Fri, Dec 20, 2002 - Page 3 News List

Rights group wants locals to support Hong Kong protests


Human rights activists and experts held a public hearing yesterday at the Legislative Yuan and used the media occasion to urge Taiwanese to voice their support for the Hong Kong public's opposition to a Hong Kong government plan to enact an anti-subversion law.

Chien Hsi-chieh, a former legislator and now chairman of the Peacetime Foundation of Taiwan, which organized the public hearing, said the Hong Kong government's planned legislation has provoked deep concern among the Hong Kong public over Beijing's "one country, two systems" formula, which promised freedom of religion and speech in the former British colony upon its handover to Beijing in 1997.

Encouraging the Taiwan people to bravely speak out against "the Beijing scam," Chien said he is worried that "Taiwan might otherwise be forced to yield to Beijing's demands if the [same administrative] scheme were to be implemented in Taiwan."

In compliance with the new law, people found guilty of treason, theft of state secrets and other national security issues, at home or abroad, could be sentenced to life imprisonment. A large number of Hong Kong people held a demonstration Sunday to protest against the legislation because they fear that civil liberties and rights in Hong Kong will be even further eroded by the law.

The Basic Law, Hong Kong's de-facto constitution, requires that the law must be passed by the government of the special administrative region. The law was unveiled in September.

Yang Hsian-hong (楊憲宏), a member of the human-rights advisory committee under the Presidential Office, claimed that the planned legislation is not only aimed at Hong Kong but also at Taiwan. "Voicing Taiwan's support for Hong Kong residents' opposition to the law also can display Taiwan's own concern over human rights," he said.

As a fully fledged democracy, Taiwan is uneasy with the Chinese communist regime, Yang said, predicting that "the anti-subversion law will not be Beijing's last move."

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