Bad Idea: Beijing Justice In Hong Kong

Beijing's obsession with stamping out the Falun Gong on the mainland has spilled over into Hong Kong, and could have serious consequences for the rule of law there. On Feb. 5, China issued a fulminating statement to Hong Kong not to allow itself to become a stronghold of the "evil cult." Keen to toe Beijing's ideological line, some Hong Kong officials have been calling for the enactment of an anti-subversion law to outlaw the Falun Gong in Hong Kong, where it is legally practiced. The passing of such a law would deal a severe blow to the one-country, two systems principle meant to preserve Hong Kong freedoms and autonomy from Beijing until 2047.

The big fear is that once an antisedition law is put in place, Beijing could have the last say in deciding the outcome of any trial. Beijing has already overturned a decision by Hong Kong's supreme court, the Court of Final Appeal, which allowed certain mainland Chinese the right to reside in Hong Kong. More troubling still, the antisubversion law contains a clause against the theft of state secrets. Were Hong Kong to apply this law with the same vigor as China, where routine economic data is jealously guarded, the ensuing loss of transparency and the free flow of information would drive business and capital away. So far, Hong Kong's most senior government official, Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa, has kept mum. In the past, he has sided with Beijing. One can only hope that this time he will put Hong Kong's prosperity and stability first.

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