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Macau: Say No to Article 23 and White Terror

Macau SAR government issued a draft bill enacting Article 23 of the Macau Basic Law in October. The Law is very sensitive and it would affect every citizen's freedom and rights. Now it is supposed to be the public consultation period, but it seems that the government has been giving pressure to independent social groups, organizations and universities to prevent them from having open discussion. However, in spite of all the pressure, activists urge to rally on 23 of Nov (this weekend) against the legislation.

Public forum canceled

Chong from inmediahk.net was supposed to attend a public forum organized by a group of Macau University student this weekend on 22 of November, however he got an email this morning saying that the forum has been canceled because they couldn't find a venue.

According to Chong's report at inmediahk.net:

這個活動原來是由一群熱心同學舉辦的,即『關你廿三事』活動籌備小組,但他們想有學生會的名義,辦起事來比較方便,所以把幾個學生團體找來,包括澳大學生會、澳門科技大學學生會、澳門高等校際學院同學會、澳門理工學院公共行政高等學校學生。可是,現在澳大學生臨時「縮沙」,令活動胎死腹中。

This activity is originally initiated by a group of students, a preparatory committee on “To you Article 23 Concern”. Since they want to organize it with under the student unions’ umbrellas, they invited several student organizations to co-host, including: The Student Union of Macau University, The Student Union of Macau UST, The Alumni Organization of Macau Higher Education, students from the School of Public Administration at Macau Polytechnic University. Suddenly the SU of Macau University decided to withdraw from the organization team and the forum has to be canceled.

很難令人相信,取消的原因跟場地有任何關係。我後來從小道消息處得知,十一月二十日,澳大校方有人打電話給澳大學生會,要求它取消這個活動,若有不從,後果如何,我未能得知。而澳大學生會中人則害怕會遭受校方處分,昨夜臨時找了籌備小組的人開會,決定不搞了,而且還於當晚即時發公告取消。

It is hard to believe that the venue be the reason for canceling the event. Then sources told me that on 20 of Nov, the university contacted the student union demanding them to cancel it. However, he doesn't know what exactly will be the consequence if they rejected the school's demand. The students were intimidated by the university officials, they called up the preparatory committee last night to discuss about the issue and decided not to host the forum. A notice on the cancellation was put up immediately.

Below is a poster for the forum:



Protect University's autonomous space

Chong makes some suggestions to follow up the issue:

1. 澳大學生及老師應該要去質問澳大學生會,是否受到校方的壓力,才作出如此倉卒決定?亦該質問校方,是否在暗地裡壓制學生及學生團體的言論自由及活動自由!

2. 澳門公民團體也應該加入,向澳門政府質詢,是否政府有向校方施壓,禁止公開討論廿三條,並要求政府保證大學自主,以及澳門的言論自由!

3. 澳門公民身體力行,繼續公開討論廿三條立法的各種問題。

1. Macau university students and teachers should ask the student union if they had been pressured by the university officials for making such a sudden decision. They should also question the university for repressing students and students organizations’ free speech and activities.

2. Civic groups from Macau should post questions to the government and check out if the government has been involved in giving pressure to the university for repressing the discussion on article 23. They need to demand the government to ensure the autonomous space in university and freedom of speech in Hong Kong.

3. Macau citizens should continue to discuss the problems of article 23 in the public.

He also points out that what he has encountered is not an isolated incident:

澳門的「國家安全」還未到,白色恐怖已到來!連公開討論的權利也遭壓制,這是個怎樣的社會?在此前,我也收到消息,澳門天主教教友協進會屬下的《澳門觀察報》曾於十五日辦了一個討論會,原來打算邀請香港的天主教正義和平委員會(簡稱正委)代表,大家份屬天主教,是很正常的選擇。可是,在討論會前幾天,正委突然收到訊息「不要來了」。究竟讓正委來澳出席區區一個論壇,有何大不了?實在不得而知,只是據聞,這是來自澳門天主教上層人士的意思,而澳門天主教高層也跟北京政府及特區政府很「要好」。

“National security” hasn't arrived at Macau yet, but we can already see the white terror! What kind of society it is to repress public discussion? Before this happened, I have heard that the publication “Macau Observe” under Catholic Lay Association of Macau planned to organize a discussion in Nov 15 and they had invited representative from the committee of justice and peace from the Catholic Church in Hong Kong. As both organizations belong to the same church, such meeting is considered very ordinary. However, a few days before the meeting, the Hong Kong counterpart received a message to ask them not to go to Macau. What's the big deal for letting JP for attending the Macau Catholic forum? Sources said that the instruction was delivered by the higher rank Catholic Church in Macau and that Macau Catholic Church's relation with Beijing and Macau SAR government has been very close.

What's the rush?

