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Hong Kong To Face Tighter Protest Rules

Thu., April 10, 1997

The man appointed by China to run Hong Kong after July 1 announced plans Wednesday to roll back civil liberties here by imposing more stringent controls on the right to public protest and the right of association.

The proposed controls include requiring all organizations to register with the police and allowing the government to ban organizations altogether.

Last year, China made it clear that it would not tolerate Hong Kong’s liberal laws on protest and association, laws passed by the colonial government in the anxiety-ridden wake of the Tiananmen massacre of 1989. And Tung Chee-hwa, the shipping magnate chosen by China as the territory’s first chief executive, agreed.

Declaring that “Hong Kong is extremely vulnerable to external forces,” Tung’s office, in a document issued Wednesday, insisted that the new government must “strike a balance between civil liberties and social stability, personal rights and social obligations, individual interests and the common good.”

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