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衛報獄中專欄—爭取民主必須經歷牢獄試煉

2017/9/28 — 19:05

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各位關心香港民主進程的朋友:

我被判監接近一個月時間,在獄中翻閱報章得悉國際社會非常關注雨傘運動的判決。對於十六位示威人士因參與三年前的和平抗議而面臨監禁。國際人權組織、英、美國會議員,德國人權專員,彭定康等,在中共政權崛起之際,挺身而出為港人發聲,支持這場由年輕學生發起,歷時七十九天的和平抗爭運動,實在令我們一眾在囚戰友十分感激。

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2014年,我與香港人投入雨傘運動,以非暴力抗爭方式爭取香港落實民主體制,自由選出香港國際城市的首長。去年,法庭裁定我參與非法集結罪名成立,當時法庭信納我們參與公民抗命並非為一己私利,判80小時社會服務令。但路透社揭露,律政司司長袁國強凌駕檢控會議共識,堅持要覆核我們的刑期;在庭上更將和平的雨傘運動與暴力騷亂劃上等號。袁國強司長作為司法體系的首長,卻由不民主政府委任的政治任命官員。這次覆核刑期的政治決定亦存有利益衝突,因為他本身參與「政改三人組」又曾批評雨傘運動。最後,曾經參與反佔中愛國組織的保守法官,以「遏止歪風」為由將我囚在獄中半年。

昔日,非法集結罪名只會用作檢控幫會人士,主權移交後卻成為打擊香港民主運動的工具,而判刑亦有違一致性。從此參與公民抗命的成本不再是社會服務令,而是以半年起計的監禁刑期。讓愛與和平佔領中環發起人戴耀廷教授陳健民教授和年屆72歲的朱耀明牧師也將在明年入獄,反映香港不再是國際社會所理解的「有自由,無民主」城市。爭取民主自由的香港人逐一被律政司以法律手段控告,判處不合比例的監禁刑期。在北京的干預下,我們引以為傲的法治已變為威權式法治。

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縱然監獄生活實在枯燥,在庇護工場非常單調的工作,又不能跟家人和戰友聯繫亦相當辛苦。儘管如此,我仍已投入雨傘運動為榮。當我在監獄裏讀到《曼德拉自傳》和《劉曉波獄中回憶錄》,不禁令我想起監獄的英式步操訓練和難吃的膳食又算得甚麼?坐牢是民主轉型的必經階段。即使我們的人身自由受到限制,也無法阻止我們自由的靈魂繼續追求民主。經歷這些磨練後,在囚戰友的信念會變得更加堅定,更有機會換來一代香港人的覺醒和國際社會的支持。以往我們提到「政治犯」,大多是中國共產黨治下的異見人士,但當香港步入威權時代,我們爭取人權和民主的朋友便可能因此被囚。香港從未出現過數以百計的政治犯,國際社會是否仍可視以不見,瞞騙自己香港仍是一切如常?

坦白說,在貿易關係凌駕人權價值的時代,不少國家很容易向專制獨裁的中共政權示好。但我仍深信:作為中國領土中最具備民主土壤的城市,香港在中共十九大開幕前夕——
象徵習近平的強硬路線主政的年代,出現一個又一個的青年政治犯,反而更能揭開中國和平崛起的假象。

英國外交部發表的「香港半年報告」至今仍斷言一國兩制維持穩定行之有效,實在令人感到非常憤怒。當香港出現一個又一個政治犯,我認為英方更有責任重新審視香港問題。作為《中英聯合聲明》的簽署國,英國的國會亦應透過辯論和舉行聽證會,對香港民主運動作出公允評價;現時香港民主運動面對政權全面報復清算,一眾政治犯未來五年更失去參選權利,這明顯是違反《公民及政治權利國際公約》。

前港督彭定康在我們判囚後,勉勵三人的名字將被歷史記著。《紐約時報》編輯又建議提名諾貝爾和平獎。我很感激這些鼓勵,但其實身處牢中,我只謙卑地希望世人不要忘記香港,歷史會記著雨傘運動。更值得獲諾貝爾和平獎嘉許的,是投入雨傘運動的每一位香港人。

相比掌控全球四分一人口的中國共產黨,香港只是一個七百萬人口的城市。雖然香港很微小,但港人的勇氣、決心和堅持而變得強大。爭取民主必須經歷牢獄試煉,即使歷史重演我也會義無反顧參與公民抗命,因為這是時代給予香港人的責任。我們會繼續抗爭,直到香港民主結出豐碩果實。

香港雖小,卻因香港人而強大。

黃之鋒
2017年9月3日


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【Captivity Epistles | A Letter to the International Community】
http://bit.ly/2xMcjIN

Dear Friends, 

Over this past month of detention, I have learnt from reading the papers of the international community’s keen interest in the Umbrella Movement and the ongoing deterioration of liberties in Hong Kong. I am most grateful to the heartfelt support from, among others, members of the U.S. Congress and of the British Parliament, the German Federal Foreign Office and the admirable Lord Patten who served as Hong Kong’s last colonial governor for their backing of the young protest leaders now in jail—myself included—for taking part in the peaceful, 79-day sit-in three years ago. These words mean a lot to us.

