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Hong Kong Cultural Community: "We Want White Bill Consultation, Not White Terror"

December 29, 2002 |  

(Clearwisdom.net) Human Rights Frontline reported on December 23 that the cultural community of Hong Kong had issued a collective statement regarding the legislation of Article 23 of the basic law that they had collected 483 signatures thus far. This is the largest group activity the cultural community has undertaken ever since the June 4th Students' Movement in 1989, which fully reflected the reservations and doubts that the cultural community has with regard to Article 23.

Participants of the group activity include writers, dancers, actors, bookstore owners, magazine editors, fashion designers, and culture and art institutions etc. Such a collective stand by the Hong Kong cultural community is very rare.

Since the consultation period began, the society of the cultural community has generally felt that the citizens' proposals to have the white bill draft published and the consultation period extended are quite reasonable, and the HK government should not reject them. Many people in fact fundamentally oppose the implementation of Article 23; they are particularly concerned about the charge of "sedition," which may bring about the situation of the"white terror" a term for what happened during the cultural revolution when many innocent people were widely and arbitrarily charged with being against the government.

In order to avoid running in with the law, many workers in the cultural circles would have to examine their work or publications closely to see if any could be construed as sedition. What's even worse is that competitors may use Article 23 to strike at their rivals. Therefore sedition may lead to the withering of creativity and culture in Hong Kong.

In addition to sedition, other proposed offenses may also stifle cultural and artistic activities. For example, if a Taiwan Film Festival were held to promote the understanding of Taiwan culture for Hong Kong citizens, would that be considered treason?

The cultural community will continue to follow and pay close attention to the Article 23 issues, and will respond accordingly.