China Informed: a news service focused on China, Taiwan and Hong Kong

| Current edition | Previous edition | News Index | Contents |

Later issue
Earlier issue

Wed, Apr 9, 1997
Civil Liberties 'Struck a Blow' in Hong Kong

also: human rights at the UN and Aung San Suu Kyi on Burma's problems; Hanoi & Beijing begin talks; western provinces criticize central govt.; info on internet in Hong Kong and Asia

Please read the statement of purpose.

Hong Kong: "Right to Protest in Hong Kong to Be Cut Back" is a New York Times' article on new restrictions to be put in place on political activities after July 1. In addition to requiring political groups to register with the police and the issuance of permits to stage a public protest, the new regulations permit the police to ban political organizations and deny permits for political protests, if the police deemed them harmful to "national security".

The Times writes, these new regulations strike a severe blow against Hong Kong's civil liberties and offer the first real glimpse of how China will manage the territory.

Tung Chee-hwa said, Hong Kong must strike a balance between civil liberties and social stability. The Times writes:

    "Tung has repeatedly criticized what he says is the 'over politicalization' of Hong Kong and has said he will take steps to make it more difficult for political parties to function in Hong Kong. Already, steps are under way to change Hong Kong's system of elections so that the Democratic Party's influence will be severely diluted."

Political parties which receive monies from outside the territory will be banned, and the paper notes the Democratic Party's Martin Lee is currently on a widely publicized fund-raising tour of Canada and the US.

The Ming Pao (Chinese BIG 5) notes, the documents issued today detailing the new regulations "was full of many important concepts but short on specifics." According to the document, the police may ban political parties and groups on the grounds of protecting "national security," but the document does not actually define what "national security" means, writes the paper. The paper notes, the provisional administration will seek comments for the next two weeks from public groups on the new regulations.

Human rights: CNN has a story on the waning support among European Union nations for a resolution against China on its human rights record. As we noted yesterday, Denmark will press ahead with its support for the resolution, despite threats from China. CNN says this is the first time in seven years EU countries have failed to bring a resolution to a vote. South China Morning Post has a story on the frenzied lobbying Denmark and the United States have been conducting to sway support for the resolution.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights maintains a web page here. Press announcements and resolutions adopted by the body are posted.

Burma: Burma is a nation on the list of those to be criticized. I have received today and am making available a transcript of Aung San Suu Kyi's video to the UN commission. The video was smuggled out of Burma, and on it she makes very clear her position on the matter of condemning Burma for its human rights violations.

    "When I talk of human rights violations in Burma, I think not about -- well, we can no longer think in terms of which rights are being violated, but in terms of which rights are not being violated. I think I can say that all our rights are being violated."

She cites a number of examples and comments on recent unrest between Muslim and Buddhist Burmese. The Far Eastern Economic Review also has an article on the subject but takes a slightly different tact in its analysis. Bertil Lintner, long-time Burma Watcher and writer for the Review on Burma and Laos, notes that Mandalay, a major city in the dry zone, has been inundated over the past few years by Chinese from Yunnan Province. Lintner suggests, Muslims may have become targets for pent-up frustrations with the Chinese traders.

Vietnam: Hanoi and Beijing concluded the first day of talks to settle territorial disputes, reports the South China Morning Post

Ethnic problems: the Chinese government denied reports that a Uighur businesswoman has been denied permission to leave the country because of her ties to separatist groups.

Development: we're starting to get information about the '97 Investment and Trade Forum for Co-operation Between East and West China. The forum recently ended in Xi'an and was designed to attract investment to the western provinces. But as South China Morning Post reports, officials from these provinces have complained that the central government and Jiang Zemin have done little in the way of putting in place a concrete plan for developing the hinterland provinces.

As one official commented on Beijing's efforts, "These are just empty words. Beijing has not injected any capital into the inner provinces. The State Council has not announced any concrete measures to encourage foreign investment in our regions," reports the paper.

Business: the Far Eastern Economic Review has a story about Hong Kong property developer and entrepreneur Payson Cha.

Internet: Paul English ( was wondering if there are any English-language publications focused on the internet business and development in Asia. I didn't know, but after some searching I did come up with some potential sources.

  • The Dataphile Online is a Hong Kong based bimonthly publication which focuses on the internet culture with some news on business. They have back issues for purchase and other information on-line.

  • Hong Kong ISP List from Dataphile lists the ISP's in the Colony. Another list details ISP's in the region.

  • Boardwatch is an excellent source for news on the internet and the technologies involved. Although primarily focused on the United States, the magazine does run stories on happenings outside this country. The site is completely searchable.

My impression at this point is that information on the internet even in the United States is hard to come by---do we know how many ISP's there are in this country? But the lists cited above may provide a starting point. I have not found actual figures detailing growth and other trends. The Far Eastern Economic Review might have more information on this point, and the site has a search engine, albeit a limited one.

If anyone has additional information about this, please write in and I'll post it for others to read.

(Note: the Far Eastern Economic Review on-line service is free, but requires that users register with them and login, and therefore first-time users should first introduce themselves on the FEER registration page.)

Previous issue | Next issue

China Informed

a news service focused on China, Taiwan and Hong Kong
©1997 Matthew Sinclair-Day