Familiar ring to Falun Gong debate

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 February, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 February, 2001, 12:00am

I refer to your Sunday Morning Post article on February 4 reporting on Executive Councillor Nellie Fong Wong Kut-man's active consideration of the enactment of the Article 23 sedition and subversion law against the Falun Gong in Hong Kong.

I am an American expatriate and have been living in Hong Kong for about one year. I have been impressed by Hong Kong's modern attitude and governmental support of environmentalism, women's rights, anti-corruption activity, and an overall humanism that I hoped was on the rise in Asia. Hong Kong sets a 'cosmopolitan' example that should and could be followed by other nations, as well as mainland China.

Ms Fong accused the Falun Gong of embarrassing the SAR Government because it had been branded an 'evil cult' and banned by mainland authorities.

After first stating that the Falun Gong was not unlawful or unpeaceful, Secretary for Security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee accused the sect of targeting the central Government.

I am a Jew and therefore also a member of a small, peaceful, religious group that has a long history of being hated, violated and persecuted for no apparent reason.

Does anyone here remember what comes from such unfounded hatred? Do you remember Germany in the 1940s? Six million Jews - and six million others such as Catholics, homosexuals and gypsies - were tortured and killed solely because they were different - not political, not threatening, just different - during a time when that central government was having trouble appeasing its people.

Sound familiar?

Mainland China has the almost unbelievable task of organising and keeping peaceful a population of more than a billion people, an extremely small percentage of whom are members of the Falun Gong.

It is understandable that the central Government would want to avoid threats to stability.

So, if differing religious groups are such a threat that violence and litigation are warranted, why not kick the Christians and Hindus out of Hong Kong, too? They fit the same category as the Falun Gong members and the Jews: they are also peaceful and lawful, and different.

People of Hong Kong, I beg you to continue to be the outstanding leaders of Asia's progress toward a world where people who are different do not get tortured, harassed, expelled and executed for their differing religious beliefs.