Taiwan: Hong Kong Government Should Apologise for Violent Deportation of Taiwan Practitioners

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On March 1, 2003, Vice President of Taiwan, Ms. Lu Hsiu-Lien, also the chief coordinator of the human rights consultation group of the Taiwan President Office held a special press conference at the office of the president to express support for Taiwan Falun Gong practitioners who were violently barred from entrance and repatriated on February 21 and 22 by the Hong Kong government. Vice President Lu Hsiu-Lien and two assistant coordinators, Professor Chen Leung-Chi and Liao Fu-Ter lodged a stern objection, requesting that the Hong Kong government apologise for this incident. They called for the whole world to pay attention to the deteriorating human right situation in Hong Kong and Mainland China, and condemned the state-violence and state-terrorism.

Seeking Legal Measures to Request the Hong Kong Government to compensate the Loss

Lawyer Chu Wan-Chee, representing the Falun Gong practitioners deported from Hong Kong, explained that Taiwan Falun Gong practitioners holding visas went to Hong Kong to attend a lawful meeting. No one carried any dangerous articles or had criminal records, and most of them had been to Hong Kong before. Unfortunately, they encountered unreasonable and violent treatment and forceful repatriation. This would have been unimaginable before Hong Kong was handed over to Mainland China.

During the period that Taiwan Falun Gong practitioners were forcibly detained, they were not only forbidden to walk around, or stand up to talk, but their privacy was also deprived. If someone went to the restroom, two police officers would accompany him. To oppose this kind of treatment, Taiwan Falun Gong practitioners will seek legal means to request that the Hong Kong government compensate the loss.

Backstage Manipulators

Among the 79 Taiwan practitioners who were detained and repatriated, at least nine were treated violently and more than 18 were forced to be isolated from outside. Practitioner Mr. Chang Chen-Yu and Miss Cheng Su-Ya, who were pushed down to the ground and forcefully dragged and then were wrapped in blankets by the Hong Kong police officers and carried onto the airplane, described the unreasonable treatment they encountered. They said that the Hong Kong police officers were unable to provide any detailed explanations but just used the excuse of "ensuring public security" to violently handle them, even the women. When Mr. Chang Chen-Yu's wife, Ms. Lu Li-Tsing was put onto the airplane, she had many bruises on her body and the corners of her mouth were bleeding. Seeing that, even the air hostesses from the Chang-Rong Airline wanted to cry, and expressed their disappointment toward the Hong Kong government. Mr. Chang Chen-Yu said that some of the Hong Kong police officers even apologised to him during the process, telling him that they were pressured from above.

Professor Chen Leung-Chi, the assistant coordinator of the Human Rights Consultation Group of the Taiwan President Office then gave a speech. He said that the Hong Kong government's action made people feel sad and indignant. Human rights should be universally valued. The Hong Kong government's behaviour under the backstage manipulators' pressure was a complete denial of the "one country, two systems" policy. Over the past more than five years after Hong Kong was handed over to Mainland, its freedom, human rights and legal system have been retrogressing. It needs everyone's effort to safeguard human rights and freedom. People should take practical actions to express their deep concern for the violent treatment Falun Gong practitioners encountered.

This Is a Serious International Incident of Human Rights Violation

Another assistant coordinator, Professor Liao Fu-Ter, emphasised that this was a serious international human rights violation incident in which a government, for no proper reason, repatriated nearly 80 citizens from another country and treated nine of them violently. The Hong Kong government should publicly Apologise to the victims for its customs staff and police officers' mistakes and issue proper punishment to those who were responsible. The Hong Kong government should also review its administrative policy and performance regarding entrance to avoid harming people through over-ruling. Even more so, the Hong Kong government should fulfil the "Hong Kong Human Rights Act" and the "International Convention of Civil and Political Rights" to ensure freedom of religion and freedom of expression, as well as personal safety and dignity.

Taiwan Vice President Lu Tsiu-Lien: "This Harms All of Us!"

Regarding the incident in which Taiwanese people were violently repatriated by the Hong Kong government, the Vice President Lu Tsiu-Lien delivered a speech. She expressed that the fact that the Human Rights Consultation Group of the President's Office and its three chief coordinators carried out this news conference apparently showed the seriousness of this incident. She hoped that media and the public would pay attention to this issue. The Vice President first asked the representatives of Falun Gong practitioners who had been inhumanly treated to stand up and carefully expressed her support: "The abasement you encountered could occur at any moment and at any place to people who follow other religions or beliefs or people who seek freedom of speech and freedom of travelling. If the Hong Kong government will not timely and properly stop this kind of violent behaviour, please do not consider this as harmful only to you, this is harmful to all of us, because human rights do not have national boundaries."

Vice President Lu expressed with deep feeling of grief that over the past more than five years since Hong Kong returned to Mainland, various evidence demonstrates the failure of the "one country, two systems" policy. The human rights have been destroyed. This was a warning, and of course, it was a grief as well.

We Not Only Protect Ourselves, We Should Also Stand Up to Safeguard Human Rights

Vice President Lu called on media to carefully report the issue and reminded the Taiwanese people not to take it for granted that similar incidents would not recur. She hoped that Taiwan's people would consider the situation carefully. "Where human rights are respected and where human rights are violated, we should not only protect ourselves, but we should also stand up to safeguard the human rights of others!"

Vice President Lu also hoped that associated institutions would continue to follow an appropriate course of action with Hong Kong authorities. She suggested that the persecuted Falun Gong practitioners follow all channels to appeal to the entire world to pay attention to the deteriorating human rights situation in Hong Kong and Mainland China, because, "This is a kind of state-violence, and even a kind of state-terrorism!"

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