Joint Submissions of NGOs to the Human Rights Committee on the Report of the HKSAR in the light of the ICCPR (CCPR/C/HK/99/1)

Before the 67th Session of the Human Rights Committee (Geneva, 18 Oct - 5 Nov 1999)

THE RULE OF LAW, INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY, POWER OF FINAL ADJUDICATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION IN HONG KONG (ARTS 2, 4, 14, 26, ICCPR)

  1. WE URGE THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE (THE COMMITTEE) TO UNDERLINE THE IMPORTANCE OF THE COURTS OF THE HKSAR IN THE PROTECTION OF THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS SET OUT IN THE BASIC LAW OF THE HKSAR (THE BASIC LAW) (WHICH INCLUDE THE CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS ENSHRINED IN THE ICCPR AND APPLIED TO HONG KONG UNDER ARTICLE 39 OF THE BASIC LAW) THROUGH ITS CONSTITUTIONAL JURISDICTION. WE URGE THE COMMITTEE TO ALSO NOTE THAT, GIVEN THE ABSENCE IN HONG KONG OF A DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED LEGISLATURE BY UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE AND OF EFFECTIVE CHECK AND BALANCES IN THE PRESENT LEGISLATURE AGAINST ABUSE OF POWER BY THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNMENT, THE COURTS OF THE HKSAR PLAY A PIVOTAL ROLE IN THE MECHANISM FOR THE PROTECTION OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS IN HONG KONG.
  2. WE URGE THE COMMITTEE TO EXPRESS TO BOTH THE CENTRAL PEOPLE's GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE's REPUBLIC OF CHINA (THE CENTRAL PEOPLE's GOVERNMENT) AND THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT ITS MOST SERIOUS CONCERN ABOUT THE FOLLOWING --
  3. THIS REQUEST IS MADE IN VIEW OF THE COURSE OF EVENTS FROM THE DELIVERY OF THE JUDGMENTS OF THE COURT OF FINAL APPEAL (THE CFA) ON 29 JANUARY 1999 ON THE STATUS OF DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF CLAIMANTS OF PERMANENT RESIDENT STATUS BY VIRTUE OF THEM BEING THE CHILDREN OF HKSAR PERMANENT RESIDENTS, TO THE PRONOUNCEMENT BY THE STANDING COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL PEOPLE's CONGRESS (NPCSC) ON 26 JUNE 1999 OF AN INTERPRETATION OF PROVISIONS OF THE BASIC LAW THAT HAVE BEEN INTERPRETED BY THE CFA ON 29 JANUARY 1999 UPON THE INVITATION OF THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT, THE LOSING PARTY OF THE SAID JUDGMENTS. THE EFFECT OF THE INTERPRETATION BY THE NPCSC IS TO NULLIFY THE SAID JUDGMENTS OF THE CFA. WE NOTE PARTICULARLY THAT IN THAT PROCESS, THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT IGNORED THE SAID JUDGMENTS AND ACKNOWLEDGING THAT IT HAD A VIEW :dIFFERENT" FROM THAT OF THE CFA, :rEPORTED" TO THE STATE COUNCIL OF THE CENTRAL PEOPLE's GOVERNMENT OF :dIFFICULTIES" IN IMPLEMENTING THE PROVISIONS OF THE BASIC LAW INTERPRETED BY THE CFA IN THE SAID JUDGMENTS AND THEREBY ASKED THE STATE COUNCIL TO PROPOSE A RESOLUTION BEFORE THE NPCSC FOR THE ISSUANCE OF AN INTERPRETATION OF THOSE SAME PROVISIONS. WE ALSO NOTE PARTICULARLY THAT IN CHOOSING THE ROUTE OF SEEKING AN INTERPRETATION FROM THE NPCSC, THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT APPARENTLY BRUSHED ASIDE THE VIEWS OF THE HONG KONG BAR ASSOCIATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS NGOS THAT FAVOURED THE ADOPTION OF A COURSE OF ACTION LEADING TO THE AMENDMENT OF THE BASIC LAW BY THE NATIONAL PEOPLE's CONGRESS (NPC) TO RE-DEFINE PROSPECTIVELY THE CONDITIONS OF ELIGIBILITY OF CLAIMANTS (WITHOUT AFFECTING ANY ACCRUED RIGHT).

