立場新聞 Stand News

One Country-One System — Round up the Usual Suspects

2017/7/1 — 18:59

2017年七一大遊行(資料圖片)

2017年七一大遊行(資料圖片)

Hong Kong National Party had intended to organize an assembly in Tsim Sha Tsui on the evening of 30 June, in order to mourn the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's fall to Communist China. Chan Ho-tin, convener of the party, stressed that the assembly was meant to be peaceful and non-violent. It was, however, banned by the Police on the ground that the party's pro-independence advocacy was against the Basic Law. And on top of this, Chan Ho-tin, convener of the party, said that the police confirmed that the party would not be allowed to hold any public meeting in the future because of its political stance. There is good reason to suspect that because President Xi is visiting Hong Kong between 29 June and 1 July, the police has to round up the usual suspects, just like the police in the Hollywood movie Casablanca. The police's act of banning the evening gathering is actually a disguised enactment of the notorious national security law of Article 23, unconstitutional and in violation of international human rights.

Chan Ho-tin is probably right in regarding the police's act of banning the peaceful assembly of the HK National Party as unconstitutional. Chan Chak-ming, a Hong Kong lawyer, points out that the Basic Law is a constitutional document instead of a local criminal ordinance. Thus, under the framework of the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Government has no legal basis to pursue the criminal liability of people contravening the Basic Law. On the contrary, a unconstitutional act of the Government may be challenged by way of judicial review.

(Reference)

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The police's act of banning the peaceful assembly of the HK National Party is not only unconstitutional, but also against Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 19: 1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. 2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression. Article 21: The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized.

Many Hongkongers have been worried that the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong will enact Article 23 of the Basic Law and trample on Hong Kong people's freedom of speech and press. (C.H. Tung, The first Chief Executive of Hong Kong, pushed for legislation to implement Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law in September 2002. But he had to give up the attempt when more than five hundred thousand angry Hong Kong citizens took to the street on 1 July, 2003, to protest it.) On 2 April this year, The Hong Kong Policy Research Institute published a research report on how to legislate Article 23 of the Basic Law so that no one will be incriminated for exercising his or her right to freedom of expression.

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For example, the offence of sedition, according to the report, is an outdated and over harsh offence, which contravenes the modern concept of democracy. Both the law committee of the UK and the law reform committee of Canada advocate abolishing the offence, and Australia has already abolished it. The report also proposes that the offence of secession be narrowed down to employing military force or serious criminal means so that merely talking about secession will not be incriminated.

The contents of Article 23 are as follows:

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.

However, the Hong Kong Government has made a false start even before Article 23 is ever enacted. The Hong Kong National Party is deprived of its constitutional and international human right to assembly and freedom of speech because of what it says and what it publishes. That means 20 years after its handover to Communist China, Hong Kong is matching at light speed from one country-two systems to one country-one system. The international community, for example, the United Nations, should pay close attention to this phenomenon. I have started a petition to the United Nations in relation to the Hong Kong Government's abuse of evil clauses in the Hong Kong Public Order Ordinance to trample on human rights in Hong Kong and stifle dissident voices

(Reference).

Note: Details about the Hong Kong National Party's 30 June vigil being banned:

Hong Kong National Party had planned to hold on the evening of 30 June a peaceful gathering at the Tsim Shat Tsui Clock Tower, to mourn the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's fall. But on 28 June, Mr. Chan Ho-tin, convener of the party, received a notice of banning the assembly from the Police on the ground that HK National Party's advocacy was against Article One of the Basic Law of Hong Kong, i.e., Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China, and that the theme of the assembly was controversial. Chan Ho-tin asked the policemen whether because its stance was in contravention of the Basic Law, the National Party would be disallowed to organize any public meeting in any place in the future, and the reply was YES. On the same day, Chan, in an interview given to Leung Man-to, a politics professor of National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan, said, "The decline of Hong Kong is accelerating fast. What could be done last year is not necessarily permitted this year." Chan Ho-tin thought that the police's act of banning was unconstitutional. He then launched an appeal, which was, however, rejected on 30 June. And entrance to the Clock Tower was blocked.  Chan Ho-tin then intended to change the venue to The Urban Council Centenary Garden, Tsim Sha Tsui East, but was surrounded by dozens of policemen, warning him that as soon as he made any attempt to organize a public meeting there or elsewhere, he and his people would be arrested straight. Chan could only cancel the gathering. Instead, together with the heads of six local university student unions, he held a press conference as well as the original vigil at Jockey Club Courtyard, Undergraduate Halls, Baptist University, condemning the HK Police's abuse of power.

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