To: The Governor of Hong Kong, Tung Chee Hwa

Your Excellency!

The Austrian branch of the Internationale Gesellschaft fuer Menschenrechte (International Association for Human Rights) notices with consternation and concern certain developments regarding the questionable lawsuit against 16 Falun Gong practitioners in Hong Kong, a lawsuit that has been tried in the courts of your much esteemed country since June 17, 2002.

We are puzzled by the seemingly sudden developments in your part of the world. Up until now, why has your country, which previously has heroically and quite successfully and in impressive ways withstood the hair-raising influence of the human rights situation in Mainland China, suddenly shown laxity in observing human rights, particularly regarding Articles 7 and 8 that deal with Articles 18-20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Resolution 217 A (II) Human Rights and Basic Laws? We are asking you: Why is this happening?

All signs point a to a politically motivated trial, staged along Communist-Chinese blueprints, particularly when one considers the court's chastising of the defense attorney, the absurd-sounding accusations, and the un-called for and unjustified actions by the police against the peaceably demonstrating practitioners.

We hope that Hong Kong will not continue with the long list of human rights transgressions, not only against Falun Gong. We consider also the larger picture of human rights transgressions, such as against members of ethnic minorities and other religious minorities who only wish to practice their faiths unimpeded and in freedom. We hope that Hong Kong does not unquestionably continue its suppression, albeit under duress from the People's Republic of China, but instead sends a hopeful sign that lets the rest of the world know which road Hong Kong will choose.

We therefore urge you to arrive at a decision in concert with human rights principles, and not base your decision on considerations derived from political pressures.

Katharina Grieb, President, IgfM/Austria

IV (by) Erich Leopold, Leader of the China Section

(Original Text in German)