UK: Shadow Foreign Secretary is "pressing the Hong Kong authorities very strongly to take seriously all views expressed"

UK Falun Gong practitioners recently raised their concerns about the Article 23 legislation with members of the UK parliament. A senior Conservative Party MP [a member of on of the main political porties in the UK] said in his reply on 2 December 2002, that the UK Shadow Foreign Secretary, the Foreign Affairs Spokesman of the Conservative Party, Michael Ancram, and his colleagues "saw the problems at first hand during a recent visit to Hong Kong. They are pressing the Hong Kong authorities very strongly to take seriously all views expressed."

He also said that his Party "remains firmly committed to tolerance, human rights and freedom of expression and intends to discuss these issues with the Chinese officials when [the] opportunity presents."

He enclosed a letter from the Shadow Foreign Secretary regarding Article 23 legislation in Hong Kong and Falun Gong. The letter states "it is important to recognise the right of individuals to enjoy life's freedoms without fear of persecution or violation of basic human rights. The Conservative Party does not condone the oppression of individuals on the grounds of political or religious belief [*]. Individuals who practice their belief in an acceptable manner, showing respect and tolerance of others who are likewise entitled to engage in their own chosen faith, should be free to practice their religion unhindered."

[*] - Falun Gong is not a religion, it is a peaceful spiritual practice. For more information on the nature of Falun Gong, click here

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