  4. WE URGE THE COMMITTEE TO EXPRESS AS A MATTER OF SERIOUS CONCERN TO THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT THAT THE COURSE OF ACTION TAKEN BY THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT FROM MAY TO JUNE 1999 IN SEEKING AN INTERPRETATION FROM THE NPCSC ON PROVISIONS OF THE BASIC LAW, HAS, BY REASON OF THE RELIANCE OF MAINLAND LAWS WHICH ARE NOT LAWS OF THE HKSAR AND THE BY-PASSING OF THE PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS SET OUT IN ARTS 158 AND 159 OF THE BASIC LAW, UNDERMINED THE GUARANTEE IN THE BASIC LAW FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF A SEPARATE LEGAL SYSTEM FOR THE HKSAR. THE ROUTE TAKEN BY THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT WAS NOT PROVIDED FOR IN THE BASIC LAW.
  5. WE URGE THE COMMITTEE TO SEEK FROM BOTH THE CENTRAL PEOPLE's GOVERNMENT AND THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT AN ASSURANCE THAT THE COURSE OF ACTION TAKEN BY THE BOTH GOVERNMENTS FROM MAY TO JUNE 1999 LEADING TO THE NPCSC ISSUING AN INTERPRETATION ON PROVISIONS OF THE BASIC LAW WILL NEVER BE REPEATED. THIS REQUEST IS MADE BECAUSE THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT HAS PUBLICLY REFUSED TO UNDERTAKE THAT IT WOULD NOT RESORT TO THE MECHANISM OF SEEKING AN INTERPRETATION FROM THE NPCSC OF PROVISIONS OF THE BASIC LAW OTHER THAN THROUGH PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COURTS OF THE HKSAR IN ACCORDANCE WITH ART 158(3) OF THE BASIC LAW. THIS REQUEST IS MADE BECAUSE OF OUR OPINION THAT THERE IS THEORETICALLY NOTHING TO STOP THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT TO SEEK AN INTERPRETATION FROM THE NPCSC IN THE ABSENCE OF A COURT CASE, IN ANTICIPATION OF A COURT CASE, DURING A COURT CASE, AND SUBSEQUENT TO THE FINAL ADJUDICATION OF A COURT CASE (AS IT HAD DONE ON THIS OCCASION). THE POSSIBILITY OF THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT SEEKING AN INTERPRETATION OF PROVISIONS OF THE BASIC LAW TO NULLIFY AN UNFAVOURABLE JUDGMENT DOES CREATE POLITICAL PRESSURE BEARING UPON THE JUDICIARY IN DECIDING FUTURE CASES. WE NOTE THAT THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT HAS NOT DISAVOWED THE POSSIBILITY OF SEEKING AN INTERPRETATION FROM THE NPCSC ON A MATTER THAT IMPINGES ON THE FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION SHORTLY, NAMELY THE PROSCRIBING OF ACTS OF DESECRATION OF THE NATIONAL FLAG. A FINAL APPEAL BY THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT AGAINST A RULING OF THE COURT OF APPEAL FINDING A FLAG DESECRATION OFFENCE TO BE IN CONTRAVENTION OF ART 19 OF THE ICCPR WILL BE HEARD BY THE CFA IN OCTOBER 1999.
  6. WE URGE THE COMMITTEE TO EXPRESS TO THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT THE COMMITTEE's DISMAY THAT THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT HAS TAKEN NO COURSE OF ACTION (INCLUDING PROSECUTIONS FOR CONTEMPT OF COURT) IN CURBING THE DISPARAGING ATTACKS BY MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE FOR THE BASIC LAW, HONG KONG DEPUTIES OF THE NPC AND OTHER HOLDERS OF OFFICES OF THE CENTRAL AUTHORITIES ON THE CFA AND ITS CHIEF JUSTICE, FOLLOWING THE DELIVERY BY THE CFA ON 29 JANUARY 1999 OF JUDGMENTS ON THE RIGHT OF ABODE.
  7. WE URGE THE COMMITTEE TO EXPRESS AS A MATTER OF SERIOUS CONCERN TO THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT OF THE LACK OF RESPECT OF THE IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT OF THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS LIABLE TO REMOVAL TO SEEK REMEDIES FROM THE COURTS. RECENTLY, TWO SUCH PERSONS WHO HAD INFORMED THE IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT OF PENDING LEGAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THEIR REMOVAL ORDERS WERE REMOVED NONETHELESS. SEVENTEEN MINUTES AFTER THEY WERE SO REMOVED, A JUDGE OF THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE GRANTED AN INJUNCTION RESTRAINING THE DIRECTOR OF IMMIGRATION FROM REMOVING THEM PENDING THE DETERMINATION OF THEIR CASES. COUNSEL FOR THE DIRECTOR OF IMMIGRATION LATER SAID IN COURT THAT THE IMMIGRATION DEPARTMENT HAD A POLICY NOT TO WAIT FOR THE OUTCOME OF PENDING LEGAL PROCEEDINGS BEFORE EXECUTING REMOVAL ORDERS.
  8. WE URGE THE COMMITTEE TO EXPRESS AS A MATTER OF CONCERN TO THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT OF THE FAILURE OF THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT TO ASSERT JURISDICTION AND TO SEEK THE RENDITION OF SUSPECTED CRIMINALS (INCLUDING MR CHEUNG TSZ KEUNG AND MR LI YUHUI) FROM MAINLAND CHINA IN RESPECT OF OFFENCES THEY WERE ALLEGED TO HAVE COMMITTED IN HONG KONG. MR CHEUNG (A HKSAR PERMANENT RESIDENT) WAS ACCUSED OF KIDNAPPING ON SEPARATE OCCASIONS TWO WEALTHY BUSINESSMEN IN HONG KONG. MR LI WAS ACCUSED OF MURDERING FIVE WOMEN IN HONG KONG. BOTH MR CHEUNG AND MR LI WERE TRIED FOR, CONVICTED OF THOSE OFFENCES IN THE MAINLAND.
  9. WE URGE THE COMMITTEE TO MAINTAIN ITS CONCERN OVER THE INADEQUACY IN LEGISLATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING EFFECTIVE PROTECTION AGAINST VIOLATIONS OF THE RIGHTS OF THE ICCPR BY NON-GOVERNMENT ACTORS.
  10. WE URGE THE COMMITTEE TO MAINTAIN ITS CONCERN OVER THE ABSENCE OF DETAILED REGULATIONS TO COVER EMERGENCIES AND THE POSSIBLE RESTRICTION ON THE JURISDICTION OF THE CFA TO DEAL WITH THE APPLICATION OF EMERGENCY LAWS ENACTED IN THE FUTURE BY REASON OF THE :aCT OF STATE" RESTRICTION. WE ALSO NOTE THAT THE EXPRESSION OF INCOMPATIBILITY BETWEEN ART 18 OF THE BASIC LAW AND ART 4 OF THE ICCPR HAS NOT BEEN ADDRESSED BY BOTH THE CENTRAL PEOPLE's GOVERNMENT AND THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT. WE ASK THE COMMITTEE TO REITERATE ITS CONCERN IN THIS REGARD TO THE CENTRAL PEOPLE's GOVERNMENT.
  11. WE URGE THE COMMITTEE TO EXPRESS AS A MATTER OF CONCERN THE STRUCTURAL AND OPERATIONAL INADEQUACIES OF THE OMBUDSMAN, THE EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES COMMISSION, AND THE OFFICE OF THE PRIVACY COMMISSIONER (INCLUDING THOSE RELATING TO THE APPOINTMENT, SCOPE OF OPERATION, CONSTRAINT IN INITIATING INVESTIGATIONS, RESTRICTIONS ON THE RIGHT OF COMPLAINT, AND SECRECY IN CONDUCT OF INVESTIGATIONS OF THOSE BODIES) IN ACCORDING WITH THE PARIS PRINCIPLES RELATING TO THE STATUS OF NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS.
  12. IN VIEW OF THE MATTERS SET OUT ABOVE AND THE POSSIBILITY OF THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT SEEKING AN INTERPRETATION FROM THE NPCSC OVER OR WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE COURTS OF THE HKSAR IN UPCOMING OCCASIONS (SUCH AS THE FLAG DESECRATION CASE AND OTHER UPCOMING CASES ON THE RIGHT OF ABODE), WE URGE THE COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER FIXING THE PERIODICITY OF THE REPORTING OBLIGATION TO A RELATIVELY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, SUCH AS 12 TO 18 MONTHS. ALTERNATIVELY, WE URGE THE COMMITTEE TO ASK BOTH THE CENTRAL PEOPLE's GOVERNMENT AND THE HKSAR GOVERNMENT TO SUBMIT A SUPPLEMENTARY REPORT ON PARTICULAR ISSUES CONCERNING THE RULE OF LAW, INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY AND THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN HONG KONG AFTER A PERIOD OF 6 TO 12 MONTHS.
  13. RIGHT OF ABODE OF PERMANENT RESIDENTS OF THE HKSAR (ARTS 2, 12, 23, 24, 26, ICCPR)

