CCPJ calls for freedom of expression to continue in Hong Kong

Monday, June 30, 1997
As the government of the People's Republic of China takes authority over the citizens of Hong Kong, people worldwide are insisting that freedom of expression and other human rights be respected. The right to free expression, protected by Article 35 of China's own constitution, must not be violated in Hong Kong. In Canada, the Canadian Committee to Protect Journalists (CCPJ), an organization devoted to protecting press freedom worldwide, sent a petition with 150 signature to China's President Jiang Zemin, China's Prime Minister Li Peng and to C.H. Tung, the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong. The petition affirms that Canadians will not be passive if China attempts to silence the media or violate the human rights of journalists in Hong Kong. Despite the refusal of the world's governments, including Canada, to take action against the Chinese authorities' notorious record of human rights abuses, NGOs such as the CCPJ are seriously concerned this record of abuse will be carried over to Hong Kong in the future. "The good governance, social stability and financial prosperity of Hong Kong has demonstrated that censorship by the state is unnecessary," says the CCPJ. "On the historic occasion of Hong Kong's return to the People's Republic of China, the 150 Canadians who signed this petition -- and millions of others -- will be watching in expectation that press freedom and freedom of expression in Hong Kong will be upheld and maintained into the future." The petition is part of a larger movement by individuals and groups around the world who are gravely concerned that China may attempt to quietly strip away basic human rights in Hong Kong. For instance, the Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) and the United Kingdom-based press freedom organization ARTICLE 19 have just released a report expressing concerns for freedom of expression in Hong Kong, which was to be sent to the 8,000 journalists in Hong Kong for the handover. The CCPJ is working closely with the HKJA, which recently became a member of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX). The CCPJ manages the IFEX Clearing House. The CCPJ encourages Chinese authorities to continue to honour the concept of "one country, two systems," In the petition's covering letter, CCPJ says, "A free and critical press in Hong Kong will signify the People's Republic of China's strength. Conversely, severe restrictions on freedom of expression will be a violation of human rights and will be strongly protested and opposed by the international community." For more information, contact the CCPJ, 490 Adelaide Street West, suite 205, Toronto, Ontario M5V 1T2 Canada, tel: +1 416 703 1638, fax: +1 416 703 7034.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.