About 50 local academics yesterday called on colleagues to join the
anti-Article 23 demonstration on Tuesday.
Apart from opposing the controversial laws, scholars should strive for
a more democratic SAR government, group convener and professor of City
University's Department of Public and Social Administration, Joseph
"I understand academics should adopt an objective stance when
commenting on political or social issues. But on occasions when issues
are of utmost significance, they should stand up and clearly express
their views," he said.
Cheng agreed the government has already amended the national security
draft laws considerably. However, the lack of democracy in Hong Kong's
political system meant that people lacked confidence in the
enforcement of the legislation.
"The fundamental problem lies with the [lack of] democratisation of
the political system. We hope all academics will unite and strive for
universal suffrage for [the appointment of] our Chief Executive and
the Legislative Council," he said.
Associate professor Chan Kin-man of the Chinese University's
Department of Sociology said the end of this year would be the right
time for the government to start reviewing the political system.
"As implementing universal suffrage for the Chief Executive election
is a complex issue and requires amending the Basic Law, if the SAR
government does not initiate its consultation exercise within this
year, it will be impossible for universal suffrage to be in place in
2007," Chan said.
Social studies lecturer Ivan Choy of City University said: "I hope
that, on July 1, I can see my relatives, friends and students on the
streets trying to bring hope to our next generation and create a
miracle for Hong Kong. I hope the Article 23 draft bill can be
[quashed] at last."
Three journalists' unions have also lobbied sector workers to take
part in Tuesday's mass demonstration.
Hong Kong Journalists Association chairwoman Mak Ying-ting said they
were against the timing of the legislation and its impact on press
She added that the association had received complaints from members
claiming their companies had applied pressure on them and requested
them not to attend the demonstration.
She suggested that journalists who could not attend the demonstration
should wear black clothes on Tuesday to express solidarity.
Meanwhile, a senior police officer yesterday said the discrepancy
between the number of expected protesters claimed by the organiser and
the number recorded by the police would not be an issue.
Chief Superintendent Tang How-kong, head of the police public
relations branch, said police would not have an accurate estimate of
the total number of protesters taking part as the law enforcement
officers had "no interest in the number" or "the content of the
protest, as long as the event proceeds peacefully and orderly".
But he said officers would keep track of the number of people
appearing at certain points and at certain times during the protest to
facilitate crowd control.
"We only need relevant numbers as reference for the necessary
deployment of police officers," he said.
He admitted the number of protesters obtained at "certain points"
would not completely reflect the total number of people taking part in
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