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黃之鋒何韻詩美國會作證 促通過《香港人權與民主法案》


黃之鋒及何韻詩在美國國會聽證會。美聯社
美國國會及行政當局中國委員會聯席主席麥高文。美聯社
美國國會及行政當局中國委員會聯席主席魯比奧(右)。美聯社

美國國會及行政當局中國委員會(CECC)周二舉行聽證會,作證的香港民主人士會上提及香港當前的情況,指摘警察濫暴,他們敦促美國採取行動,包括通過《香港人權與民主法案》。委員會聯席主席、共和黨參議員魯比奧說,中國領導人必須尊重香港,又指美國和自由世界早就應該作出回應,並表示希望《香港人權與民主法案》能夠很快通過。

作證人士包括香港眾志秘書長黃之鋒和歌手何韻詩等。黃之鋒在發言時,憶述兩年前到美國國會的一次作證:他當時曾說香港的「一國兩制」正在變成「一國一點五制」,但是,任何關注近期局勢發展的觀察家都不會懷疑,今天香港距離「一國一制」已是觸手可及。

他說,香港正處於關鍵時刻,面對北京干預和武力威脅,希望美國國會能站在香港一邊,站在人權和民主一邊,「北京不應一邊從香港在世界上的地位中獲得所有經濟利益,一邊扼殺我們的自由」,「目前的事態表明,北京完全沒有能力理解一個自由社會,更不用說治理這個社會」。

黃之鋒說,他擔心在國慶前夕,除了香港特區政府可能啟動緊急法,北京也可能有行動。他說:「我們正在對抗的是,與香港一界之隔的深圳大規模的中國軍隊集結。雖然中國國家主席習近平不太可能在10月建國70周年慶典前採取大膽行動,但是,沒人敢保證之後會如何。出動坦克仍是不合理的,然而並非不可能。」

他最後說,幾十年後,當歷史學家回首前塵,「我確信2019年比2014年更是一個分水嶺。我亦希望,歷史學者將會慶祝美國國會站在港人以及人權民主這一邊」(decades from now, when historians look back, I’m sure that 2019, much more so than 2014, will turn out to have been a watershed. I hope, too, that historians will celebrate the United States Congress for having stood on the side of Hong Kongers, the side of human rights and democracy)。

何韻詩作證說,至今已經超過100天,香港青年帶領我們的城市進行這場歷史性時代革命。這是一場沒有領袖的運動,各行業各階層人士廣泛參與。這是爭取民主的抗爭、爭取人權的抗爭,而最重要的是,這是爭取普世價值和自由的抗爭。

她說,6月以來,香港警察在數之不盡使用武力、逮捕和毆打和平抗爭者方面時極度殘忍。迄今已有1400多人被逮捕,包括記者,醫護人員和社工在內,受到催淚彈、橡膠子彈、水炮和警察無差別使用警棍嚴重傷害。她說,可悲的是,年輕人被強按在地,頭部流血,腦部重擊,有些甚至被打暈,但仍被警察阻止接受治療的現象,已成為一種天天如是的普遍景象(sadly, it has become a common daily scene to see youngsters being pinned to the ground, with bleeding head concussions and some even knocked unconscious, but still refused medical care by the police)。

何韻詩說,「所以,我要敦促美國國會支持香港,通過《香港人權與民主法案》。這不是在請求所謂的『外國干預』,也不是在為了香港獨立,這是對普世人權的呼籲。這是對民主的呼籲。這是對選擇自由的呼籲。」(I therefore urge the US Congress to stand by Hong Kong, and most of all, to pass the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. This is not a plea for for the so-called “foreign interference”, nor for Hong Kong independence.This is a plea for universal human rights.This is a plea for democracy.This is a plea for the freedom to choose)。

