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【狙擊戴耀廷】港大法律學會:當權者斷章取義 打壓學術及言論自由

2018/4/1 — 16:44

戴耀廷 (TVB新聞截圖)

戴耀廷 (TVB新聞截圖)

港大法律系副教授戴耀廷早前在台灣出席論壇,被指發表主張港獨言論,連日來被特區政府、港澳辦及中聯辦發聲明狠批,左派報章及親建制組織更火力全開。港大學生會法律學會今午發聲明,對政府、港澳辦及中聯辦的斷章取義、試圖打壓學術及言論自由的行為,深表失望及遺憾。

聲明指,戴耀廷於論壇中,指反專制成功後,現時中國大陸各族群應有自決之權利,可考慮獨立成國、建立聯邦或成為邦聯。其發言內容之重點,在於探討將來反專制運動後香港以至中國各族群的想像,而其中「獨立成國」亦只是在闡述自決權的概念。政府及中央機構指其「鼓吹港獨」是曲解其發言,「強烈譴責」亦僅為基於斷章取義的指控。該會對此深感失望。

該會認為,探討「人民自決」或「港獨」的對錯或可行性,本身並不違法,理應受言論自由的保障。《基本法》第27及34條分別保障本港居民之言論自由及進行學術研究的自由,當中亦必然包括討論與現有政制框架不同的事情的自由,如「自決」及「港獨」。

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政府及中央機構點名譴責戴耀廷「勾連外國勢力」甚至不符合《基本法》,實為無稽之談,令人擔憂有收窄自由社會下應有的言論自由、以政治手段打壓異見者之嫌。再者,討論香港政治及法律制度的前途,是戴耀廷作為憲法及行政法學者的應有之義。政府點名針對此等討論,是對院校學術自由不可容忍的干預。

該會重申,言論自由及學術自由是本港作為法治社會賴以成功的基石,一切有關本港未來的討論都應被這些自由所保障,政府應維護市民基本權利,而非打壓表達自由。

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另外,進步教師同盟亦發表聲明,指戴耀廷的發言內容,明顯並非鼓吹港獨,而只是討論將來在一個思想和言論自由的中國下,香港人可以自由考慮政治前途。聲明指特區政府斷章取義,無端生事,亦令人誤會戴耀廷的政治主張,「這種誣衊,極為可恥!」進師盟認為,動輒地指公民的言論違反《基本法》並加以譴責,甚至剝奪其公民權利,將《基本法》變成打壓公民的工具,這才是違反《基本法》。最後聲明促請特區政府自重,不要企圖用生安白造的手法製造敵人,成為合理化威權管治的藉口。

同時,戴耀廷本人亦於昨日反問,香港是否已到了以言入罪的地步,或至少已對普羅市民產生了極大的寒蟬效應。他指港人可能以後必須發表迎合當權者的意見,「不然即使不會惹來官司,也要承受文攻武鬥」。

香港大學學生會法律學會回應政府譴責戴耀廷副教授的聲明
(Please scroll down for the English version)

特區政府於二零一八年三月三十日發新聞稿,點名譴責香港大學法律系戴耀廷副教授「在台灣發表有關香港可以考慮成立獨立國家的言論」,指其不符「一國兩制」、《基本法》及香港社會的整體利益。翌日,國務院港澳辦及中聯辦(下稱「中央機構」)亦發稿譴責戴副教授「鼓吹」港獨,並要求港府「依法規管」提倡港獨人士與外國勢力的「勾連活動」。香港大學學生會法律學會(下稱「本會」)對此斷章取義、試圖打壓學術及言論自由的行為深表失望及遺憾。

戴副教授於三月二十四日出席台灣一個自由人權論壇中,指反專制成功後,現時中國大陸各族群應有自決之權利,可考慮獨立成國、建立聯邦或成為邦聯。戴副教授發言內容之重點,在於探討將來反專制運動後香港以至中國各族群的想像,而其中「獨立成國」亦只是在闡述自決權的概念。政府及中央機構指其「鼓吹港獨」是曲解了戴副教授的發言;而所謂「強烈讉責」,亦僅為基於斷章取義的指控。本會對此深感失望。

