(Attn: AS(F)2, F Division)
6th floor, East Wing,
Central Government Offices
Lower Albert Road
Central Hong Kong
Don't Trample on Basic Rights
Charter 2000-Aliran, a Malaysian citizens' media initiative, views with concern the Hong Kong government's plan to introduce and implement Article 23 of Basic Law allegedly to tackle issues connected with treason, secession, sedition, subversion and to control ties between local and foreign groups. We feel that the proposal, in its present form, would have grave implications for civil liberties and democracy in Hong Kong, particularly for press freedom and freedom of expression.
We appreciate the Hong Kong government's concern for its territorial security in the post-Sept. 11 environment. But we fear that certain intended security measures may well trample on the people's human rights and civil liberties especially so when there are still areas in the proposal that are vague and unclear to the general public.
This is why we are of the view that it would be beneficial for both parties - the Hong Kong government and its people - if details of this contentious proposal are explicitly spelt out. This will assure the people that the proposed implementation of Article 23 will not have serious consequences for their universally accepted rights and freedom.
It is also vital that what constitutes 'sedition', 'official secrets', and 'national security' should be properly and clearly defined to avoid possible abuse through such vague provisions in the proposed Article 23.
We therefore urge the Hong Kong government to submit a revised proposal that would be clear and specific without any draconian provisions that would undermine civil liberties.
Dr. Mustafa K. Anuar and Anil Netto
Mak Yin Ting
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Aliran Kesedaran Negara (ALIRAN) (National Consciousness Movement)
103 Medan Penaga, 11600 Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +60 (0)4 658 5251 Fax: +60 (0)4 658 5197
ALIRAN is a reform movement dedicated to Justice, Freedom, and Solidarity and is listed on the roster of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations
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