(Clearwisdom.net) 2002-12-20 -- A public hearing was held yesterday to voice Taiwan's objection to a series of draft bills in Hong Kong that are considered to be in violation of human rights. The public hearing, jointly held by the Taiwan Association for Human Rights and the Taiwan Falun Dafa Institute, was aimed to air out concerns over the draft bills that are slated to be included in Article 23 of the Basic Law - Hong Kong's constitution. The Article stipulates that "the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, or theft of state secrets."

Under the principle of the article, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government announced an outline of the draft bills in September 24, which, according to Hong Kong Legislative Councilor Ho Sau-lan, will make Hong Kong face a grave threat to its civil liberties.

For example, under the blurry definition of "treason, secession, sedition, and theft of state secrets," Hong Kong citizens as well as foreigners would be breaking the law for publicly supporting Taiwan independence in Hong Kong territory. It will also be against the law for Hong Kong nationals to discuss similar sensitive issues outside of Hong Kong. In addition, the bills will hand over more power to the police by allowing them to conduct investigations without obtaining a warrant.

To express opposition against the draft bills, over 60,000 Hong Kong citizens rallied in the streets on December 15, making it the largest demonstration in Hong Kong since the 1997 handover to China. The measure has also aroused concerns from the international community over their investments, and rights of their nationals in Hong Kong.

Chang Ching-hsi, director of the Taiwan Falun Dafa Institute, pointed out that the draft bills directly target Falun Gong, [...]. If the bill passes, Falun Gong practices would be banned in Hong Kong.

"It is even worse than the now abolished Criminal Law Article 100 in Taiwan," said Wu Hui-lin, a member of Chinese Association For Human Rights. Criminal Law Article 100 was used to persecute Taiwan dissidents during the Martial Law era and led to Taiwan's "white terror" period.

Lin Cho-shui, a ruling Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker, said that while some believed that the economic reforms would soften China's totalitarian stance, it is obvious now that there are no moderates in China. "The Beijing government has shattered its promise that Hong Kong would not change for 50 years after 1997," Lin said.

"The bills would not only make an impact on Hong Kong, it would also affect Taiwan," said Yang Sen-hong, president of the Taiwan News and a member of a human rights consulting panel under the Presidential Office.

Yang explained that the Beijing authorities were seeking a reaction from Taiwan and perhaps will use the bill as a reference in its "one country, two systems" policy. "The system is broken," Yang said. "This is another form of pointing missiles at Taiwan."

Opposition Kuomintang Legislator Wang Chung-yu plans to launch a signature campaign today with the opposition parties and the ruling party against the Article 23 legislation.