June 27, 2003
|HONG KONG, CHINA, 27-JUN-2003: Hong Kong citizens sign a petition to protest against the government legislating on Article 23 of the Basic Law in Hong Kong, June 27, 2003. Despite opposition against the legislation the government has rushed the anti-subversion legislation through the Legislative Council. [Photo by Mike Clarke, copyright 2003 by AFP and ClariNet]|
(Clearwisdom.net) HONG KONG - Some 100,000 people are expected to participate in a protest march against the Hong Kong government's plan to pass controversial anti-subversion laws next week, organizers said Friday.
"We have revised our application to the police and told them of our latest estimate that some 100,000 people are expected to attend the protest march," to the government headquarters on July 1, said Tsoi Yiu-cheong, spokesman for the Civil Human Rights Front.
"This is just our latest estimate from the 50,000 people we originally estimated," he said.
"The most important task now is to get more people to join the march against the legislation of the anti-subversion law which could deprive us of our freedom," said Tsoi.
The Democratic Party chairman Yeung Sum and 10 other members started a 100-hour hunger strike that will end an hour before the mass protest on July 1.
"The fast is to show our anger" over the legislation of the anti-subversion bill, Yeung told reporters.
Accusing the government of ignoring public opinion and of rushing to enact the controversial law, Yeung said the fast was also meant to call on people to participate in the massive protest march next week.
The demonstration is timed to coincide with celebrations marking the former British colony's reversion to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
Hong Kong is required under the Basic Law, the city's mini-constitution, to pass legislation banning treason, sedition, subversion and theft of state secrets.
Rights activists and pro-democracy groups have said they fear China could use the new law to suppress freedoms, including those of the media, speech and religion.
Meanwhile, the United States House of Representatives on Friday passed a resolution urging the Hong Kong government to withdraw its national security bill. It was approved by 426 votes to one, local radio reported.
There is mounting fear the law banning treason, sedition, theft of state secrets and subversion could stifle freedom of speech and strangle the free flow of information.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is expected to visit Hong Kong from June 29 to July 1 to attend the handover celebration.
During his visit, Wen will attend the signing ceremony of the city's first free trade agreement with China as part of Beijing's support to help revive Hong Kong's economy.
The premier will be spared any glimpse of the protest which will be held hours after he leaves Hong Kong on July 1.