Hong Kong Legislator Under Pressure for Remarks on Taiwan


2003-09-04
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Emily Lau's office vandalized

Listen to the original broadcast in Cantonese

China's official media have sharply criticized pro-democracy Hong Kong legislator Emily Lau for saying Taiwan's status should be decided by residents of the self-governing island, RFA's Cantonese service reports. Lau, whose office was vandalized Thursday, insists she did nothing wrong.

Lau filed a police complaint Thursday after her office door was smeared with feces in the latest of a string of attacks against her. "I am flabbergasted and very angry. I want to know if there is still a rule of law in Hong Kong if a legislative councillor's office can be attacked like that," she said, according to the Reuters news agency.

Lau has drawn intense criticism from the official English-language China Daily newspaper and from pro-Beijing figures after she addressed a Taipei seminar last month, hosted by a pro-Taiwan independence think-tank.

In a signed commentary, the China Daily called on Lau to apologize for remarks on Aug. 16, saying "she has hurt the national feelings of Hong Kong people."

"As an elected Legislative Councillor, she has always posed as the representative of public opinion. Therefore, her trip to Taiwan this time must have misled some Taiwan compatriots into believing that Hong Kong people are against the legislation for national security, and that Hong Kongers are willing to brush shoulders and echo the slogans of Taiwan separatists in disregard of national principles," the article said.

After Lau protested, China Daily responded with a tacit call for her to resign her seat in Hong Kong's Legislative Council. "The resignation of legislators and senior officials is not uncommon, ranging from disgraced legislator Gary Cheng Kai-nam to former financial secretary Antony Leung. None of them erred as seriously as Emily Lau," it said.

"I didn�t do anything wrong," Lau told RFA�s Cantonese service. "They're using the tactics of the Cultural Revolution method to attack people--so I just ignore them.?

Lau and her colleague James To appeared at the Taipei conference to discuss the likely impact of Hong Kong�s controversial anti-subversion law, known as Article 23, on press freedom, human rights, and the judiciary. Pro-democracy activists fear the legislation would mark a serious step backward for Hong Kong.

"The Chinese government and media better watch what they are attacking," To said in an interview with RFA. "They�re saying as long as you don't oppose Taiwan independence, they will attack you. The Taiwan people will then really question the Chinese government�s promise of �one country, two systems [under Chinese sovereignty]."

Lau "didn�t do anything to violate her council member�s code," Hong-Kong-based commentator and China analyst Willy Wo-Lap Lam said in an interview. "She didn�t say she supported Taiwan�s independence. She said only that we should let Taiwan�s people choose what they want."

After Lau�s comments were made public, a Hong Kong central government official warned other members of the Legislative Council against supporting Taiwan�s independence in public speeches or in the media.

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