Hong Kong Legislators Comment on the Unfair Trial of Falun Gong Practitioners and the Future of "One Country, Two Systems"
[Editor's note: On August 15, the 16 Falun Gong practitioners were wrongfully convicted guilty.]
(Clearwisdom.net) Falun Dafa Information Center, August 14th: A reporter from the Information Center interviewed Szeto Wah and Ho Chun-yan from the Hong Kong Legislative Committee as well as Tao Junxing [this name was translated from the Mainland Chinese pronunciation], Senator of the Hong Kong SAR Council, and asked them for their opinions on the false accusation case, the "one country, two systems" policy, and the future of human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong. Szeto Wah said, "No matter what the final verdict may be, the case, based on false accusations, has seriously damaged human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong."
Analysis of the Frame-up in Hong Kong
Szeto Wah said, "No matter what the final verdict may be, [this case] has serious impact and does damage to human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong." During the interview, he focused on four points:
Point one: The false accusation case is political in nature
"This is the first time Falun Gong practitioners have been charged [in HK]. They are completely innocent. Their actions were very peaceful, and yet they were accused of 'obstructing the sidewalk' and 'assaulting the police.' This is obviously a political trial directed against them."
Point two: Tung Chee-hwa claims Falun Gong is a [slanderous word omitted]
This slander shows that Tung is at the beck and call of [China's dictator] Jiang. Szeto Wah said, "I remember that Tung Chee-hwa said at the Legislative Council Meeting last year, 'Undoubtedly, Falun Gong is a [slanderous word omitted].' He was slandering Falun Gong without any regard for the law. How could he claim Falun Gong to be a [slanderous term omitted] without a trial, and how could Tung Chee-hwa, as the chief executive, claim that it is a [slanderous term omitted]? Hong Kong does not have any law to judge anything to be [slanderous term omitted] at all. Tung's words showed that he was acting on Jiang's orders; he was stigmatizing Falun Gong in Hong Kong, and at the same time creating an excuse for persecution."
Point three: Since the claim of [slanderous term omitted] does not stand legally, Tung abuses police power to attack Falun Gong.
"Several Hong Kong government officials have reminded us that Falun Gong is a legal organization in Hong Kong. Even now, their actions are still legal. What's Tung Chee-hwa's proof for his claim that Falun Gong is a [slanderous term omitted]? This time, he did not accuse Falun Gong for being a [slanderous term omitted]; instead, he falsely accused the practitioners of 'obstructing the sidewalk' and 'assaulting the police.' This is because his claim of Falun Gong being a [slanderous term omitted] does not have any legal basis, so he abuses the police power to accuse Falun Gong."
Point four: Using police power to prosecute Falun Gong is using police power to threaten human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong.
The frame-up concerns everyone. "Should Falun Gong practitioners be found guilty, it would grievously damage the human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong. He [Tung] is imitating the Mainland Chinese government and taking Hong Kong into a similar situation as in Mainland China. Then where is the 'one country, two systems' policy? There is freedom of assembly, speech and religious belief in Hong Kong, and as long as you do not violate the law, you can enjoy such freedoms. Now he uses other excuses and the power of the police to make accusations. This is using the power of police to threaten and damage the human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong, and to threaten the freedom of assembly and freedom of belief in Hong Kong. I think all Hong Kong people should pay close attention to this, because this does not only concern Falun Gong, but also affects the human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong. Today, Falun Gong practitioners are being persecuted; tomorrow the rest of us may also suffer the same kind of persecution."
Szeto Wah also pointed out, "Whether you agree with Falun Gong or not, you should preserve their freedom of belief." He said, "Some people may not understand Falun Gong's principles, or even disagree [with them]. I don't think this is important, because people should have freedom of belief! What impressed me most is that Falun Gong's activities have always been peaceful and rational, exactly like the three words they follow: "Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance," especially "Tolerance," they have endured many things and did not harm other people. If everyone could learn to become like them, this world would become peaceful. I think whether you agree with Falun Gong's principles, beliefs and activities or not, you should help to protect their freedom of belief and their freedom of activities. Just as the Western saying goes, 'I don't agree with you, but I will make efforts to protect your right to express your opinions." I think all people who don't truly understand Falun Gong should adopt this attitude and oppose the persecution, and express sympathy and support to their protest."
As for the trial, Tao Junxing said, "The Hong Kong government and police are gradually tightening their control on Falun Gong's activities, and in our view the fundamental reason is that the Central Government has given orders. They hope that the Hong Kong government will strictly abide by them. Actually, the political reason behind this is very obvious. Falun Gong is basically a health-improving activity. Even if you say it is a religious activity, our citizens still should have the freedom to choose whether they want to participate."
On the issue of whether democracy and freedom in Hong Kong has declined since its hand-over to China
Reporter: Do you think democracy and freedom in Hong Kong have declined since its return to China?
Szeto Wah: Today, Falun Gong practitioners are being charged, but we shouldn't think it only concerns Falun Gong. We should consider it as an issue that concerns the democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong. Should the prosecution succeed, the decline in the future would be even greater.
Tao Junxing: I think the situation in Hong Kong has become worse and worse after the handover. In the first two years, in order to assure the international society and the Hong Kong people, a relaxed environment was preserved. However, after it went into the fifth year and thereafter, the situation began to decline and it's getting worse and worse. In fact, the people of Hong Kong have noticed such a situation wherein the police would use different legal regulations to prosecute protesters and appealers. This is a terrible situation, which worries our citizens as well as the international society.
Will Hong Kong Government Walk Toward Autocracy?
Reporter: If Hong Kong's current situation continues, do you think the government would become an autocratic one?
HO Chun-yan: We can all see that the government is closely keeping up with the Central Government's policies and attacking any views or organizations that the Central Government does not like, including Falun Gong. Of course, there are other organizations aside from Falun Gong that the government considers "radical." Of course, after they are done with the radical organizations, they will start dealing with the not-so-radical organizations, and then they will direct their attack on those peaceful but non-cooperative organizations. They will do this step by step and achieve what they want gradually. Generally speaking, they do not have the support of the people, nor do they trust the people. They must rely on the police to uphold the authority of their rule. The power and rule of this regional government relies upon the support from the Central Government and the Party, so they must do many things to please the Central Government or the leaders of the Party, and they also have to prohibit anything that might displease the leaders of the Party or the Central Government. That is their motive.
Tao Junxing: Obviously, right now the first step is to tighten control on protest and assembly, next will probably be the passing of the Resolution No. 23. After adding in the political pressure exerted by the Central Government, we expect that the situation in Hong Kong will become worse and worse, and the human rights and freedom of the Hong Kong people will be greatly reduced.