Back in 2014, my fellow Hong Kongers and I partook in the Umbrella Movement, which aimed at using nonviolent means to fight for our territory’s democratic system—simply a right to choose our own leader as Beijing has long promised. Although a magistrates’ court found me guilty last year of participating in an “unlawful assembly”, it only sentenced me to 80 hours of community service, acknowledging our belief in civil disobedience to achieve selfless values. The Department of Justice’s top prosecutors had wanted to close the case, but the Secretary for Justice, Rimsky Yuen, overruled them recently and insisted on seeking harsher punishments.

Not only is this unfair because Mr Yuen’s cabinet office as the executive branch’s chief law enforcement officer is a political appointment by an undemocratically elected government, the Court of Appeal’s judge in charge of our case also faces a potential conflict of interest as he has publicly condemned the Umbrella Movement before. Calling our demonstrations a part of the city’s “unhealthy tendency”, he put me in jail for six months

In the past, the prosecution of “unlawful assembly”-related charges often targeted criminal activities by gangs. Now, these outdated colonial-era laws have become the tool to suppress Hong Kong’s democratisation. The cost of civil disobedience will dramatically increase as participants must now expect not community service hours but at least months in prison.

Dozens more who have played a prominent role in the Umbrella Movement may also be facing imprisonment in the near future, including Professors Benny Tai and Chan Kin Man, along with the 73-year-old Reverend Chu Yiu Ming, who co-initiated Occupy Central. As such, it is evident that Hong Kong is no longer the metropolis—as the world had come to know—“with freedom but without democracy”. Hong Kongers who stand up to defend our autonomy are, one by one, relentlessly pursued by the Beijing-backed administration and courts that are determined to give us disproportionate jail sentences. The renowned rule of law that Hong Kong once prided itself on has been overridden by Beijing’s rule by law.

Life at the correctional facility is dull and dry; to be disconnected with my family and friends who I have fought alongside is also tremendously painful. But despite these difficulties, I am still proud of my commitment to the Umbrella Movement. After reading Nelson Mandela’s autobiography and Liu Xiaobo’s memoirs, I cannot help but think: What are these British-style marching exercises and the bad food here in Hong Kong compared to their sufferings?

Being locked up is an inevitable part of our long, exhausting path to democracy. Our bodies are held captive, but our pursuit of freedom cannot be contained. The adversity will only sharpen our wits and make us more strong-willed, resulting in the political awakening of more Hong Kongers in addition to the international community’s support. In the past when we speak of political detainees under the Chinese Communist Party, we refer to dissents on the mainland; yet as Hong Kong ushers in a heightened authoritarian era, to advocate human rights is to risk being a political detainee. This is the new normal; one simply cannot turn a blind eye and deceive itself Hong Kong is still as it has always been.

The British Foreign Office’s latest six-monthly report on Hong Kong insists that the “One Country, Two Systems” framework is in good shape—to us a rather frustrating remark. As political suppression here intensifies, London must reevaluate its past statements on Hong Kong to make fairer comments on our democracy endeavor. As a signatory of the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984, the U.K. should, through parliamentary debates and hearings, address the situation in Hong Kong to ensure the international treaties on civic and political rights that the colonial government has previously signed are not being violated.

While I note that countries often prioritize economic interests over human rights values—and hence the kowtowing to China—I continue to believe that Hong Kong, as the freest part on Chinese soil with the strongest faith in democracy, can still make a difference. Nothing can more blatantly unveil the facade of China’s so-called “peaceful rise” on the eve of the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party than the making of political prisoners in Hong Kong. Our fight will not cease under Xi Jinping’s hardline authoritarianism.

My friends Nathan Law and Alex Chow and I, wrote Lord Patten shortly after we were convicted last month, “will be remembered long after the names of those who have persecuted [us] have been forgotten and swept into the ashcan of history”. The New York Times even suggested a Nobel Peace Prize nomination of us. While I am happy for all these very kind words, at this moment behind bars, I have only one modest wish: May the world not forget Hong Kong and may history remember the Umbrella Movement. It belongs to every Hong Konger who stood alongside us in the struggle for autonomy.

One-fourth of the world live under Beijing’s rule. Although easily outnumbered, Hong Kong’s population of 7.3 million is significant for our courage, persistence and conviction—these are qualities that I believe can make us powerful in the face of oppression. I may have temporarily lost my freedom, but I have never regretted my involvement in the Umbrella Movement. Perhaps success is far ahead. But even if we turn back time, I would still choose civil disobedience. It is a responsibility our generation bears, and we will not hold back until the day democracy arrives.

Hong Kong may be small, but its people make it great.

Joshua

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