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Over 60,000 marched in Hong Kong to protest Article 23

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[December 14, 2002, Hong Kong] Over 40 Hong Kong organizations sponsored a march to protest Article 23. Organizers claimed that over 60,000 people joined the march. But they applied for the parade permit from the authorities for 5,000 persons. Now the authorities have decided to issue a written warning to them, though legal action against them will not be taken.

A group of Christian faithfuls headed by the Hong Kong bishop Joseph Zen prayed before the march. The protesters stretched about 6 kilometers, marching from Victoria Park to the Hong Kong central government headquarters. Police sealed off several roads and monitored the parade, but no violence was reported.

Protesters waved banners and shouted slogans, demanding that Hong Kong authorities reject the so-called anti-subversive Article 23 imposed by Beijing. This was the largest public outrage in Hong Kong since its sovereignty was handed over to Mainland China, and second only to the “June 4” parade against the massacre of students on Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Protesters came from all sectors of society. Lawmakers, members of the press, civil servants, members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, and other ordinary citizens joined the march, as they believe that this Article 23 would jeopardize their right to freedom of conscience, expression, and association.

One Hong Kong resident told AFAR, “Why an anti-subversive law in Hong Kong now? Hong Kong is a capitalist society under the “One Country - Two Systems” policy instituted by Beijing. If any subversive attempt is ever made to this society, it could only come from Communism in Beijing.”

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