No Ground Rules
Without the police setting ground rules, there is room for even more mischief.
Mandy Liu says the practitioners who staff the information sites are suffering a reenactment of the Cultural Revolution. Videos show the Association members shouting at practitioners, cursing them, waving fingers in their faces, and pushing them.
Practitioners began videoing all confrontations with the Association members after an incident at the Lok Ma Chau border crossing with mainland China.
“The Hong Kong Youth Care Association members have these huge banners,” Ms. Liu explained. “They wrapped our practitioners inside these banners and beat them. No one could see what was happening behind the banners. By the time the police arrived, there was no evidence. So, we began videoing everything.”
Zeng Qiaochan is a practitioner who helps staff the Lok Ma Chau information site. She says physical abuse continues there.
“Their banners have long sticks at each end,” Zeng said. “When no one is looking they whip those sticks down and hit your hands or feet. They do it so quickly, you can’t catch them on video.”
On July 4 at the Hung Hum train station, a member of the Association brandished a large knife in front of a New Tang Dynasty TV reporter who was filming the Association’s activities. Police were called, but were not interested in seeing video of the incident and chose to do nothing.
Wincy Chan said the harassment by the Association has an ulterior motive.
“These people try to create a situation where practitioners will involuntarily defend themselves—a situation where they can accuse the practitioners of breaking the law or beating them up,” Chan said. “Because we cultivate truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance we avoid having any kind of conflict with them.”
The police have told practitioners that there is no legal basis for stopping the Association from putting up its banners. According to Mandy Liu, the police have said, “both sides have the right to speak, if there is no conflict this situation has nothing to do with us.” Recently the police told practitioners they are “gathering evidence.”
A request for comment from the Service Information Office of the Police Public Relations Bureau in Hong Kong had not been answered at press time.
Some of Hong Kong’s netizens say the police refuse to defend the practitioners because of the Association’s CCP connections.
The practitioners say they should be protected under the Hong Kong Basic Law, whose Public Order Ordinance states in part, “Any person who at any public gathering acts in a disorderly manner for the purpose of preventing the transaction of the business for which the public gathering was called together or incites others so to act shall be guilty of an offence.”
Hong Kong is also a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.”
With the police refusing to protect them, the Hong Kong practitioners are investigating gaining redress through the courts.
The Hong Kong Youth Care Association could not be reached for comment by press time.
In November 2012, the Association’s campaign spread from the information sites to Hong Kong’s streets. Hundreds, if not thousands, of its banners now line Hong Kong’s busiest and most chic thoroughfares.
Social media and blogs in Hong Kong are filled with complaints: The banners have destroyed Hong Kong’s cityscape; they’re a traffic hazard; they disrupt city life; and they’re an embarrassment.
In December, stickers started appearing on the banners saying, “Not From HK People.” An organization called Hong Kong Citizens Attending to the Falun Gong Issue was formed.
When someone destroyed a number of the Association’s banners, netizens cheered. A message posted to Mini forum.net, Hong Kong bulletin board, said: “The government is offering shelter to the communist thugs, and the citizens are acting on behalf of heaven. From Mon Kok to Nathan Road, some banners and nearly 70 posters destroyed.”
Several members of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council have called on the police to protect the rights of Falun Gong practitioners, but the sympathetic Legco members are powerless to help. They are the minority in a body dominated by CCP allies.
Chow Wai Tung, the district councilor of the Democratic Party in Hong Kong, told The Epoch Times for a previous report, “The CCP thinks that Jiang Zemin and his like can just do whatever they please in Hong Kong, and this Youth Care Association was established just at this time, and right after it’s set up it goes and specifically targets Falun Gong and does all these wicked and shady things.”
“Falun Gong is the conscience of Hong Kong, a kind of moral compass of Hong Kong; it’s the most law abiding, kindest group of people,” Chow said. “If even they are attacked, then no group, and no individual in Hong Kong is safe.”
With reporting by Zhou Meihua
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