  14. In the context of Hong Kong, the right of abode is the right to enter one's own country referred to in Article 12(4) of the ICCPR. We urge the Committee to recommend to the Central People's Government the repeal of an interpretation of provisions of the Basic Law that subject persons who qualify for the right of abode in the HKSAR to Mainland approval should they wish to enter Hong Kong to exercise their right of abode. We urge the Committee to recommend to the HKSAR Government the repeal of legislation that arbitrarily deprives persons who qualify under the plain wordings of different categories of Article 24, paragraph 2 of the Basic Law of their right to enter Hong Kong by imposing additional qualifications.
  15. We urge the Committee to express as a matter of serious concern the scant and discriminatory regard of the HKSAR Government towards the protection of the family as the natural and fundamental group unit of society when it came to the effecting of reunion of families split between Hong Kong and the Mainland, particularly in paragraph 241 of the Report.
  16. We urge the Committee to express as a matter of concern the apparent population policy of the HKSAR Government to favour talented Mainland residents and their families over children of HKSAR permanent residents. Such a population policy may be driven by prejudice against the children of HKSAR permanent residents, who are perceived to be from the low-income, low-education, and little or non-skilled strata of the community. We urge the Committee to express the view that such a policy ignores the Article 23 of the ICCPR completely or has regard to Article 23 in respect to one class of people and not another class of people.
  17. We urge the Committee to recommend to the HKSAR Government that the HKSAR Government should withdraw its statement that the interpretation of the NPCSC dated 26 June 1999 would apply to all claimants of permanent resident status under category (3) except the applicants in the litigation leading to the judgments of the CFA of 29 January 1999 and those who submitted their claims for permanent resident status to the Immigration Department on or before 29 January 1999 by reason that such an application of the :interpretation" draws an arbitrary line amongst claimants.
  18. POLITICAL RIGHTS (ART 25, ICCPR)

