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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Beijing pressures Hong Kong to outlaw Falun Gong

One country, two systems--Hmmm--look who's meddling with Falun Gong in Hong Kong! Capitalizing on their 'harmonious society' slogan, a BBC newswire shows Wang Fengchao's prep talk leading to the major order from Beijing to ban Falun Gong--how ridiculous and immoral. The buzz (SCMP: Pushing Unity too far) is that the dictators are ticked off because charges against Wang Wenyi were dropped in the States. How far will this backfire? Far enough!

According to the Dow Jones, (June 21, 2006-China Official Alleges Falun Gong Damages Harmony In HK)…Falun Gong commented on the situation as follows:

Later, Falun Gong spokesman Kan Hung-cheung said members were merely alerting Chinese and Hong Kong people to the communist government's alleged persecution of the group. "The aim of our demonstrations is to spread the truth of the persecution, which has continued for nearly seven years. Our activities are peaceful and disciplined and cause no harassment," he said. (CW: Hong Kong: Falun Gong Practitioners Protest against Criminal of Torture Jia Qinglin)

Barrister Phillip Dykes said: (SCMP: June 25, 2006 - Laws exist to ban sect, says institute; experts doubt it) "If [the police commissioner] has the power, he is surely aware of it and is not exercising it because he does not see grounds for it. Many things [that are unlawful] on the mainland are lawful here."

Simon Young, of the University of Hong Kong, said prosecuting the Falun Gong would be easier said than done. "From what I know, the Falun Gong uses peaceful means and has no political agenda. Anyone can complain about them but so far there is not enough evidence to meet the condition [to prosecute them]," he said.

Mr Chen warned the government of disastrous consequences if the Crimes Ordinance was used to prosecute Falun Gong. "Section 9 ... constitutes an excessive restriction on freedom of speech that is inconsistent with ... the Basic Law. Any attempt to enforce it will be perceived as a grave threat to freedom of speech in Hong Kong," he said.

Meanwhile more attacks on Falun Gong keep on happening in China--AP reports on the arrest of (HK) 66 year-old Liu Ding. (June 26, 2006- Detained Falun Gong Follower Expelled From Hong Kong)--Chinese authorities have expelled a Hong Kong follower of the Falun Gong spiritual group after detaining her for two weeks in Beijing for distributing leaflets urging people to quit the ruling Communist Party…Liu was picked up on June 6, and about a dozen police and national security agency officers seized a computer, cell phone, books and computer CDs from Liu's home the next day, the Falun Gong said.…The group said in Monday's statement that four Hong Kong residents are known to have been jailed in China, and that three have been released.

KyodoNews reported on June 27 (China's top political adviser wants to see H.K. prosperity) that Jia Qinglin, a CCP official, was in HK for 3 days where he met with government officials to apply more pressure.-- "I am looking forward to seeing for myself the new development and changes in Hong Kong in the next two days," he said. …His visit instilled a protest from the Falun Gong: …"They blamed Jia for playing along with former President Jiang Zemin, who they claimed has masterminded a large-scale persecution and inhumane treatment against Falun Gong members in China and wanted Jia to be prosecuted"....And more resistance from the April 5 Action Group with a Canadian connection…"In an open letter, Leung criticized Jia for ignoring and even facilitating corruption and bribery in China's Fujian Province when he was the provincial secretary, and asking him to step down. …Lai Changxing, a Fujian businessman who fled to Canada in 1999, was accused by Chinese authorities of smuggling tens of billions of dollars' worth of diesel fuel, cars, petrochemical products and rubber into China during the period when Jia was the provincial secretary. Jia has denied any criminal connections with Lai." (full report)

South China Morning Post: Pushing unity too far by Frank Ching

27 June 2006 - Beijing is raising the pressure on Hong Kong to curb the activities of Falun Gong, apparently in reaction to the heckling President Hu Jintao received from a member of the spiritual group at the White House in April.

Prominent officials called for the city government to take action during a forum last Tuesday in Hong Kong. One was Wang Fengchao, deputy director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong. Falun Gong was outlawed on the mainland in 1999.

Mr Wang said: "Under the principle of 'one country, two systems', capitalist Hong Kong and the socialist motherland must get along with long-term accord, achieving mutual development through a relationship of mutual benefits."

He noted that Beijing respected the city's autonomy, but called Falun Gong an "undesirable factor affecting Hong Kong's harmony". The group, he said, was "fabricating rumours to attack the central government".

Other speakers went even further, charging that Falun Gong's activities in Hong Kong "have gone beyond the scope of 'two systems', and threatened the one-China principle". They called on the Hong Kong government to outlaw the group.

The fact that pro-mainland figures - and Hong Kong's pro-communist press - are openly calling for action against Falun Gong suggests that Beijing is getting impatient with the city government. It also suggests that, after the chief executive election next year, there will be pressure from Beijing for Hong Kong to roll out, once again, national security legislation to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law.

The Tung Chee-hwa administration came under great pressure from Beijing to enact legislation to outlaw "evil cults". While Mr Tung publicly called Falun Gong "more or less an evil cult", his administration deserves credit for resisting such pressure.

Beijing was furious when his government allowed Falun Gong to use City Hall to hold an international conference in January 2001. That decision was reportedly made by then chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang, who resigned soon afterward. The two events could very well have been connected.

