Hong Kong

Diaoyu visit to show sovereign determination

By Teddy Ng (HK Edition)
Updated: 2006-09-21 06:44
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A group of Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and overseas Chinese activists will travel to Diaoyu Islands to demonstrate Chinese sovereignty over the area.

The trip scheduled for next month will mark the 10th death anniversary of David Chan Yuk-cheung.

Chan was born in 1950. He began the movement to thwart Japan's designs and show China's sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands in the 1970s. During a trip to the islands 10 years ago, he jumped into the sea to declare China's sovereignty. But he was drowned. That was September 26, 1996.

More than 2,000 people, including government officials, had attended his memorial meeting then.

The Action Committee for Defending the Diao Yu Islands will launch a series of publicity programmes and fund-raising campaigns to make the trip successful.

The committee had about HK$1.8 million, but had to spend HK$1.3 million to buy two ships, which could carry 70 activists to the islands. The expenses included maintenance and repairing charges. So now it aims to raise about HK$1.5 million for the trip.

Committee Chairman David Ko said yesterday that the trip would be undertaken in mid-October. "We are declaring China's sovereignty over the islands in a peaceful, rational and non-violent way. We are increasing people's awareness over the issue."

Committee consultant Lew Mon-hung urged every member of the public to donate at least HK$20 for the funds.

The receipts from a music concert in Hong Kong Stadium next month, featuring renowned pianist Liu Shikun, too would be used to fund the trip. Apart from the normal ones, VIP tickets would cost HK$1,000.

A candlelight vigil will be held on Monday at Charter Garden to commemorate the death of Chan. A simultaneous exhibition will feature ancient maps showing China's sovereignty over the islands. One of the displayed maps was drawn by a westerner in 1752.

Ko was hopeful of collecting enough money through donations to make the trip successful. But the trip would go on as scheduled even if the committee failed to collect enough money.

Committee member Albert Ho hoped Japan would own up to its war crimes and apologize to the victims. His remarks came after Shinzo Abe was elected the new Liberal Democratic Party chief yesterday. Abe is expected to replace Junichiro Koizumi as Japan's prime minister soon.

"The Japanese Government should compensate and apologize to the victims of war, including the 'comfort women' and the survivors of the Nanjing Massacre. It should also release the historic war documents to remind the next generation of the evil effects of the war," he said.

Ho said the committee was fighting for justice and its intention was not to spread hatred against Japanese.

(HK Edition 09/21/2006 page2)