  19. We urge the Committee to express as a matter of serious concern that the Basic Law provides only for an opportunity for the HKSAR to consider in 2007 whether the method for the selection of the Chief Executive, the method for the formation of the Legislative Council, and the procedure of the Legislative Council for voting on bills and motions should be amended and that there is no guarantee that universal suffrage will be adopted at such time as the method for the selection of the Chief Executive and/or the method for the formation of the Legislative Council.
  20. We urge the Committee to note, in relation to paragraphs 458 to 461 of the Report, that the electoral system for the Legislative Council of the HKSAR still maintains the system of functional constituencies. We note in particular that in the last Legislative Council elections in 1998, the HKSAR Government re-introduced corporate voting (which was abolished in the 1995 elections). Further, as compared with the 1995 elections, the electorate of functional constituencies shrank by 88% in the 1998 elections, due to the abolition of those functional constituencies in the 1995 elections that gave a vote to all working persons. Only in 2007 may the HKSAR be given the opportunity to abolish the system of functional constituencies. The composition of the election committee is also a cause of serious concern since the membership of the election committee replicates the pattern of functional constituencies. Together they dilute the voting power of the ordinary Hong Kong permanent resident. Further, the Committee should note that the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women expressed concern in February 1999 that the electoral system of the HKSAR contained structural obstacles to women's equal political participation, which was indirect discrimination against women, especially with respect to the functional constituencies. We urge the Committee to maintain its previous concluding observations on this topic.
  21. Paragraphs 14, 15, 18 and 19 of the Country Profile and paragraphs 472 and 473 of the Report are now out of date. The HKSAR Government has now introduced draft legislation to abolish the municipal councils and repatriate the functions of the municipal councils back to the policy bureaux of the Government Secretariat. What has been decided by the elected representatives of the public are to be decided by unelected civil servants. The HKSAR Government has also caused to be enacted legislation to establish, in place of District Boards, :District Councils" which will be composed, in part, of appointed members. The appointed members will have equal voting power with members returned by geographic constituency elections. We note that District Boards were fully elected by elections in geographic constituencies in 1995 (with the exception of 18 ex-officio members). We consider the re-introduction of appointed seats to be for party-political purposes and an affront to voters. We observe that: Power is being centralised; Democracy is being rolled back. We urge the Committee to express as a matter of serious concern these acts of the HKSAR Government which are geared towards the diminishing the significance of the free expression of the will of voters in periodic elections and their participation in the conduct of public affairs.
  22. The Report fails to mention the restrictions to political participation in New Territories village representatives elections on the basis of descent, gender and ownership of property. We urge the Committee to express its concern over the discriminatory practices of village representative elections.
  23. We urge the Committee to recommend to both the Central People's Government and the HKSAR Government that the reservation maintained in respect of the composition of the Executive Council and the Legislative Council (which considers Art 25 of the ICCPR as not requiring either Council to be elected) should be withdrawn.
  24. We also urge the Committee to recommend to both the Central People's Government and the HKSAR Government that considerations should be given to bring forward to as early as 2000 the adoption of universal suffrage as the method of the election of the Chief Executive and the method of the formation of the Legislative Council.
  25. EQUALITY BEFORE THE LAW (ART 26, ICCPR)

