What happened to ‘50 years no change’ for Hong Kong freedoms?
I refer to the controversy surrounding Andy Chan Ho-tin and his pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, and the talk Chan gave at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club last week. His party is facing a possible ban, after the Security Bureau received a police recommendation that this be done to protect national security, under the Societies Ordinance. The party now has until September 4 to make its case.
According to the policy of “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong should have a high degree of autonomy, but many in Hong Kong feel interventions from Beijing are eroding its freedoms.
It seems the Hong Kong government is implementing vague laws to eliminate the opposition. This is ridiculous. From 2016 to 2017, six opposition lawmakers were disqualified, and now, the Societies Ordinance is being applied to ban the Hong Kong National Party. The Ordinance has not been applied to a political party before and this law should really apply to the triads which pose a real threat to public safety.
Watch: Activist Andy Chan delivers FCC talk despite protests
From my point of view, the speech that Chan, as convenor of his party, gave at the FCC was legal and protected by Article 27 of the Basic Law. The Hong Kong government should make all efforts to protect the core values enshrined in all articles of the Basic Law, including the freedom of speech.
But if the government wants to erase all expressions in society that it deems “politically incorrect”, and tries to muffle the voices of the opposition, Hongkongers will feel an antipathy towards it.
Many Hongkongers are worried about the promise of “50 years no change”, since Hong Kong is already changing. Today, it may be just shutting out the opposition, tomorrow it could be adopting Article 23, which is ideological suppression. I hope the freedoms of Hong Kong will not be taken away.
Vincent Cheng, Lam Tin