(Clearwisdom.net) On Thursday 13 February 2003, the Hong Kong government published the full text of the draft law to implement Article 23, which it hopes will come into force as soon as possible. The full text is extremely difficult to find on the HK government website. In two days, the HK government changed the Internet address of the full text twice making it almost inaccessible to the public. What is it trying to hide?

It is widely known that the Article 23 legislation targets Falun Gong. For example, the HK government proposed a proscription mechanism that makes it possible to ban a Hong Kong group if it is linked to a Mainland organization that has been banned for national security reasons. This proposal clearly targeted Falun Gong and was firmly opposed by practitioners and people from all walks of life around the world.

The enormous pressure forced the HK government to retreat in several areas of the Article 23 legislation. It put forward a revised proscription mechanism in which only Hong Kong organizations subordinate to mainland organizations banned on the mainland can be banned in Hong Kong. On the surface, it seems that Falun Gong, with its loose organization and non-hierarchical nature, is safely outside the target area. But a detailed reading of the law text shows that in reality the opposite is the true.

First of all, according to the draft law, any group of two or more persons, regardless of location, will be considered a "mainland organization" if it was formed or established on the mainland or if its main place of business is in the mainland. Falun Dafa was introduced in mainland China in 1992 and the large majority of practitioners live in the mainland. Secondly, a Hong Kong group is considered "subordinate" to a "mainland organization" if any of its policies are determined, directly or indirectly, by the "mainland organization". Many of Falun Gong's principles such as "not charging for the exercise classes" are directly from the teaching given in Mainland China after 1992 and adopted by practitioners around the world, including Hong Kong. It is clear that the wording of the law has been deliberately crafted to frame Falun Gong into the targeted category for prohibition.

The Hong Kong government also tried to put up a facade of "fairness" by proposing to allow trial by jury if any group appeals against a prohibition order. However, the law text shows that "the Court may order that all or any portion of the pubic shall be excluded during any part of the hearing," thereby paving the way for the secret court trials that are already employed to unlawfully imprison Falun Gong practitioners in Mainland China. The law text also states that the hearing can "take place without the appellant being given full particulars of the reasons for the proscription" and that the Court can "hold proceedings in the absence of any person, including the appellant and any legal representative appointed by him". In simple terms, these provisions actually allow the HK government to quash appeals by banned organizations through holding secret trials, without informing the appellant why the ban has originally been invoked and without the presence of the appellant or their lawyer. This completely undermines the just and fair legal system that was characteristic of HK under the "one country, two systems agreement".

Behind the shrewdly crafted surface of the Hong Kong government's propaganda there is a devil hidden among the details of the Article 23 legislation that is bent on attacking Dafa and practitioners.

The essence of this legislation is to allow the Jiang regime to extend its persecution of Falun Gong to Hong Kong. The firm determination of Dafa practitioners around the world can stop this from happening.

At the level of the law, any legislation must not contain a mechanism by which the Jiang regime can effectively decide which organizations in Hong Kong are to be banned. At the level of the general society, such a mechanism would be against the spirit of "one country, two systems" co-signed by the British and Chinese governments. The law is fundamentally harmful to everyone in Hong Kong and beyond, so it is in the interest of everyone to act to defeat it.

See Clause 15 in pages C155-C163 of the full text:
in particular, page C155: 8A(2)c; page C157: 8A(5)g and 8A(5)h(iii); and page C163: 8D(5)/(6) and 8E(3)a/b