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee would not cover up for the police.
Representatives of other organizations also pointed out that each time the police used the excuse of "receiving public complaints" to interfere with demonstrations. But according to the "article of noise" and even "public security regulations", the police can only get involved when someone makes a complaint that he is no longer able to endure (the disruption).
Lee Chuoren: That Tung Chee-hwa Opposes Citizens Is Equivalent to Drawing Fire Against Himself
Some reporters asked whether the tightening up of freedom of demonstration was only aiming at some groups on the blacklist. Legislator Lee Chuoren said, the police suppression has been broadened. Previously, only when Mainland leaders visited Hong Kong, would the police suppress demonstrators. Now, as Tung Chee-hwa has been promoted to enjoy the security-ensuring standard of the country's leader, wherever he appears, sounds of protest will be stifled.
He emphasized that activities such as demonstrations and parades are channels for people to release their anger. But now that their legal means to speak out have been blocked, they become even more indignant. He said, "For Tung Chee-hwa to oppose citizens is equivalent to drawing fire against himself." They stated they would make an appointment to meet the section chief of the police department, Tseng Yinpei, and Secretary for Security, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee to express their dissatisfaction.
"Long Hair" Liang Guoxiong expressed that Secretary for Security, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and the Director of Judiciary Department Liang Aishi used the court to accuse and threaten people they don't like. If the court cannot strike a balance between freedom of demonstration and the government, the Basic Laws and the Human Rights Convention would be useless in Hong Kong.
Legislator from the Democratic Party, Huang Chengchi together with many district assemblymen went to Tongluo Bay on Tuesday morning to complain to the police department for confiscating demonstrators' loud speakers during a protest on the opening ceremony of one of the subway branches. They felt that the police abused their authority in order to suppress citizen's freedom of speech and demonstration.
During the press conference, regarding the Hong Kong police confiscating demonstrators' speakers and convicting peacefully appealing Falun Gong practitioners for "obstruction" and "attacking police", representatives from the Hong Kong Human Rights Joint Committee, Hong Kong Human Rights Watch, Democratic Party, the Frontline, the Street and Labor Service, Hong Kong Employee Union and 4-5 Actions, condemned the police for abusing their authority to prevent citizens from practicing their civil rights.