PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 January, 2003, 12:00am

The citizens of Hong Kong seldom speak up on public issues which do not affect their own livelihood.

But over the last two months, people from a wide cross-section of society have been vocal and with good reason. They are fearful that if the government goes ahead with the legislative process on the proposed Article 23 laws (in the form of a blue bill), given the constitution of the existing legislature, its proposals will, by and large, be enacted. That being the case, in the distant future freedom of speech and free flow of information in the SAR will be curtailed (or at least self-censored). Eventually, Hong Kong will cease to be a vital international city.

The SAR government must act courageously. In order to allay the worries of the academic community, the press corps, the Bar Association and a good part of the Christian community, the government should suspend the whole process of legislation pertaining to Article 23 of the Basic Law until a consensus is reached by the whole community.

There is no urgent need for this legislation. With or without such a law, it is not likely Hong Kong will become a base for subversion which could spread to the mainland. Most Hong Kong people, including the few branded by Beijing as 'unfriendly', love China and are always eager to contribute to the development of their 'motherland'. After careful consideration, if the government still feels that it should go ahead with such legislation, put it in the form of a white bill for another round of more precise and genuine consultation.

Ever since its formation, the Hong Kong SAR administration has dreamed of becoming a strong government.

A strong government always listens to its people and tries to respond to their demands. By refusing to listen to its citizens, the government only shows that it is weak and lacks self-confidence.

The Reverend KWOK NAI-WANG

Sai Kung