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Many Prominent UK Members of Parliament Express Concern over Hong Kong's Article 23 Legislation

December 18, 2002 |  

In recent weeks, many UK Members of Parliament have raised their concerns about the impact of Article 23 in Hong Kong, which could easily be used by the Hong Kong authorities to ban Falun Gong.

Dr Stephen Ladyman MP said, "This is an issue about which I am deeply concerned." Dr Ladyman has raised the issue with both the HK authorities and the UK Foreign Ministry.

A former Chancellor [Finance Minister] of the UK government, Kenneth Clark, said in his letter to a practitioner that he is concerned with the situation in Hong Kong and that he has raised the issue with the British Foreign Secretary.

Another former minister and a prominent member of the Conservative Party thanked the practitioner in his letter of 11/14/02 for raising the issue "about the future of Falun Gong under the proposed introduction of Article 23 legislation" and said "This is a very worrying situation."

Dr Patsy Calton MP, a Liberal Democrat spokeswoman, stated that the situation in Hong Kong is becoming increasingly worrying and that she has raised the issue of Article 23 legislation with the British Foreign Minister. She added that she has raised the issue of China's persecution of Falun Gong with the UN's new High Commissioner on Human Rights, who in turn will discuss the issue with Chinese authorities when he visits China in the near future.

Malcolm Bruce MP, a prominent MP of the Liberal Democratic Party said in his letter "I found your letter [on Falun Gong and the legislation being proposed in Hong Kong] extremely informative on the situation."

The office of the leader of the Conservative Party said, "Mr Duncan Smith has asked me to thank you for your recent letter and to reply on his behalf. He is very grateful to you for drawing your concerns about the proposed changes to the law in Hong Kong to his attention."

Mr Mike Hancock CBE MP wrote to the UK Foreign Secretary on 19/11/02, "I would urge you to make representations to China and use your influence so Hong Kong can keep the 'one country -- two systems' in Hong Kong and the freedoms that it has at the moment." He also said: "I will of course do all that I can both in and outside Parliament to campaign for better human rights"

The Chairman of a major UK parliament committee suggested two important names for the practitioner to contact and said, "I would strongly urge you to get them to write to the FCO [UK Foreign Ministry].

John Thurso MP said, "I am indeed concerned to learn of the threat which Article 23 legislation could pose to Falun Gong practitioners. I am very ready to take up the matter with Bill Rimmell [a Minister at the UK Foreign Ministry]."

Roger Godsiff MP thanked the practitioner for informing him about "the legislation which the Hong Kong authority is introducing outlawing the Falun Gong movement in Hong Kong as it has been in mainland China." He said "I was in China a few months ago... During the course of discussions that took place with Chinese officials myself and other British MPs questioned and challenged the Chinese assertion..."

John Wilkinson MP said, "I campaign strongly for freedom of religious and political expression within the People's Republic of China and Hong Kong and will continue to do so."

Many UK MPs, including Alan Simpson MP and Rob Marris MP, have written directly to the Hong Kong authorities to express their concerns about the controversial Article-23 legislation. Several MPs, including Dr Rudi Vis, have also contacted the UK Foreign Office concerning the controversial legislation in Hong Kong. Many more MPs indicated that they would bear in mind the practitioner's views when the UK Parliament comes to debate the issue.