From all appearances, the government cancelled the three items that had the most contentious clauses. In reality, these changes did not change the essence of Article 23 at all. The draft still gave the security bureau chief the right to ban a local organisation using the excuse of national security without any legal procedure. Although the banning mechanism was no longer related to an organisation banned on the Mainland, from the Hong Kong government's consistent behaviour of obeying Mainland rulers, it is clear that only some hidden pressure would be enough to make the current government use the rights granted by the draft to fulfill Beijing's wishes without any written documents.
Besides, although the draft would have allowed members of the banned organisation to appeal to the court, the draft said that the court could hold a private hearing in the absence of the members of the banned organisation and their lawyer. In fact, it was obvious that the Hong Kong government wanted to ensure its ability to ban some organisations.
The Hong Kong government released the three changes in a rush, and acted as though they were listening and greatly yielding to public opinion. But in fact this was just an attempt to divide the opposition, so they could pass Article 23 at the Legislative Council meeting on July 9 and prepare for their actions later on. One resident vividly stated, "Article 23 is like a knife hanging above peoples' heads. These small changes are just to decide whether to chop from the left or from the right."
From the media reports, we can clearly see that Beijing was the true reason that Tung had such a great determination to pass this legislation. Apply Daily said that the plot of "making three changes, and passing the law in time" was completely approved by Beijing's high-level authority. After Tung Chee-hwa announced the design, people from the Central Government's Hong Kong Liaison Office and the National People's Congress came out to voice their support. This is further proof of what the security bureau chief mentioned last year during the survey period of the law; that Beijing had given a timetable for passing the law in July.
For Dafa practitioners who are determined to save more people, there is nothing to fear about Article 23. On the other hand, this is a great opportunity to clarify the truth on a worldwide scale. When there are changes on the surface, we should settle down and see that it is Dafa disciples' righteous thoughts and righteous acts that are making efforts. While we see that the evil forces are getting weaker every day, we should clearly understand the evil's essence, not be led by superficial phenomenon, and continue to clarify the truth in depth. Let's send forth strong righteous thoughts to resist the evil Article 23. "Just by staying unaffected, you will be able to handle all situations." (Lecture on the Fa at U.S. Midwest Conference, June 26, 1999, Chicago, unofficial translation).
Chinese version available at http://www.yuanming.net/articles/200307/22102.html
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