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44 scholars urged Jiang to drop Article 23 for Hong Kong
44 scholars from all over the world have co-authored a letter to Jiang Zemin, President of China, to urge him to reconsider Article 23 which will be imposed upon the people of Hong Kong. Also, a website on this particular issue has been set up: http://againstarticle23.org. On December 14, different groups will hold a rally in Washington, D.C. to protest this Article 23. The following the original text of the letter signed by these 44 scholars.
October 21, 2002
His Excellency Mr. Jiang Zemin
Dear Mr. Jiang,
We write to protest an impending change in Hong Kong law that could seriously harm that vibrant city. The Hong Kong government's recent proposal to implement the part of its Basic Law called "Article 23," against "treason, subversion, secession and sedition," will have chilling effect on Hong Kong's civil liberties and expose Hong Kong citizens to the danger of arbitrary prosecution.
In the 1990s your government promised Hong Kong "one country, two systems" and "no change for 50 years." Implementing Article 23 will undermine the spirit of that promise. In mainland China, your government has a clear record of using anti-subversion laws to crack down on citizens as various as academics, internet entrepreneurs, worker-rights advocates, and members of political and religious groups. If the proposed legislation on Article 23 passes, little will stand between Hong Kong people and a similar fate. The independent judicial power of Hong Kong courts, as you know, has already been weakened, and self-censorship in the Hong Kong press, already well underway, will certainly increase if the current plans go forward. Hong Kong people will naturally be less willing to risk exercise of their rights of association and demonstration.
The plans to implement Article 23 are not in the best interests of Hong Kong's people, and we ask you to adhere to the true spirit of the "one country, two systems" policy by urging the Hong Kong government to shelve them.
David Bachman, University of Washington
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