Anti-mainland China sentiments

Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong call for National Day march to reject ‘authoritarian rule’

The various groups organising event include Demosisto, League of Social Democrats and Civil Human Rights Front

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 September, 2017, 10:18pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 September, 2017, 10:11am

Pro-democracy activists have called on Hongkongers to join a National Day march on October 1 to reject “authoritarian rule” and demand the justice secretary step down for eroding rule of law in the city.

“No More Political Suppression. Step Down Rimsky Yuen”, former student leader Lester Shum and other radicals chanted on Thursday as he announced plans for the rally

The various groups organising the event include Demosisto, the League of Social Democrats and the Civil Human Rights Front.

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Shum accused Yuen of failing to defend the public’s interests through initiating a series of “political prosecutions” against activists, launching lawsuits to disqualify pro-democracy lawmakers over their oath-taking antics and planning an “unconstitutional” joint checkpoint at the cross-border railway.

Under a so-called co-location arrangement, mainland Chinese officers would be allowed to exercise almost full criminal jurisdiction in part of the West Kowloon terminus of the high-speed railway linking Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

Shum’s “political persecutions” referred to the Department of Justice’s objection to lenient sentences handed down on three student leaders and 13 activists in a protest against development plans in the New Territories for breaching laws during separate protests. They all ended up behind bars after a court appeal.

“We have to launch the protest before the 19th National Congress [of the Communist Party of China], to show Hongkongers’ will to resist the suppression,” Shum said. The congress will decide the top leadership of the Beijing government.”

One of the co-founder’s of the Occupy Central movement, Benny Tai Yiu-ting, also published a civic manifesto he called “No to Authoritarianism”.

Tai, a University of Hong Kong academic, said the law was “being used to suppress the will of Hong Kong people for democracy, human rights and dignity” and that “authoritarianism is now a fact in this city”.

A march on August 20 to oppose the jailing of the 16 political activists attracted the biggest turnout since the 2014 Occupy movement, with police estimating that 22,000 demonstrators took part.

The chairman of the League of Social Democrats, Avery Ng Man-yuen, hoped even more would join the rally this time.

“I call for more Hongkongers to wear black T-shirts ... to outnumber those flaring red [national] flags celebrating National Day,” Ng said.

The Department of Justice dismissed the allegation of political prosecutions as “totally groundless” and reiterated that decisions to seek a review of the sentences relating to student protesters were purely based on evidence.