If Beijing really respected the principle of "one country, two systems", it would not put pressure on Hong Kong to act on Falun Gong.

Mainland officials, as well as pro-China figures, often say that "one country" is the precondition to "two systems". Without one country, they say, there would not be two systems.

However, to say that "one country" trumps "two systems" is meaningless, since both are necessary if "one country, two systems" is meant to be practised.

Moreover, the whole world recognises that Hong Kong is part of China. Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong is reflected in the fact that Beijing is responsible for the city's defence and foreign affairs.

Thus, "one country" is not an issue. It is "two systems" that needs to be safeguarded. Putting pressure on Hong Kong to outlaw an organisation that is legally registered here is contrary to the very concept of "one country, two systems".

It should not be done if Beijing really upholds the concept of "two systems".

If there is such pressure, it should be resisted by all Hong Kong officials, from Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen on down.

No doubt, the fact that the United States has dropped charges against Wang Wenyi - the Falun Gong member who heckled Mr Hu during his speech in Washington - has further angered mainland officials. However, they must be careful not to take their anger out on Hong Kong.

After all, "one country, two systems" is a basic policy of China. It is more important than any temporary loss of face by any mainland official, or even by Beijing itself.

Frank Ching is a Hong Kong-based writer and commentator

BBC: Chinese official stresses social harmony Hong Kong, slams Falun Gong

23 June 2006 - Text of speech delivered by Wang Fengchao, deputy director of Chinese Central People's Government Liaison Office in Hong Kong, at the forum "Advocating spiritual civilization and building a harmonious Hong Kong", entitled: "Coexisting in harmony under 'one country, two systems'", published by Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao website on 21 June

It is my great pleasure to be invited by the Hong Kong Society for Cultural Advancement [HKSCA] to take part in the forum "Advocating a Spiritual Civilization and Building a Harmonious Hong Kong". This is indeed a truly meaningful forum, with scholars, experts, and people from various walks of life gathered here to discuss issues revolving around the theme of "Advocating a Spiritual Civilization and Building a Harmonious Hong Kong". It will be conducive to the building of a harmonious society in Hong Kong.

Over the past two years, a consensus has evolved on the mainland on the theme of building of a harmonious socialist society. Since Hong Kong is a highly developed society in terms of materialistic civilization, its citizens generally strive for the city to become a civilized and harmonious society as well. During Vice-President Zeng Qinghong's visit to Hong Kong last year, he raised two earnest expectations regarding Hong Kong society - "Seize the chance and speed up development" and "Be accommodative, lend a hand to each other, and promote harmony". Early this year, Director Gao of the Central Liaison Office in Hong Kong also offered these words to HKSCA on its fifth anniversary: "Advocating Refined Culture and Building a Harmonious Hong Kong Society." We believe that there are two aspects in the building of a harmonious society in Hong Kong. First, under "one country, two systems", Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the main body of the nation, respectively practicing capitalism and socialism, will have to coexist in harmony over the long term, with the two being mutually beneficial to each other and progressing in step. Second, in a pluralistic society such as Hong Kong, people from all walks of life and various interests groups will have to coexist in harmony so that the general populace will live and work in joy. The fulfilment of these two aspects calls for concerted efforts from various parties.

For a good nine years since Hong Kong reverted back to China, the central authorities have remained steadfast in putting into practice the notions of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong", and a high degree of autonomy. They have also been offering unyielding support to the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region [HKSAR] in its administration on the basis of the Basic Law, bolstering the economic development of the territory, and endeavouring to safeguard its long-term prosperity and stability. The central authorities have all along paid respect to the existing social system of Hong Kong, to the existing lifestyle of the local citizens, to Hong Kong's freedom of press and the existing legal system. All such efforts of the central authorities have been affirmed by the local citizens. After the handover, the HKSAR government has been faced with and has successfully resolved a multitude of challenges, endeavoured to safeguard the overall prosperity and stability of the territory, and accomplished a great deal of pioneering work that has paved the way for the successful implementation of "one country, two systems" here in Hong Kong. It is indeed the concerted efforts of the central authorities, HKSAR government, and the general local populace that ensures the harmonious coexistence of the "two systems" under the premise of "one country" and enables the great undertaking of "one country, two systems" to achieve great performance with international acclaim.

Having said that, we must recognize the existence of certain phenomena and factors unfavourable to social harmony in Hong Kong. In particular, the Hong Kong "Falun Gong" organization has been cooking things up frequently and attacking the central authorities. They have been present constantly in certain tourist spots and major business areas, harrassing mainland visitors specifically, who are inconvenienced by such actions. Increasingly, these activities are resented and rejected by the citizens of Hong Kong.

We are making a proposal - that all walks of life, various organizations and various interests groups should, on the premise of the "one country, two systems" notion and the Basic Law of Hong Kong and taking into account the territory's overall and long-term interests, jointly do their part towards the construction of a prosperous and harmonious Hong Kong.

It is our hope that, through the discussions at this forum, a consensus may be reached amongst the general Hong Kong populace, whereby they consciously safeguard the positive developmental trend of the territory and the building of a harmonious society, and whereby they strive to safeguard the harmonious relations between the HKSAR and mainland China. In this way, the people of Hong Kong will be able to contribute their part to the great revival of the Chinese people.

Source: Ta Kung Pao website, Hong Kong, in Chinese 21 Jun 06

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