《香港人權與民主法案》目前正在美國國會參議院審議。這份法案今年6月由共和黨參議員魯比奧和共和黨眾議員史密斯分別在參眾兩院提出,兩院的共和黨及民主黨領袖都支持法案通過。法案的草案旨在修訂1992年通過的《美國﹣香港政策法》,重新確認美國對香港民主、人權和法治的承諾,支持港人民主訴求,敦促中國政府履行承諾,給予香港高度自治以及普選特首和立法會議員的自由權利。

國會及行政當局中國委員會聯席主席、民主黨眾議員麥高文表示,必須清楚表明,當我們對香港特區政府及中國政府違反人權表達關切時,我們與香港人民站在一起,當然也和所有中國人民站在一起。我們今天希望能協助香港人民、在為維持香港自治奮戰時,美國能做些對的事情。

自由亞洲電台報道,委員會另一聯席主席、參議員魯比奧出席聽證會後表示,他曾與總統特朗普通電話,將會與國務院進行溝通,對國會能夠通過及白宮簽署《香港人權及民主法案》表示樂觀。他說通話是私人性質,特朗普正密切關注香港的形勢,也談到美中關係廣泛的問題,兩國的關系須要平衡(調整)等。

被問到會否因應香港時勢對《香港人權與民主法案》進行修訂,魯比奧強調,目前只是對決定自治狀況的審議過程作出技術性修正,不會對法案作出修訂。國務院已向他提出技術性的建議,雙方正在協調,希望盡快完成,下周可以舉行聽證,並投票通過提交到委員會。

黃之鋒等人爭取國際社會對香港抗議示威活動的支持之際,中國外交部發言人華春瑩周一說道:「他身為中國人,卻到處去乞求外國干預中國內部事務。對於這種人,國務院港澳事務辦公室發言人已經給出了明確定性,我想他是沒有什麼資格來對中美關係相關問題說三道四的。」

黃之鋒在聽證會上發言。美聯社

 黃之鋒發言全文:

Good morning Chairman McGovern, Co-Chairman Rubio, and members of this Commission:

It’s an honor to be invited back to Capitol Hill to speak about developments in Hong Kong. You may recall that I last traveled to Washington more than two years ago and testified before this commission, in this same building, on May 3, 2017.

At the time, I warned about the probable disqualification of my friend Nathan Law, who had been Asia’s youngest democratically-elected legislator and who is in the audience this morning. I also warned about massive political prosecution.

Unfortunately, both materialized: Nathan lost his seat that July, and we were both imprisoned in August for our roles in the Umbrella Movement. Further legal troublers in relation to the 2014 protests prevented me from traveling abroad.

While I said then that Hong Kong’s “One Country, Two Systems” was becoming “One Country, One-and-a-Half Systems,” I don’t think there is any doubt among observers who have followed recent events that, today, we are approaching dangerously close to “One Country, One System.” The present state of affairs reveals Beijing’s utter inability to understand, let alone govern, a free society.

The ongoing demonstrations began on June 9 when one million Hong Kongers took to the streets in protest of proposed legislation that would’ve allowed criminal suspects to be extradited from Hong Kong to China, where there are no guarantees of the rule of law. Still, before the night had even ended, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the bill’s reading would resume in three days. Hong Kongers were bracing for their last fight on June 12.

And then the unthinkable happened: Knowing that Beijing controlled enough votes in the Legislative Council, protesters surrounded the complex early in the morning, successfully preventing lawmakers from convening. I was then serving my third jail sentence. For a moment, I wondered why the news channel was replaying footage of the Umbrella Movement, though it was not long before I realized Hong Kongers were back. Lam suspended the bill on June 15, but fell short of fully withdrawing it. A historic two million people demonstrated the following day, equivalent to one in four out of our entire population. I’m not aware of anything comparable to this level of discontent against a government in modern history.

I was released exactly three months ago, on June 17, and have since joined fellow Hong Kongers to protest in the most creative ways possible. In addition to the bill’s withdrawal, we demanded Lam to retract the characterization of us as “rioters,” drop all political charges, and establish an independent investigation into police brutality. Some of us crowdfunded for newspaper advertisements ahead of the G20 summit in late June calling for the world not to neglect Hong Kong. Others broke into and occupied the Legislative Council complex on July 1, the same day another 550,000 Hong Kongers protested peacefully.

