CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 16 March 2019

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Call for more freedom ahead of congress

 

HONG KONG (UCAN) : The Justice and Peace Commission joined four other rights pressure groups on November 8, the opening day of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, in presenting a list of 18 proposals gathered from an Internet survey to the Chinese Government Liaison Office in Hong Kong.

Judicial independence, respect for Internet freedom and the real implementation of people’s constitutional rights are the top three agendas on the list.

“We don’t have high hopes with these new leaders, but we want to raise these proposals as we see social grievances have reached boiling point. If the new leaders still detach themselves from the people, the consequence will be disastrous,” the commission project officer, Or Yan-yan, said.

The 18 issues are encapsulated in Charter 08, which was co-authored by Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Or said that the document addresses different sociopolitical concerns that need to be raised again now.

Charter 08 is a manifesto calling for reform and democracy. It was issued in 2008 to mark the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Or added that although only around 200 people took part in the survey, people on mainland China told her that they could not participate because of Internet censorship.

However, China’s official media websites—the People’s Daily, the Xinhua News Agency and Chinese Central Television—ran a joint public Internet forum to collect opinions on the congress.

Corruption came out as the biggest concern, with many people demanding the central government clamp down on graft and make public the wealth and assets of all the country’s top officials.

 

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