China warns that political protests
may not be allowed in Hong Kong
October 23, 1996
Web posted at: 6:30 p.m. EDT (2230 GMT)
From Hong Kong Bureau Chief Mike Chinoy
HONG KONG (CNN) - Senior Chinese officials issued a blunt
warning this week, saying that political demonstrations may
be banned in Hong Kong when Britain gives up control of the
colony next year.
"Those who are using public opinion or organizing protest
rallies are interfering in China's judicial affairs, and this
is not permitted."
-- Zhang Junsheng
Xinhua News Agency
The warning came in the wake of a protest Sunday against the
trial of Chinese dissident Wang Dan in Beijing.
The threat is the latest in a series of tough statements from
Beijing, suggesting that China intends to curb political and
press freedoms, after it takes control of the British colony.
Sovereignty of the colony reverts to China at midnight June
30, 1997, ending 150 years of colonial rule.
Last week, Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen sparked an
uproar by declaring that China would not allow local citizens
to hold an annual commemoration for the victims of the
Tiananmen Square crackdown.
The warnings have prompted a strong diplomatic protest from
Britain, sent after Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten arrived
in London this week for regular consultations with British
Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind.
"We've made representations at a high level to Chinese
officials, and like me, he's waiting for a response," Patten
The international community has also expressed concern about
the future of human rights in Hong Kong.
In a statement released Wednesday, the U.N. Human Rights
Committee said China should respect human rights in Hong Kong
after the transition. China has refused to sign a major
international human rights treaty.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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