"Global Coalition Against Article 23 Legislation" Will Hold a Public Rally on Saturday in Support of Hong Kong's "July 1st Grand March" (Photo)
(Clearwisdom.net) To support Hong Kong citizens' July 1st Grand March, the Global Coalition Against Article 23 Legislation will hold a public rally on Saturday, June 28 in Washington DC, USA. Meanwhile, branch organizations of the Global Coalition Against Article 23 Legislation around the world will also hold activities to support the event. Recently, the number of people who signed their names on the Internet against Article 23 legislation has rapidly increased, with about 10,000 people signing within five days.
Caption: Last December when the Hong Kong government submitted the Article 23 bill, the Global Coalition Against Article 23 Legislation held a rally in Washington DC to support Hong Kong citizens against enacting it.
Under Mainland China's pressure, the Hong Kong government intends to swiftly enact Article 23 legislation on July 9. In response, Hong Kong citizens will hold a grand march on July 1st with the theme, "Against Article 23 Legislation, Return Political Power to the People." The sponsors appealed, "We don't believe that a march of one million Hong Kong people won't be able to stop the enactment of Article 23 legislation."
It is reported that China is persuading all employees in pro-China organizations not to participate in the march.
President of the Global Coalition Against Article 23 Mr. Wang Tao revealed, "Recently the number of signatures on the Global Coalition Against Article 23 Legislation website has rapidly increased, In the past five days, the number of signatures reached 10,000, and the total number of signatures currently stands at 26,000."
The U.S. White House released a statement on June 19 pointing out that Hong Kong's Legislative Council is in the final stages of considering internal security legislation mandated by Article 23 of the territory's Basic Law. Article 23 legislation, as currently drafted, could harm local freedoms and autonomy over time. The United States urges Hong Kong's Legislative Council to adopt amendments to correct these shortcomings.
The Central News Agency reported that the White House pointed out that Hong Kong's Legislative Council will conduct a final vote on Article 23 legislation draft as soon as early July. The United States has concerns that the Article 23 legislation, as currently drafted, could harm local freedoms and autonomy over time. Especially worrisome are provisions mandating the proscription of certain kinds of popular organizations and the absence of a "public interest" defense to protect freedom of expression and the press. The United States urges Hong Kong's Legislative Council to adopt amendments to correct these shortcomings.
The White House Statement said, "Hong Kong's special status, endorsed by the United States under the Hong Kong Policy Act, depends on the local authorities' protection of human and civil rights and preservation of the territory's autonomy."
The Statement emphasized that the United States opposes any law that threatens the territory's unique identity, including the current version of Article 23 legislation.
The Statement also pointed out, "The controversy surrounding the legislation underlines the importance of Hong Kong's move toward full participatory democracy. Like Article 23, universal suffrage is enshrined in the Basic Law, and Hong Kong's leaders should now pursue it with equal industry."
According to Article 23 bill the Hong Kong SAR announced, if a local organization is part of an organization banned by Mainland regime under national security reasons, Secretary for Security will be given the power to ban the local organization from holding activities; The open decrees issued by the Central Government for banning a certain organization in the Mainland under national security reasons would be applicable in Hong Kong, and would not need to take further evidence. If the above draft provisions were passed, Falun Gong would be taken as an illegal organization.
The Global Coalition Against Article 23 Legislation Sponsors:
Rally & March Against Article 23 Legislation in Hong Kong
"To Protect Hong Kong's Freedom is to Protect Our Conscience"
March: June 28, 2003, 11:30AM - 1:00PM,
Route: The National Mall on 3rd St - Pennsylvania Ave - Right on 15th St - Right on H St - Right on 6th St - Right on G St - Right on 7th St - Left on Pennsylvania Ave - Right on 3rd St toward the National Mall
Rally: June 28, 2003, 1:30PM - 3:00PM
Location: The National Mall between the 3rd and 4th St.
Who: Anyone who is concerned about the future of Hong Kong
To support Civil Human Rights Front's July 1 March in Hong Kong with the theme of "Against Article 23 Legislation; Return Political Power to People." Hong Kong's public is trying its best to persuade the HK SAR government to drop the Article 23 legislation because Hong Kong does not need Article 23. Article 23 will undermine Hong Kong's economic prospects, and restrict the people's freedom of the press, religion, and assembly. We will voice our strongest opposition to any legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law, safeguard the policy of "One Country Two Systems," and protect the freedom and democracy in Hong Kong.
It has been ten months since the public called for the publication of a White Bill to allow more time for public consultation on this law. However, the Hong Kong government has disregarded the request from Hong Kong's people and the international community, and has submitted the National Security (Legislative Provisions) Blue Bill to the Legislative Council (Legco) in February. The bill, if it becomes law, will seriously threaten human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong. The definition of "national security" in Hong Kong will be determined by the central government in Beijing, and local organizations will become unlawful without any oversight and protection by the courts in Hong Kong, thereby eroding the "One Country, Two Systems" policy.
The last draft of Article 23 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong, published in April 1990, is as the following: "The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies."
What Article 23 signifies is outlined the below:
- These laws state that any branch organizations that are part of an organization banned by the Chinese government under state security reasons can be banned in Hong Kong at any time, and the Hong Kong government does not have to conduct any independent investigation.
- These laws also deliberately turned around the concepts of government and nation. In a democratic and free country, citizens have the right to monitor and check the government, whereas Article 23 state that opposing the government is opposing the nation.
- Article 23 grants too much power to the police. For instance, it allows the police to enter residential buildings and arrest people at any time without court warrants and evidence. The police's suspicion is enough evidence.
- Any speech deemed as instigative can be regarded as illegal, including oral, written and electronic forms; people who express, hear and fail to report such speech are regarded as guilty by this law.
- Permanent residents of Hong Kong are under the power of this law no matter where he (she) is. If they violate Article 23, they can be extradited back to Hong Kong; people who are in Hong Kong are all under the power of Article 23, regardless of nationality, including people who transit and visit Hong Kong. Minor violations of Article 23 can result in a seven-year jail sentence, and serious violations can lead to life imprisonment.
GCAA23 was initiated by the following organizations and individuals:
Global Alliance for Democracy and Peace (GADP), Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA), Free China Movement, Independent Federation of Chinese Students and Scholars (IFCSS), Greater Philadelphia Asian Culture Center, Yih-Chyun Bookstore, Chuan Shun Corp, Campaign For Abolishment of Laojiao Concentration Camp, Democratic Chinese Front, June 4 Investigation Committee, Ming Hui School, etc. (Web site: http://www.AgainstArticle23.org)