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Educators ask Hong Kong authorities to issue a white paper for Article 23
AFAR
11/24/2002



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Over 400 teaching staff from 8 higher institutions in Hong Kong have co-signed a declaration, demanding that Hong Kong authorities issue a white paper on Article 23 (Anti-Subversive Law) to detail its content, so that the public can rationally debate its legality. They hold that the authorities’ document has accorded the government too much power, and they worry that this Article 23 will infringe upon the academic and press freedom. They appeal that when the government enacts this Article 23, it must be based upon protecting the basic rights of the local people.

Radio Free Asia reported that over 75% of Hong Kong teachers interviewed oppose Article 23. Hong Kong Educator Association surveyed over 400 teachers from middle schools and elementary schools. Nearly 80% expressed their concern that after Article 23 is enacted, the government will use it for crimes of conscience. Over half of those interviewed said that once it becomes law, they would not dare to comment on state affairs in the classroom.

Some prominent lawyers and scholars, including Dean of the Law School at Hong Kong University, have printed some booklets to discuss Article 23. Some are collecting signatures from students and the public to oppose Article 23. One noted lawyer believes that if the authorities could issue a white paper on Article 23, it could reduce some people’s anxiety toward it.

Many Hong Kong residents believe that this Article 23 will threaten the freedoms of speech and press. Some protested the recent arrests of those who rallied against the authorities and believe that the government is creating a “white terror”.

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