Press Release - IGFM (Austria): China’s Iron Grip Toward Hong Kong


Austrian Section

International Association for Human Rights
International Society for Human Rights
Societe Internationale pour les Droits de l’Homme
Sociedad International para Derechos Humanos

The IGFM has advisory status at the European Parliament

Since 1999, the peaceful mediation movement Falun Gong has been brutally persecuted and suppressed in the People’s Republic of China. At present, China is even attempting to exert and expand her influence to Hong Kong, by adopting two forms: under influence from China, Hong Kong plans to ratify a so-called anti-subversion law called “Article 23,” which would in effect force a totalitarian system on people committed to freedom and democracy. The other method is the complete disregard for the “One Country, Two Systems” policy that China agreed to when Hong Kong reverted back to Mainland China. It follows that such decisions would constitute the complete suppression of Falun Gong in Hong Kong, although numerous democratic nations around the world are summarily opposed to such an action. China, though, invokes her economic clout to ignore and gloss over her human rights failures.

It was Jiang Zemin who in the summer of 1999 outlawed the most popular qigong practice in China, Falun Gong, because he feared infringements upon his power. At the beginning of the persecution, the Chinese state fixed the number of followers at 90 million. Prior to that there were occasional incidents where officialdom had been motivated by hatred to act outside the law towards the Falun Gong movement. Without any kind of restraint, and following the worst of Communist examples and traditions, the Chinese chief of state cranked up the propaganda machinery and established a special police force, the “610 Office,” to round up Falun Gong followers and place them into forced labour camps and re-education-through labour camps. (Ed. note: The “610 Office” is an agency specifically created to persecute Falun Gong, with absolute powers over each level of administration in the Party and all other political and judiciary systems). The immensity of these undertakings vastly surpasses anything our Western minds can imagine. During that time, even public stadiums had to be used as detention centres.

This far-reaching propaganda battle, which has branded Falun Gong as an undesirable group, does not really fool people in democratic countries around the world. It soon became obvious that a totalitarian regime intended to totally suppress those human rights applying to freedom of belief, freedom of conscience and freedom of assembly. Falun Gong practitioners had shown the rest of the world, through their peaceful resistance that no one, not in China nor in the world community, had anything to fear from them, and that they are merely people who act from a desire to be able to practise their beliefs as their hearts desire: that is why they were and are mercilessly suppressed.

The methods used in this ongoing persecution have taken the form of incarceration, ruining families, – economically and spiritually - destruction of social systems, rape, tortures of various kinds and even murder. Present numbers vary, but the count of those who have died as a result of police brutality is over 500, and individuals who are incarcerated in forced labour camps number in the thousands.

All this appears to be headed for exportation to Hong Kong. With the implementation of Article 23, an addendum to the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s Tung-Chee-hwa, a Beijing hand-selected appointee, is attempting to remain loyal to China. He is demanding legislation that will severely punish treason, splinter groups and subversion against Beijing and Hong Kong. In reality, this translates into transplanting catastrophic human rights abuses, which are the norm in Mainland China, on to Hong Kong soil. This is no longer in doubt and it is feared that this anti-subversion law will be passed, because most of the members of parliament who would ratify this law are not elected but appointed. Many of them are lobbyists and business people who are loyal to Beijing. That is another reason why one has to particularly fear for the rights of Hong Kong journalists and human rights advocates.

There is still time to increase international pressure and loosen China’s iron grip on Hong Kong, because the only thing China, with her hopes of a lucrative market share in the world economy, respects and fears most is pressure from and shunning by the international community.

Published on
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
(Original text in German)

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