All Democratic Members Absent at Recent Hong Kong Bills Committee Meeting
(Clearwisdom.net) All Democratic Party members of Hong Kong's Legislative Council were absent from last Saturday's meeting of the Bills Committee of Legislative Council on the National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill due to their participation in a two-day forum on "Freedom and National Security -- Is the Balance of the Two Achieved?" The royalists took advantage of their absence and rushed through the item-by-item deliberation of the Bill in just five hours. Furthermore, the royalists, against conventional protocol, even went so far as to pass a resolution to prevent future item-by-item discussion of the Bill by the Bills Committee. Some Democratic members admonished the royalists for their conduct and said it was a "challenge to human rights in Hong Kong."
At last Saturday's Bills Committee meeting on the National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill, the only member from the Democratic Party present was Sin Chung-kai. The rest were royalists.
During the deliberations, none of the items that have caused so much controversy were mentioned, such as the prohibition mechanisms, handling of seditious publications and the possibility of hearing in absentia from an appellant from a banned organization, etc.
The Bills Committee spent only four hours to deliberate the main body of the Bill and another hour to go through the amendments. After the deliberation, Leung Fu-wah from the Labor Association and Tsang Yok-sing from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong proposed an unprecedented resolution. They stated that the item-by-item deliberation of the Bill was completed and the committee would only deal with follow-up issues in the future. This was done out of fear that the democrats would later reverse the decision. The resolution was adopted unanimously with 19 votes.
Later, the Chairman of the Bills Committee, IP Kwok-him, admitted that the resolution was unusual; however he criticized members of the Democratic Party for being irresponsible. Democratic Party member TO Kun-sun, who went to the forum, argued that the speakers at the forum were world-famous law experts, who spoke with brilliant expositions. Failure to listen to their views was truly being irresponsible. He said, "We should have invited these law experts to attend the Bills Committee meeting, but they were given only 5 minutes to speak!" He went on to ask, "How could you possibly give these law representatives from the New York Association of Lawyers, who traveled so far to come here only 5 minutes to speak!"
Regarding the way the royalists rushed through the item-by-item deliberation of the Bill in the absence of members of the Democratic Party, LEE Cheuk-yan from the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), criticized the royalists for acting like "rubber stamps." He believed that their conduct went too far, and it was shameless. He accused the royalists of trying to adopt this final decision on the Bill by "closing the lid on the coffin."
Former Chairman of the Democratic Party, Martin Lee, accused the royalists of base conduct and said it was a "challenge to human rights in Hong Kong." Martin Lee hopes that people in Hong Kong are able to see the true colors of the royalists, and he appealed to people to participate in the grand parade on July 1.