Crowds continued to show up in large numbers every weekend, with smaller rallies taking place almost daily across the territory. But the government would not listen; instead of defusing the political crisis, it dramatically empowered the police. The movement reached a turning point on July 21. That night, thugs with suspected ties to organized crime gathered in the Yuen Long train station and indiscriminately attacked not just protesters returning home, reporters on the scene,but even passersby. The police refused to show up despite repeated emergency calls, plunging Hong Kong into a state of anarchy and mob violence.

On August 5 alone, the day Hong Kongers participated in a general strike, the police shot 800 canisters of tear gas to disperse the masses. Compare that to only 87 fired in the entire Umbrella Movement five years ago, and the police’s excessive force today is clear. Their increasingly liberal use of pepper spray, pepper balls, rubber bullets, sponge bullets, bean bag rounds, and water cannons — almost all of which are imported from Western democracies — are no less troubling. In light of this, I applaud Chairman McGovern for introducing the PROTECT Hong Kong Act last week in the House of Representatives. American companies mustn’t profit from the violent crackdown of freedom-loving Hong Kongers.

Co-Chairman Rubio is also right for recently writing that “Hong Kong’s special status,” under American law, “depends on the city being treated as a separate customs area, on open international financial connections, and on the Hong Kong dollar’s peg to the U.S. dollar.” Beijing shouldn’t have it both ways, reaping all the economic benefits of Hong Kong’s standing in the world while eradicating our sociopolitical identity. This is the most important reason why the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act enjoys the broad support of Hong Kong’s civil society, a point which I want every member of Congress to take note.

Lam finally withdrew the bill earlier this month, but just as protesters have long stopped calling for her resignation, this decision was almost meaningless by now. The movement is far from over, because it has long moved beyond one bill or one person. Our fifth and most important demand is genuine structural change in Hong Kong. Our government’s lack of representation lies at the heart of the matter.

As I speak, Hong Kong is standing at a critical juncture. The stakes have never been higher. Authorities have all but stopped issuing permits known as “letters of no objection,” so virtually every demonstration is an “illegal assembly.” Moreover, we are confronted by the huge Chinese military buildup just across the border in Shenzhen. President Xi Jinping is unlikely to take bold action before the upcoming 70th National Day in October, but no one can be sure what’s next. Sending in the tanks remains irrational, though not impossible. 

Chinese interference in Macau, Taiwan, Tibet, and especially Xinjiang, serves as a reminder that Beijing is prepared to go far in pursuit of its grand imperial project.

I was once the face of Hong Kong’s youth activism. In the present leaderless movement, however, my sacrifices are minimal, compared to those among us who have been laid off for protesting, who have been injured but too afraid of even going to a hospital, or who have been forced to take their own lives. Two have each lost an eye. The youngest of the 1,400 arrested so far is only 12-year-old schoolboy. I don’t know them, yet their pain is my pain. We belong to the same imagined community, struggling for our right of self-determination so we can build one brighter, common future.

A baby born today will not even have celebrated his 28th birthday by July 1, 2047, when Hong Kong’s policy of “50-year no change” is set to expire. That deadline is closer to us than it appears; there’s no return. Decades from now, when historians look back, I’m sure that 2019, much more so than 2014, will turn out to have been a watershed. I hope, too, that historians will celebrate the United States Congress for having stood on the side of Hong Kongers, the side of human rights and democracy.

何韻詩在聽證會上發言。美聯社

 何韻詩發言全文:

Thank you Chairman McGovern, Co-Chairman Rubio and members of this Commission for holding this hearing, and for having us here at this very critical time of Hong Kong. We hope that our personal accounts will be helpful in your deliberations on what the United States Congress and American people can do to help the Hong Kong people in face of the erosion of our liberties and autonomy.