Bobo, also from inmediahk.net, wrote a citizen report in early November with some statistical information about the public knowledge of this bill:

澳門街坊總會日前向一千多名居民調查,只有六成受訪者知道政府推出《維護國家安全法》草案,對草案有所瞭解的受訪者不足五成。而建設澳門聯盟亦發現絕大多數澳門巿民對澳門基本法廿三條認識不足,調查結果顯示,對基本法23條的認識「幾少」、「好少」、「完全唔認識」合共 85.4%;「完全認識」、「好多」、「幾多」合共僅佔9.1%,這說明這草案需要更多民間的討論。

The neigborhood organization in Macau conducted a survey and collected more than 1000 questionnaires. The survey result shows that only 60% of the interviewees actually knows that the government has drafted the “National security” bill. Less than 50% of the interviewees knows about the content of the bill. Macau Union for the construction of Macau pointed out that most of the Macau citizens don't have enough knowledge about article 23. Their survey shows that 85.4% respondents has little to no knowledge of the law. And only 9.1% of the respondents have adequate to full understanding of the law. It shows that a lot more public discussion is needed.

Since Hong Kong government has decided to defer the enacting of Article 23 until there is public consensus, China briefing wondered why Macau has to go ahead of Hong Kong to implement the bill:

Given no signs of an epidemic terrorism or separatism wave sweeping Macau, one is left to wonder the urgency a security bill as intrusive as Article 23 is needed for. Then of course, gamblers are highly suspect people with a record of government overthrow and sabotage…

Rally on 23 of November!

A few independent voices can be found on the internet against the legislation and drafted bill. Funny sister gives a summary of the bill and concluded that:

總括黎講…佢廿三條立法之後就連言論自由都冇!我地就冇曬可以表達ga自由,連去遊行都唔可以亂講野!如果唔係又俾佢話我地呢d星豆市民反政府!!!!

In a nutshell… with the article 23 bill passed, we don't even have freedom of speech! We don't even enjoy freedom of expression, can't demonstrate and our slogans would be monitored! All these can be viewed as anti-government activities!

Tennedy posts two ads on his blog, one is urging Macau citizen to stand up against the legislation, the other one is about the rally on 23 of Nov:

icon for the rally on 23 of nov

人權、自由是人類生存的基本權利,
共產黨式的封閉主義已經沒落,
請各澳門朋友們發起大遊行,
要求澳門政府停止23條立法,
澳門人也是人,澳門人站起來,
齊來保障自己的人權!!!!!

讓國際傳媒知道,澳門市民是不支持這條惡法!!

Human rights and freedom is the basic rights of people,
The isolation practice of communist party is over,
Please organize rally, my Macau fellows,
Macau people are also human being, Macau people have to stand up,
Let's protect our human rights!

Let the international media knows about this, that Macau people don't support this evil law!

Netizen survey: more than 70% opposes legislation

While the Macau government said that 65% of the citizens supported the legislation, grhvonkqyk from cyberctm forum invites internet users to vote on the bill, and more than 74% (3pm 21 of Nov) has voted against the bill.

In the discussion thread, SIOCF pointed out that

如果這是一個真正開放ge國家我無所謂
但是我們所身處的是一個假開放國家假民主ge社會
事問聲如果我們不反對的話
可想而知,我們沒有未來可言

If this is a real open country, I am ok with it
But we are in a fake open and fake democratic society,
If I don't oppose,
I won't have a future.

Tang Nan zeng said that:

我认为,目前为某条立法的时机未到,实现普选之后再立未迟。

In my opinion, this is not the time for legislation, let's wait until we have universal suffrage.

1 shot 2 kills worried about the execution of the law:

23條立法唔係問題
點樣去執法先係問題…
甚麼煽動、顛覆、國家機密
好似得你講冇我講~你話係就係
分分鐘自己衰乜都唔就話要拉要鎖

係咁o既環境之下~你叫人點會唔憂慮
不過澳門d權貴、擦鞋仔話要立
我o地d小蟻民邊有討價能力~
要立就立~結果都係一樣
o係度扮晒o野假咨詢o米仲核突~

Article 23 is not a problem.
The problem lies with exercise of the law.
What is sedition, subversion and national secret?
It relies on your definition, not mine.
People may get arrested without knowing what exactly they have done.
Under such situation, how can people not worried?
However, the powerful and the ass-wiping guys in Macau keep saying that legislation is necessary.
How can ant-like citizen have a say?
Just do it, the result will be the same.
Now the fake consultation really sucks.


Hong Kong Journalists Association's statement

The Hong Kong Journalists Association has made a public statement on the Macau article 23:

To ensure adequate and continued freedom of expression and freedom of the press as well as continued protection of Macau correspondents of Hong Kong’s news media and Hong Kong reporters who may go to Macau for reporting purposes, it is our view that some revisions are necessary to the draft newly-released for public consultation by the Macau Government. For instance we believe there is a need to be more specific in Article 6 of the draft (theft of state secrets) by adding “national and public interest” as “reasonable excuse” or “reasonable immunity” to ensure a proper balance between the needs of national security and freedom of expression as well as freedom of the press.

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