SCMP Friday, February 16, 2001

Activists hold out little hope of change


Social activists said last night they held little hope that Mr Tsang's appointment would lead to any fundamental improvement in human rights.
Leung Kwok-hung of the April 5th action group said: "Whether the post is taken up by Mr Tsang or Anson Chan doesn't make a big difference in how far Hong Kong people's interests are protected.
"The crux of the problem is that Hong Kong is run by a Chief Executive who is elected by a small circle and who offers little human rights protection."
On the question of upholding the rule of law, Mr Leung said Mrs Chan had done little beyond assuring international investors that the rules had not changed since the handover. He believed Mr Tsang would face no difficulty in giving similar assurances.
Democrat Cheung Man-kwong, of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movement in China, hoped the alliance would remain intact. "Having gone through the colonial era and the SAR era, he [Mr Tsang] well understands the alliance is a peaceful and lawful organisation. Although we are against the central Government and even its leaders, our way of expression has always been peaceful and lawful . . . we will survive any crackdown on us and we are not afraid of suppression," he said.
"I can't see Donald Tsang having any intention to suppress any dissenting organisations, including the Falun Gong. He is not 'Mr Democracy' but at least he is not an overbearing official."
Law Yuk-kai of Human Rights Monitor said: "I hope they will fix their eyes on the people's needs rather than the Beijing leaders."
Rose Wu Lo-sai of the Hong Kong Christian Council hoped Mr Tsang and Mr Leung would not blindly support the central Government. She called for greater concern on human rights.
Unionist legislator Lau Chin-shek, who secured a one-off home return permit to go to Guangzhou to see his elderly mother last year, said: "I hope Donald will at least follow Mrs Chan's example in upholding the two systems."