(Clearwisdom.net June 10, 2003)

One month from now, the Hong Kong government which has been trying very hard to promote Article 23 will complete its legislative procedure. Nearly 20 representatives from non-governmental (NGO) associations and ten Democratic legislative councilors were invited by the "Non-governmental Human Rights Front" composed of over 40 non-governmental organizations to hold a round table forum to seek the countermeasures. Many people in attendance all agreed that the Hong Kong government and the legislature are now all controled by the Chinese government, the intention behind Article 23 is too virulent; just patching things together will do no good. Striving to stop the legislation is the best procedure. At the same time the people in attendance unanimously agreed that the ban on organizations that "harm national security" should be deleted from Article 23 altogether.

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Martin Lee said: " I am not willing to give up. It is the final line of defense " Kan Hung-cheung (Hong Kong Falun Gong Spokesperson): " Safeguarding Hong Kong is to safeguard conscience"

Attending associations

Former Chairman of Hong Kong's Democratic Party Martin Lee who just finished a trip to the US lobbying the US government against Article 23, stated at the first round table forum that when he received an interview on an American radio station he was repeatedly told he must persist.

Martin Lee said, "I will not give up. Hong Kong is the most important line of defense for China's human rights, if this line is breached, all our freedom will be lost. Then when can our fellow 1.3 billion compatriots in China have freedom?"

If banned, organizations have no place to appeal

In view of the ban on "harming national security organizations" article, the government completely strangles appeal rights of the banned organization. It does not carry any sense of justice and the human rights. The Hong Kong Bar Association executive member Mr. Law said that according to the draft law if an organization is banned by the security bureau chief, the attorney helping the banned organization also is charged with committing a crime. If a banned organization appeals with help of an attorney, the attorney who offers help also commits a crime. If an attorney volunteers to go to court, he also commits crime.

The revised Article 23 the government put out in recent days put the life and death of the non-governmental organizations and human rights of organization members in the hands of the security bureau chief. The judicial organization's authority has been hijacked. Alan Leong, member of the Concerned Group for Article 23 and the former Hong Kong Bar Association Chairman criticized the regulations that the security chief controls both banning organizations and making rules for appeal. It has apparently contains conflict of interest because the security chief not only makes the decision to ban an organization and also makes rules for the appeal. He ridiculed, "It is better to have the bureau chief also responsible for the trial!" He also suggested the the legislative councilors to propose more revisions to reduce the damage of the Article 23 legislation to a minimum.

Law Yuk-kai, Director of Hong Kong's Human Rights Monitor pointed out that the security bureau procedure " is extremely ridiculous." Under the security chief's suggested rule, the chance for the banned organization to appeal successfully is almost zero.

Intended to suppress organizations's counter- government movement

Councilar from the legal field, Mrs. Wu Aiyi, criticised the intention that the government bans certain organizations is to suppress counter-government actions. She thought all the items that involved banning organizations should be deleted. Only by preventing these related items in the article would the human rights of Hong Kong's people be safeguarded.

Hong Kong Falun Gong Spokesperson Kan Hung-cheung pointed out the items on banning organizations was compelled by the Chinese Ruling Party's extremely evil political gang, which caused the Hong Kong government to have to rush through the Article 23 legislation. Kan Hung-cheung quoted words from the Global Coalition Against Article 23, " saying, " Safeguarding Hong Kong is to safeguard conscience." He hoped more Hong Kong people use peaceful and rational ways to urge the Hong Kong authority to stop the legislation.

Han Dongfang is deemed to be a "hostile element "

Han Dongfan representing Chinese labor and former labor movement leader said that he learned from the documents issued by the Chinese public security department when he was prosecuted in Liaoning Province as a worker that he had been considered to be a "hostile element".

Regarding items in Article 23 about inciting other people into subversion behavior is violating the law, he claimed as a labor movement leader, "agitation is one of our methods", The greater the effect the better.

Even when the resident and non governmental organizations vigorously opposed the legislation, the Democratic councilors criticized that the consultation was too hasty, the Hong Kong government still disregards public opinion, and requests legislature " The National Security (legislation article) Law draft committee plans to complete article consideration work by June 20 and to vote on July 9.