December 24 marked the end of the survey period for Article 23. Organizations in Hong Kong submitted 190, 000 signatures opposing the potential legislation.
December 24 was the last day of the consultation period of Article 23. A consultation period is an allotted time during which the Hong Kong government officials will receive opinions, testimony or documentation from the people of Hong Kong before voting on legislation. Many organizations appealed to Hong Kong government offices and submitted 190, 000 signatures opposing Article 23.
The Civil Human Rights Front, composed of more than 40 member organizations, paraded to the government building and submitted 190, 000 signatures. Representatives believe that once this article becomes law, Hong Kong will no longer be free. Beijing will install its brutal methods of control and freedom of speech and thought will completely disappear.
In addition, international human rights organizations submitted several thousand signatures opposing Article 23. A spokesman requested that the government prolong the consultation period.
Additionally, The Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor issued an open letter to Tung Chee-hwa (Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region), pointing out that Article 23 violates international human rights standards.
The Human Rights Monitor declared that China has often used similar legislation to suppress journalists, labor activists, web industry workers and researchers. They want the Hong Kong government to protect freedom of expression and other human rights.
The open letter also mentioned, the China-UK Joint Declarations signed in 1984 state clearly that Hong Kong would have freedom of expression, freedom of belief and freedom of association. China promised that Hong Kong would not change for 50 years. If Article 23 is established, it will bring severe restrictions to the Hong Kong people and also damage the reputation of China in the international community.
The UK Liberal Democratic Party Leader expresses deep concern over Article 23.
The leader of the UK Liberal Democratic Party wrote a return letter to a Falun Dafa practitioner. He expressed how worried the Party was about this piece of legislation.
Chinese organizations in San Francisco submit thousands of signatures opposing Article 23 to the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce Office.
On the afternoon of December 23, more than ten Chinese organizations in San Francisco submitted thousands of signatures and an open letter to the Hong Kong Liaison Office in San Francisco (Hong Kong Business and Trading Office), opposing Article 23. The government representative met with 5 representatives from these organizations, carefully listened to their concerns and expressed that they will send the open letter and signatures to the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The content of the open letter can be found at:http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/articles/2002/12/26/30197.html
A Journalist from the Central News Agency Reports.
Journalist Chen Xing from the Central News Agency reports from Hong Kong on December 24: The greatly controversial Article 23 has reached the last day of the consultation period. Many organizations on both sides of the debate are still working hard to submit opinion letters to the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The opposing organizations include the Civil Human Rights Front, which initiated a large march against Article 23 and Amnesty International Hong Kong Chapter, which submitted 170 000 opposing signatures. They feel that Article 23 will affect the basic human rights and freedom of Hong Kong citizens and request that the government prolong the consultation period. They call for a town meeting of Hong Kong citizens to gauge the public sentiment.
Many international organizations and governments have expressed their concerns over Article 23. The European Union declared today that Article 23 might be used to limit or even eliminate local chapter activities in Hong Kong. They are currently outlawed in mainland China. The Union requests that the Hong Kong government respect the spirit of freedom and human rights by which the Constitution of Hong Kong was framed. Human Rights Watch in New York also published an open letter criticizing Article 23 as threatening freedom of expression in Hong Kong. They claim that the suggested legislation is very near sighted.