Cult activities of Falun Gong are destabilizing Hong Kong and disrupting social harmony and tourism, said the participants at a forum on civilization and social harmony yesterday.
Wang Fengchao, deputy director of the central government's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, said yesterday at the forum that there were undesirable factors affecting Hong Kong's harmony. This was despite the fact that the central government had respected the autonomy of Hong Kong and implemented the principle of "One Country, Two Systems".
Describing Falun Gong as the undesirable factor, he said the cult was disturbing tourists by setting up booths in busy districts. It was also fabricating rumours to attack the central government, he added.
"They are intentionally disturbing mainland tourists and creating serious inconvenience to them," he said, adding their activities were renounced by the people of Hong Kong.
Speaking at the same forum, Chinese Academy of Sciences research fellow He Zuoxiu said that Falun Gong had also acted as the spokesperson for anti-Chinese power.
"To a certain extent, Falun Gong has exploited the democracy and freedom of Hong Kong as a base for illegal subversive activities against the People's Republic of China. This affects not only Hong Kong's harmony, but also national security and the people on the mainland," he said.
People on the mainland and in Hong Kong should respect the social and economic system adopted by each other under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, he said.
"However, the activities conducted by Falun Gong in Hong Kong have gone beyond the scope of 'Two Systems' and threatened the 'One Country' principle".
Another speaker, China Travel Service (Hong Kong) Director and General Manager Lo Sui-on, said some tourists had complained to the police that they were disturbed by Falun Gong at train stations and piers, but the police said they could not stop such activities because they were not breaching the laws.
"Therefore, the tourists hope that we can express to the relevant authorities that the cult group should be outlawed. Only this will minimize the impact on tourism in Hong Kong," he said.
Criticizing Falun Gong for distributing leaflets to the tourists, Lo said the cult had also created eyesores in Hong Kong as they had permanently set up booths at tourists spots, including the Star Ferry at Tsim Sha Tsui and Hung Hom KCR station. This will affect tourism, he added.
Hong Kong Cultural Association Chairman Chuang Shih-ping said Hong Kong's reputation would be jeopardized and the economic development would be severely affected if the SAR government did not take action against Falun Gong.
He said the cult had breached the Basic Law and affected the relationship between Hong Kong and the mainland.
"This is a serious challenge and disturbance to the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle. We urge the SAR government to pay attention to the problem," he said. Handling the problem properly will enhance social stability and harmony, he added.
Meanwhile, Renmin University of China legal scholar Hu Jinguang said he had firm belief that Hong Kong could create a harmonious society because of the comprehensive legal system. He said the authority and the reputation of the judiciary were protected by the Basic Law.
He also said the opinion and interest of different people could be expressed because the Legislative Council was composed of people representing a variety of sectors, and the legislation process could ensure that their interests were protected.
He said Hong Kong would face challenge in creating a harmonious society because there was no precedence of "One Country, Two Systems" and the city needed the support of the residents and the central government.
He said the development of political system should be implemented in line with social development.
Urging people to respect the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, he said: "They should not just superficially stress the existence of the differences in system and lifestyle between Hong Kong and the mainland, and ignore the 'One Country' factor when tackling problems and interpreting the Basic Law. This will not be beneficial to Hong Kong's prosperity, stability and development."
Po Lin Monastery abbot Sik Chi-wai urged the people to be united, bear the responsibility of tackling difficulties and share the positive results. "The situation will only get worse if people only pass the responsibility to others and blame others for the problem," he said.
(HK Edition 06/21/2006 page2)