UK MP Concerned Over Suppression of Falun Gong in HK Under Article 23 Legislation
On 6 March 2003, Mr. Nigel Jones, a member of the UK Parliament (House of Commons) tabled a written parliamentary question to the UK Foreign minister regarding "the Chinese Government's attempts, under [the] Article 23 legislation to curtail the practice of Falun Gong in Hong Kong without consultation with the people of Hong Kong" and asked "whether this is in contravention of safeguards given to the people of Hong Kong when the territory was returned to China."
Mr Bill Rammell, the Minister in the Foreign Ministry who is responsible for affairs with China and Hong Kong stated in his reply "We issued statements about the original proposals in November 2002. In these, we referred to concerns in Hong Kong about the outlined proposals concerning the proscription of organizations. These concerns were voiced by many individuals and organizations, including Falun Gong. We are now studying the precise wording of the draft legislation."
He also outlined some of his recent efforts on the issue: "On a visit to Hong Kong in January 2003, I discussed Article 23 in some detail with senior members of the SAR Government. I made clear to them our concerns about the proposals. On a visit to Beijing before arriving in Hong Kong, I also took the opportunity to discuss Article 23 with Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister, Zhang Yesui."
He said "It is vital for the future prosperity of Hong Kong that its people and the international community perceive this [compatibility of the Article-23 legislation with international covenants on human rights] to be the case..."
The Minister concluded by stating "We shall continue to watch this crucial issue very carefully."
Category: Grassroots Resistance in China