Against Article 23 of HKSAR Basic Law
December 14, 2002
Mr. Tung Chee Hwa
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
People's Republic of China
Dear Mr. Tung:
We, Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles (HKF-LA) had in the early spring of 1990, voiced out its concern over
the legitimacy issue of the Basic Law, which was merely a document written without consultation to the Hong Kong residents.
While many aspects of
the Basic Law have indeed provided a platform for Hong Kong and its Government and people to function in the post 97 era,
Basic Law as a whole remains a document not endorsed by the Hong Kong people. In that regards, HKF-LA is writing to oppose
proposals to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law.
Further, HKF-LA considers that such proposals will give excessive weight to national security
expense of civil liberties and freedom of speech. Since majority of our members are Hong Kong permanent residents, we are
particularly concerned that the proposed
Article 23 provisions allow for all permanent residents, residing locally or
overseas, to be prosecuted for what they say in and outside of Hong Kong.
The timing to implement this particular Article is at best dubious. Mired in the
deepest economic stagnation in decades, the HKSAR Government is determined to further disturb, but not safeguard, the financial
well-being of the Hong Kong residents by trying to implement Article 23 and create uncertainty in the future of individual
freedom in Hong Kong. The Article 23 provisions would have a chilling effect on all individuals, groups and enterprises engaged
in the business of information exchange. We are deeply convinced that the implementation of Article 23 in its current form
would seriously breach the spirit of freedom of speech and violate Article 19 of the United Nations' 1948 Universal Declaration
of Human Rights.
Finally, HKF-LA recommends to the HKSAR Government that a better time to implement Article 23 would be after both the Executive
and Legislative branches of the Government are fully democratically elected. Only under this condition can the Hong Kong people
feel secure that the proper check-and-balance measure is in place to examine the existing freedom that has been so long enjoyed
and to implement a law under the context of former.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles
To read the open letter in Chinese, please click here.
NOTE: Same open letters have also sent to Mrs. Regina Ip, Secretary of Security,
Security Bureau of HKSAR.