就關於香港未來政制的想像,以及探討「人民自決」或「港獨」的對錯或可行性而言,討論本身並不違法,理應受言論自由的保障。《基本法》第二十七及三十四條分別保障本港居民之言論自由及進行學術研究的自由,當中亦必然包括討論與現有政制框架不同的事情的自由,如「自決」及「港獨」。

政府及中央機構點名譴責戴副教授「勾連外國勢力」,甚至乎不符合《基本法》實為無稽之談,令人擔憂有收窄自由社會下應有的言論自由、以政治手段打壓異見者之嫌。再者,討論香港政治及法律制度的前途是戴副教授身為憲法及行政法學者的應有之義。政府點名針對此等討論,是對院校學術自由不可容忍的干預。本會極為憂慮言論及學術自由將在政府高調針對並大肆讉責所謂「港獨言論」的風氣下受損。

言論自由及學術自由是本港作為法治社會賴以成功的基石。本會重申,一切有關本港未來的討論都應被這些自由所保障。就香港長遠發展而言,本會憂慮此等點名針對個人的攻擊會演化成進一步收窄言論及學術自由,並強調政府應維護市民基本權利,而非逆行倒施打壓表達自由。

香港大學學生會法律學會
二零一八年四月一日

Statement of the Law Association, HKUSU in response to the government’s condemnation of Associate Professor Mr Benny Tai

The government named and condemned Mr Benny Tai, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong for allegedly having remarked ‘in Taiwan that Hong Kong could consider becoming an independent state’ in a press release issued on 30th March 2018. The government claimed that such ‘advocacy of “Hong Kong independence” is against “One Country, Two Systems”, the Basic Law and the overall and long-term interest of the Hong Kong society’. The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (hereinafter ‘Central Authorities’) also issued press releases on the next day, condemning Mr Tai’s alleged advocacy of Hong Kong independence and ‘firmly suggest’ that the Hong Kong government ‘regulate affiliation between “independence advocates” and foreign subversive influence according to law’. The Law Association, HKUSU (hereinafter ‘the Association’) regrets with great disappointment such quotations out of context as an attempt to suppress freedom of speech and academic freedom.

Mr Tai, at a forum on liberty and human rights in Taiwan on 24th March, made a remark that after anti-despotism movements succeed, different Chinese communities will have a right to self-determination: they may consider becoming an independent state, or establishing a federal state or confederation. The emphasis of Mr Tai’s speech was the post-anti-despotism imagination of the future of Hong Kong and other Chinese communities. The assertion on ‘becoming an independent state’ was only a description on the concept of self-determination. The claims by the government and the Central Authorities that Mr Tai’s speech ‘advocates Hong Kong independence’ was a disappointing misinterpretation of his speech; and such ‘strong condemnation’ was a reckless accusation out of context.

In the context of imagining the future Hong Kong political system and discussing whether ‘self-determination’ and ‘independence’ are legitimate and feasible in Hong Kong, the discussion itself does not attract any legal consequences and should be protected by the freedom of speech. Articles 27 and 34 of the Basic Law protect the freedoms of speech and of academic research of Hong Kong citizens respectively; these freedoms surely include that to discuss issues deviating from the current political framework such as ‘self-determination’ and ‘Hong Kong independence’.

Accusing Mr Tai’s position as ‘affiliating with subversive influence’, let alone running against the Basic Law was plainly groundless, causing the worry that it suppresses dissidents with political acts and limits the scope of the freedom of speech, which should be readily protected in a liberal society. Moreover, to pick on Mr Tai, a scholar who specialises in constitutional law and administrative law for duly participating in discussions relating to the legal and political future is an intolerable interference with the academic freedom of institutions and their teaching and research staffs. The Association is gravely concerned with the potential erosion of the freedom of speech and academic freedom under the high-profile witch-hunting on the discussion on Hong Kong independence by the government.

Freedom of speech and academic freedom are the cornerstones of Hong Kong as a society upholding the rule of law. The Association reiterates that all kinds of discussion on the future of Hong Kong should be protected under these rights. With regard to the long-term development of Hong Kong, the Association is concerned that such specifically named attacks against individuals will escalate into further erosion of the freedom of speech and academic freedom, and emphasises the role of the government to protect basic rights of its people, rather than to perversely suppress freedom of expression.

Law Association, HKUSU
1st April 2018

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