For more than 100 days now, the Hong Kong youth has led our city into the historical fight of our times. It is a leaderless movement, with widespread participation from people of all walks of life. It is a fight for democracy, a fight for human rights, and most of all, a fight for universal values and freedoms.

What started out as a million people march against an extradition bill, morphed into a determined fight for a fundamental political reform in Hong Kong. 

Misjudgments and arrogance on behalf of Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive Officer of Hong Kong, resulted in a total clampdown of the Beijing government over Hong Kong affairs, at the same time surfacing the reluctance of both governments in fully implementing the “One country, Two systems” in Hong Kong.

With Carrie Lam hiding behind the police force for months, refusing to resolve political issues with sincerity, she has given police full authority to suppress the protests at all costs.

Since June, the Hong Kong police has shown excessive brutality in their use of force, arresting and beating up peaceful protesters heavily at uncountable occasions. More than 1400 people have been arrested up to date, with even more (including journalists, first aiders and social workers)severely injured by tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, and the police’s indiscriminate use of batons. On a personal note, It has been extremely difficult to be away from home and to watch the people safeguard the city from afar, especially in the past weekend where we have seen police behavior getting out of control.

Sadly, it has become a common daily scene to see youngsters being pinned to the ground, with bleeding head concussions and some even knocked unconscious, but still refused medical care by the police.Riot police and plainclothes officers have shown no restraint while performing their duties. From the early weeks, they have deliberately hidden their ID numbers, refused to show warrant cards even on request, therefore making it impossible for citizens to verify the legitimacy of plainclothes officers, nor to hold any police officer accountable for their violations.

Last month, a university student in possession of ten laser pointers has been arrested and detained for 48 hours. A first aider was shot in the eye by a bean bag round dispersed from above head level, risking permanent loss of sight. On August 31st, police from the Special Tactical Unit charged into Prince Edward MTR station, beating up passengers randomly. Consequently, they shut down the station for 24 hours, refusing medical care for those who were injured, raising suspicion of possible death in the station. They have recently charged into secondary school yards, shopping malls and on buses, where young people merely dressed in black clothing could be searched or even arrested without justified reasons.

In short, in our Hong Kong today, being young is the crime. We are now officially a police state, where people live in constant fear of political repercussions. In addition, on 21st July, in an infamous mob attack that occurred in the Yuen Long MTR station, where a white shirt clad attacked civilians indiscriminately, the police failed to arrive in a timely manner, making their appearance only 39 minutes after the incident, despite hundreds of emergency calls for help. Similar situations occurred later in the protests, where police would give favorable treatment to mobs and pro-Beijing supporters, helping them leave the sites after having attacked protesters, showing clear and continuous collusion between police and triad members.

On August 11th, police obstructed pro bono lawyers from providing legal assistance to arrested protesters in the Sun Uk Ling Holding Center, violating the legal rights of 54 persons. There were also claims from female protesters of sexual harassment inside of the police station, and of physical abuses on numerous occasions.

Since July, more than thirty “no objection applications” for rallies and marches have been systematically denied, including the 1.7 million people rally on 18th August, where protesters gathered and marched peacefully despite the ban. According to Hong Kong Basic Law and international standards, Hong Kong residents have the freedom of assembly and demonstration, where peaceful public assembly is a legitimate use of public space. By banning the assemblies, the Hong Kong government is violating the people’s right to peacefully protest.

With police violations accumulating by the day, Hong Kong people have been demanding for an independent investigative council to be formed. The Chief Executive Carrie Lam has refused to do so, claiming we have “a well-established (IPCC), set up for exactly this purpose”. This existing watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, is in fact entirely appointed by the CE herself, has no legal power to summon witnesses nor to force the police to provide sufficient documents, therefore is powerless in bringing justice to the situation.

On its front, it all started with an extradition bill. But at the core, it has always been about fundamental conflicts between these two very different set of values : on one side, the China model, which has no respect over human rights and rule of law, and demands for their people’s submission. And the other, a hybrid city that has enjoyed these freedoms for the most of its existence, with a deep attachment to these universal values that the United States and other western societies are also endeared to.

