"An industrial capitalist society that does not recognize ecological limits but only perpetual economic expansion and has the profit motive as driver, will eventually consume and destroy itself."
"But we will all be taken down with it."
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However, the Hong Kong government is currently rushing to legislate by July this year national security laws on treason, subversion, secession, sedition and the theft of state secrets under Article 23 of the Basic Law. A group of academics criticised the government for not doing justice to public opinion in the three-month consultation on the Article 23 legislation that ended in December 2002 in order to present an impression of positive public support to the government's proposals. With all these questions, we worry that the law will then become a means to deny, rather than to protect, the rights of Hong Kong's people.Due to the protests in July 2003, the Hong Kong government retracted the bill, delaying it's introduction to the Basic Law for a later date.
One major threat is that the Article 23 legislation will criminalise free speech, especially the proposals regarding sedition and the theft of state secrets. For example, in the bill, the government has not provided a rationale for protecting information relating to Hong Kong's affairs which are within the purview of the central authorities. From the manner in which government officials in China initially handled the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) crisis, it is very clear that their lack of transparency and accountability has seriously harmed people's health on the mainland as well as that of the global community. This should be an important lesson for the Hong Kong government as well.
I don't think the heat has been taken out of the debate by the improved economy and lower unemployment rate as people in Hong Kong are fighting for more autonomy and democracy. They are fighting for their in-born right. In both demonstrations, if you listen to what the demonstrators shouted most loudly, it's "Mr Tung - resign!"
YS Lau, Hong Kong
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