Mon, Jul 02, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Spokesman slams HK over treatment of Taiwanese

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

Cabinet Spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey (謝志偉) blasted Hong Kong yesterday for refusing entry to several groups of Taiwanese Falun Gong followers, accusing the territory's authorities of violating democratic rules and infringing upon freedom of assembly and religious rights.

It was regrettable and unacceptable for Hong Kong to treat Taiwanese with valid entry permits in such a way, he said.

Over the past week, hundreds of Taiwanese Falun Gong followers had planned to go to Hong Kong to participate in a demonstration held by the territory's democracy activists and launch protests against China's suppression of Falun Gong followers on the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the end of British rule in Hong Kong.

As of yesterday, about 300 Falun Gong followers who held legal travel documents had been expelled by Hong Kong airport police after their arrival in the territory.

The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has set the worst example of China's "one country, two systems," said Shieh, referring to China's promise that Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy after its takeover.

China is a country under a one-party-state dictatorship and it knows nothing about freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and free speech, Shieh said.

"Although it is named People's Republic of China, it is actually distant from the people," he said.

He also said that the incident should serve as a warning to those people who believe that each side of the Taiwan Strait can have its own interpretation of the "one China" principle and to people who support Taiwan's eventual unification with China.

"It should also make us cherish our freedom and democracy and defend our hard-earned values," Shieh said.

In other developments, Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Tung Chen-yuan (童振源) told a news conference organized by Taiwan's Falun Gong Movement, that Beijing's promise of "a high degree of autonomy" to the people of Hong Kong was a lie.

"These people were brutally detained, questioned and expelled by Hong Kong authorities," Tung said.

"Taiwan has to issue the severest condemnation against such human rights violations by the Hong Kong authorities," he said.

The former British colony has suffered noticeable setbacks on economic and social fronts as well, he said.

The wealth gap in Hong Kong has grown since 1997, while social mobility has declined, Tung said.

At the same time, Hong Kong's judicial independence, human rights conditions and media freedom have also been impacted, he said.

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