Wed, Jul 16, 2003 - Page 8 News List

Hong Kong has long fight ahead

By Wang Chien-chuang 王健壯

The National Security Law (國安法) was promulgated and put into effect in early July 1987. Hong Kong also planned to enact national security regulations this month. Although the KMT and the Communist Party have been fighting each other, they are like twins in some way, worrying about secession or treason all day long. They therefore feel they have to enact a law in the name of national security to intimidate people. Otherwise, they find it hard to sleep at night.

Initially, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government was firmly determined to push the anti-subversion legislation. Not only that it "must" be enacted, but that this should be done "within a time limit." However, the fact that 500,000 people took to the streets has forced the pro-Beijing members of the Legislative Council to turn their guns around. The massive demonstration has also scared the Chinese leadership in the Zhongnanhai. Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa (董建華) finally gave in and decided to delay the legislation.

The enactment of the National Security Law in this country 16 years ago also created a stir in society. The forerunner of today's DPP led a great demonstration to protest against the legislation but the protest was impeded by ultra right-wing groups, which led to serious disputes and bloody conflicts outside the Legislative Yuan.

When the KMT tried to force the bill through three readings in the legislature, more than a dozen opposition lawmakers sat in inside the legislature to voice their protests. Among them were now first lady Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍), National Security Council Secretary-General Kang Ning-hsiang (康寧祥) and DPP Secretary General Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄).

The KMT saw the enactment of the National Security Law as a necessity because it was worried that there was no law that would allow for a clamp down on secessionist movements after martial law was lifted. Likewise, the Chinese Communist Party is determined to push for the anti-subversion legislation in Hong Kong because it has been shocked by the strong backlash from a million of the territory's residents taking to the streets in 1989 to protest the Tiananmen Massacre.

Beijing is worried that Hong Kong will become a base for subverting the central government. Therefore, the territory's Basic Law -- its mini-constitution -- stipulates that the government must enact anti-subversion regulations.

Hong Kong has always been a non-political or politically rarefied area. The massive fugitive tide from China in 1962, a left-wing revolt in 1967 and the democracy movement in 1989 have been the only times since 1949 when Hong Kong had anything to do with politics. In addition, although the territory's residents could not enjoy democracy under British colonial rule, they had plenty of freedom. Everyone was a money-making economic animal and had no interest in politics.

But after its return to Chinese rule, Hong Kong has become a "political zoo," according to the noted columnist Lin Xingzhi (林行止). The territory's government has indulged itself in "love the country, love Hong Kong" patriotism. All dissidents have been tagged as traitors. This has panicked everyone in the territory.

If the anti-subversion bill is passed, people could face prosecution for "anti-revolutionary crimes" and as a result lose their life or be put in jail. Faced with totalitarian rule, if Hong Kong residents remain silent and docile, then the Pearl of the Orient would be crushed to powder.

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