Unfortunately, with the rise of the present iron regime of Xi Jinping, the “One country, Two systems” is racing towards its death. Hong Kong represents something very unique in the world. As a crossroads that is strongly rooted in its own Asian cultures, and yet has come to be known for its values and of the rule of law, transparent institutions, and freedom of information and expression. We represents the hope that as nations develop, they will evolve towards these universal values which protect individuals everywhere.

These protections are why over 1500 multinational companies have chosen to place their regional headquarters in Hong Kong, the biggest proportion of these by country, from the United States. Hong Kong has become one of the most globally interconnected, financially important trading economies in the world, helping bring countries closer together through finance and today, the flow of data, goods, ideas, culture and people.

However, this system is now under threat like never before. Companies such as Hong Kong’s major airline Cathay Pacific, has succumbed to political pressure, firing dozens of employees due to their political stance, some only over a mere facebook post. Business people are coerced into making political decisions. MTR corporation, our subway system, has deliberately shut down stations during rallies and marches due to pressure from a state newspaper, resulting in more than hundreds of arrests and unnecessary injuries.

As a singer and activist from Hong Kong, I have experienced the suppression first hand. Ever since the Umbrella Movement in 2014, I have been blacklisted by the communist government. My songs and my name are censored on Chinese internet, and I have been called out several times by state newspapers. Pressured by the Chinese government, sponsors have pulled out, even international brands have kept their distances in fear of being associated with me. For the past five years, and even more so recently, China tried to silence me with their propaganda machines and smearing campaigns, making claims that are completely false. Right now, I am facing threats from the communist government, pro-Beijing supporters, and could face arrest and prosecution at anytime.

Not only have I faced increased difficulties in continuing my singing career in China and Hong Kong, but the self-censorship has now spread towards global institutions and cities. Recently, the National Gallery of Victory in Melbourne, Australia, denied a venue to an collaborative event of Chinese artist Badiucao and myself, due to “security concerns”. The 2019 gay pride in Montreal, Canada, banned Hong Kong activists due to similar reasons. Celebrities from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China are all pressured into taking a political stance, voicing their unanimous “support” for the Beijing government on social media, and could be condemned for keeping their silence. Even the songwriter of the new unofficial “anthem” for Hong Kong, has opted to stay anonymous, in fear of future reprisal.

Hongkongers are now living in constant fear, and have unfortunately lost the most part of our freedoms. For a city that has been infamously known as politically indifferent, the younger generations have took up the role to safeguard our home, standing up courageously to the corrupted system, in spite of increased and ruthless suppression.

They have awakened other Hong Kong people, and together we have taken the world by surprise with our continued fight. To the rest of the world, the United States is often a symbol of freedom and democracy. The freedom Americans enjoy is something the people of Hong Kong have long hoped for. Even though our languages and cultures differ, what we have in common is the pursuit for justice, freedom, and democracy.

Through the challenges of Hong Kong, the West is waking up to China’s insinuating power in a global scale. Hong Kong is connected to the world in multiple ways (institutional, social, economic, personal), but China is trying to isolate it to exert control. If Hong Kong falls, it would easily become the springboard for the totalitarian regime of China to push its rules and priorities overseas, utilizing its economic powers to conform others to their communists values, just as they have done with Hong Kong in the past 22 years. The US and its allies have everything to fear if they wish to maintain a world that is free, open, and civil.

I therefore urge the US Congress to stand by Hong Kong, and most of all, to pass the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. This is not a plea for for the so-called “foreign interference”, nor for Hong Kong independence.

This is a plea for universal human rights.

This is a plea for democracy.

This is a plea for the freedom to choose.

And lastly, may I quote Eleanor Roosevelt, your most beloved First Lady:

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” This is a global fight for the universal values that we all cherish, and Hong Kong is in the very frontlines of this fight. We were once fearful of what might come with our silence, and for that, we have now become fearless.




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