  26. We urge the Committee to express as a matter of serious concern that the amendment to section 66 of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap 1) is incompatible with Art 22 of the Basic Law, violates the principle of equality before the law and fails to accord to the ordinary citizen the equal protection of the law they deserve in dealings with sub-ordinate state organs operating in Hong Kong, such as the People's Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison, the Office of the Commissioner of the Foreign Ministry, and the Xinhua News Agency.
  27. In relation to the decision of the Secretary for Justice not to prosecute a Ms Sally Aw for conspiracy to fraud in March 1998, which is referred to obliquely in paragraphs 506 to 512 of the Report,we note that the Secretary for Justice declared in a statement to the Legislative Council that the evidence against Ms Aw in the fraud case was not as strong as against three subordinates all of whom had been convicted and imprisoned after trial. Furthermore, in departure from the prosecution guidelines referred to in paragraphs 508 to 511 of the Report, she also took into consideration matters of :public interest" including the alleged possibility that the newspapers owned by Ms Aw might collapse if she were to be prosecuted. Commentators have expressed concern that this decision was an indication of favouritism of those with close ties to the Central People's Government or those with substantial business interest in Hong Kong. We urge the Committee express as a matter of serious concern that prosecution decisions should adhere to established guidelines and must be seen to achieve equality of all before the law.
  28. We urge the Committee to recommend to the HKSAR Government that in addition to public education, it should enact legislation to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of race, age and sexual orientation. The publication of guidelines is not an effective means to combat age discrimination in the employment field. The demands of victims of discrimination for justice must not be ignored.
  29. We urge the Committee to remind the HKSAR Government of the need to give effect to guarantees afforded to foreign domestic helpers in minimum wage, conditions of work and living, and severance payment by enforcing the relevant labour legislation against employers who mistreat their helpers and agencies who exploit the helpers. We also urge the Committee to recommend to the HKSAR Government that it should withdraw its proposal of removing the protection accorded to foreign domestic helpers against unfair dismissal on account of pregnancy. We again urge the Committee to recommend to the HKSAR Government that it should abolish the :two-week rule".
  30. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION (ART 19, ICCPR)

  31. We urge the Committee to express as a matter of concern that laws that criminalise acts of desecration of national flag (which are expressive acts per se) for the purpose of protection of the national flag as a symbol of the state should not be applied against political dissent using the national flag as a medium. We also urge the Committee to express as a matter of serious concern the HKSAR Government's assertion that national laws are not subject to the scrutiny of Article 39 of the Basic Law, thus creating a gap in the effective protection of human rights in the HKSAR.
  32. We urge the Committee to express as a matter of concern to the HKSAR Government over its decision not to permit Chinese dissidents and a former official of the authorities in Taiwan to enter Hong Kong to attend a symposium on the political development of China.
  33. We urge the Committee to express as a matter of concern to the Central People's Government that the remarks by Vice Premier Qian Qichen that officials of the Taiwanese authorities in Hong Kong should not promote the statement of Taiwanese President Lee Teng Hui that the relationship between the Mainland and Taiwan :is like a special relationship between two states" was understood by the news media in Hong Kong as a threat to freedom of expression and freedom of the press. We also urge the Committee to express as a matter of concern to the HKSAR Government that the remarks by Government spokesman, Stephen Lam, that a statement by Mr Cheng An Kuo, the representative of the Taiwanese authorities in Hong Kong, explaining the "two states " of President Lee "violated the 'One China' principle and was inappropriate" was also understood by the news media in Hong Kong as a threat to freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Such remarks burden the local media in reporting and commenting on the status and future of Taiwan and the prospects of reunification between the Mainland and Taiwan. They might also exert pressure on people who have views different from the official position on the issue of reunification.
  34. We urge the Committee to remind the HKSAR Government that Radio Television Hong Kong, the public broadcaster, should not be degraded into a :government mouthpiece" but should remain a broadcaster where all views and opinions can be voiced.
  35. We urge the Committee to express as a matter of concern to the HKSAR Government about the lack of progress in bringing the laws of the HKSAR (particularly the part of the Crimes Ordinance (Cap 200) about treason and sedition, the Official Secrets Ordinance (Cap 521), the Emergency Regulations Ordinance (Cap 241), and the part of the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance (Cap 1) about search and seizure of journalistic materials) fully into line with Art 19 of the ICCPR. We also urge the Committee to remind the HKSAR Government that if it is minded to enact local legislation to prohibit treason, sedition, subversion and secession in accordance with Art 23 of the Basic Law, such local legislation must fully comply with Art 19 of the ICCPR and follow the Johannesburg Principles on National Security, Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, and Siracusa Principles on the Limitation and Derogation Provisions in the ICCPR.
  36. FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION, AND RIGHT OF PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY (ARTS 21, 22, ICCPR)

