Friends of Falun Gong (BC Canada Chapter) Appeals to Canadian Citizens and Organizations to Sign Petition Letter Against Article 23
Dear Sir or Madam:
We would like to bring to your attention the fact that the Hong Kong authorities are proposing to introduce the highly controversial "Article 23," which is also known as the "anti-subversion law." This legislation, if passed, will do enormous damage to Hong Kong's autonomy, civil liberties and press freedoms. We are writing to respectfully ask that you speak out on the issues inherent in this legislation that damage Hong Kong residents' freedoms and civil liberties as well as the "one country, two systems" agreement.
Written under direct pressure from China, the proposed law would make it possible to proscribe any organization affiliated with an organization that has been banned in Mainland China.
If the proposed legislation becomes law, Hong Kong could ban any organization determined by China to be a national security risk, thereby making a mockery of Hong Kong 's autonomy and the "one country, two systems" principle. Many groups could be affected, including Falun Gong, democracy activists, Catholics and others.
The anti-subversion law would also put serious restrictions on the media in Hong Kong by limiting what information could be published. In essence, this new law, if passed would mean that Hong Kong and its people will be much less independent and more under China's totalitarian control, in addition to becoming involved in human rights abuses.
Ms. Frances D'Souza, the Executive Director of the law consultant group in charge of creating the "Johannesburg Principles," which was drafted in 1995 by a group of experts in international law, national security and human rights, traveled to Hong Kong December 4 to expose the Hong Kong government's intent with this new proposed legislation.
Ms. D'Souza stated that on reading the consultation document, she found that it violated a number of international standards which protect human rights and the freedom of expression. She said, "Article 23 undoubtedly jeopardizes individual freedom, and the freedoms of speech and information exchange." For instance, the definition of "hidden treason" could make citizens unknowingly commit crimes for no reason.
Researchers fear that under the proposed legislation they may not be able to conduct research in certain fields of study for fear of arrest under broadly termed statutes. For example, businessmen may be charged with treason for providing banking services to Taiwan because China is opposed to Taiwan's existence.
Falun Gong practitioners are perhaps under the greatest threat by this legislation. Until now, Falun Gong practitioners have been allowed to practice in Hong Kong, but not without continual obstruction by the government. Falun Gong is an entirely peaceful practice for the mind and body based on the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Tolerance, and is well known and respected throughout the world. But the practice has been targeted with defamation and violent repression wherever the Jiang regime's power can be wielded. We would not want to see more people suffer this kind of pressure and attack on basic freedoms in Hong Kong.
It is clear that the stability of Hong Kong's democratic "one country two systems policy," and its credibility and accountability to its people and the world community are in serious jeopardy. Strong voices from all corners of the world are needed to stop the passage of Article 23 and protect Hong Kong citizens. Public input on this important matter will be accepted by Hong Kong only until December 24, 2002. Let all the people of Canada, NGO's, the media, MP's MLA's and others, work together to protect the freedom and autonomy of Hong Kong, and ensure that the framework of basic human rights will support all of our endeavors in the future.
Here are a few easy ways you can help:
* Sign the enclosed petition letter to the Hong Kong Security Bureau to oppose Article 23. Please copy the letter with your name/organization and send to BL23@sb.gov.hk Kindly cc to this email account.
* Sign online petition: http://www.article23.org.hk/english/main.htm Click on signature campaign. This is initiated by the Civil Human Rights Front (30 Hong Kong NGOs) and provides substantial background information as well.
* Write your own letter to the Security Bureau
* Forward the online petition website to your members and friends.
Friends of Falun Gong, BC Chapter
(Attn: AS(F)2, F Division)
6th Floor, East Wing,
Central Government Offices
Lower Albert Road
Dear Mrs. Regina Yip
We, the undersigned individuals and NGOs from Canada would like to express our deep concerns about the Article 23 legislation in Hong Kong.
It was brought to our attention that the Hong Kong government is introducing this controversial legislation, which, as currently proposed, could damage Hong Kong's autonomy, liberties and press freedom.
It seems that the proposed legislation was written under direct pressure from China and is far more restrictive and severe than required by the Basic Law. It appears that if it is enacted, Hong Kong would have to ban any organization determined by China to be a national security risk. This is against Hong Kong' s autonomy and the "one country, two systems" principle. It seems that the proposed law would also put serious restrictions on Hong Kong's media with regards to publishing information related to Beijing.
We strongly urge you to ensure that this legislation will preserve Hong Kong s civil liberties, in particular its autonomy in determining the legal status of organisations in Hong Kong, the freedom of the press, the freedom of belief, and the freedom of assembly.
We would like to express our opposition to this Article 23 legislation.
Category: People in China Awaken to the Truth