Wednesday, December 2, 2015   

Academics call for universal suffrage

Staff reporter

Friday, June 27, 2003

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

Cheng, said.

"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

the protest.

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