  37. We urge the Committee to recommend to the HKSAR Government that the Public Order Ordinance (Cap 245) should be amended to restore the amendments made in 1995 and that the ground of :national security" should be deleted as a ground of objection in the present legislation referred to in paragraph 379 of the Report.
  38. We urge the Committee to remind the HKSAR Government that police tactics and the conditions imposed in respect of demonstrations and public processions should be proportionate to the objectives to be pursued and also to the actual circumstances of the demonstration or public procession, and which cause minimal impairments to the enjoyment of fundamental rights. The presence of a leader of the Central People's Government nearby is no cause for extraordinary action.
  39. We urge the Committee to recommend to the HKSAR Government that the Societies Ordinance (Cap 151) should be amended to restore the amendments made in 1992 and that the ground of :national security" should be deleted from a ground of refusal of application for registration, cancellation of registration, or prohibition of operation, of societies in the present legislation referred to in paragraph 388 of the Report.
  40. We urge the Committee to recommend to the HKSAR Government that the amendments to the Trade Unions Ordinance (Cap 332) under ss 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 of the Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 1997 (135 of 1997), which sought to re-introduce stringent restrictions on the application of funds of a registered trade union, the use of trade union funds for political purposes, should be repealed. We note that these restrictions were re-introduced in defiance of the criticisms of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The Committee on Freedom of Association of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization has concluded, in respect of a complaint by a trade union in Hong Kong, that the restrictions introduced under ss 5, 8, and 9 of the Employment and Labour Relations (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 1997 should be repealed for being contrary to principles of the freedom of association of trade unionists.
  41. FREEDOM OF THOUGHT, CONSCIENCE AND RELIGION (ART 18, ICCPR)

  42. We urge the Committee to express as a matter of concern that the Central People's Government and the HKSAR Government declined to permit the Pope to visit Hong Kong apparently because of the continuing diplomatic relationship between the Vatican and the authorities in Taiwan.
  43. COMPLAINTS AGAINST POLICE (ART 2, ICCPR)

  44. We urge the Committee to maintain its concern that the investigation in respect of complaints against police remains in the charge of the police force. We urge the Committee to express its regret that the proposals of the Independent Police Complaints Council have been left unimplemented and to recommend the speedy enactment of those proposals.
  45. We urge the Committee to express its dismay over the relatively light disciplinary punishment (such as entry into record and advice) imposed upon police officers who had been found by the Complaints Against Police Office to have assaulted suspects or members of the public and also the failure of the Department of Justice to bring charges of torture against a group of police officers found to have severely assaulted a suspect for the purpose of forcing him to admit to a fabricated charge.

Dated 6th September 1999.

Christian for Hong Kong Society
Hong Kong Catholic Youth Council
Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee
Hong Kong Christian Institute
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions
Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students
Hong Kong Human Rights Commission
Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor
Hong Kong Journalists Association
Hong Kong Social Workers' General Union
Hong Kong Storehouse and Transport Staff
Hong Kong Women Christian Council Association
JUSTICE (Hong Kong Section of the International Commission of Jurists)
Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Diocese, Hong Kong
Student Christian Movement of Hong Kong
Society of Community Organisations