Aug 12, 2005

Article 23 of Hong Kong Basic Law, viewed as a very dangerous law by Hong Kong residents, was rejected by 500,000 Hong Kong resident's marching through the heart of Hong Kong on July 1, 2003 and its legislation process has been shelved.

But recently, the CCP's official newspaper in Hong Kong brought out Article 23 once again to threaten Falun Gong and The Epoch Times in Hong Kong and prevent information about the "Tuidang" (Quit the CCP) campaign from spreading into the mainland through Hong Kong.

(Article 23 was a CCP proposal that would have given the CCP the power to deny basic rights to any group it chose, effectively eliminating free expression in Hong Kong.)

Wenweipo, the CCP's mouthpiece in Hong Kong, published an article on August 9 attacking Hong Kong Falun Gong practitioners. For the first time, the article mentioned the "Tuidang" campaign's effect in Mainland China and the impact of news reports of the Jiuping (Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party) and "Tuidang" campaign by The Epoch Times in Hong Kong. The article claimed that The Epoch Times and Falun Gong practitioners could impact "millions of mainland people that come to Hong Kong for tourism purpose or family visit, and hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents that frequently travel between the mainland and Hong Kong, and through the above people, could impact mainland China..."

The article claimed that information and activities of Jiuping and "Tuidang" should be classified as "Anti-China and Disturbing Hong Kong," and brought out the topic of Article 23 once again. The article said, "It is the most important legal foundation for us to restrict activities that are "Anti-China and disturbing Hong Kong" in Hong Kong." Hong Kong people believe that the CCP once again will try to intimidate the Hong Kong government on the issue of Article 23. Hong Kong Open magazine Executive Editor Cai Yongmei described the article as "a typical CCP party culture article" used for "implicating and accusing." She believes that the article also raised another issue, that the CCP could launch another campaign against overseas Falun Gong practitioners, and people should be highly alert about this. She also believes that the new campaign is a reaction to the Nine Commentaries and the "Tuidang" campaign triggered by the Nine Commentaries.

This changed on July 7, 2005, when CCP Central Committee Organization Department Deputy Minister Li Jingtian commented at a Chinese Department of State Press Office press conference that "the news of over thousands of Party Members quitting the Party was forged by someone with ulterior motives to cheat overseas Chinese that have lived overseas for a long time." On that same day, the number of people leaving the party via The Epoch Times Tuidang website passed 2.8 million.

This new attempt to intimidate the Hong Kong government using Article 23 clearly shows the CCP's worry about the spread of The Nine Commentaries and "Tuidang" into the mainland through Hong Kong.