The pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao newspaper has said that the annual pro-democracy July 1 march should be banned because it “violates the law and the constitution.”
In an editorial on Thursday, it said July 1 – the anniversary of the Hong Kong Handover to China – should be a day of celebration. However, the march opposes the central and Hong Kong government, calls for an end to one-party rule in China and blocks roads and businesses: “Why can such march be approved and held annually without being banned?” it asked.
The Civil Human Rights Front have been organising the march since 2003 and have obtained a letter of no objection from the police for this year’s rally.
Lawmaker Au Nok-hin, deputy convener of the Front, told Apple Daily that the editorial was absurd.
He said pro-Beijing newspapers often used untruthful reporting to trigger social confrontations, which were unnecessary and unacceptable.
Rally starting point
The Front have criticised the police for forcing them to use the lawn of Victoria Park as the starting point of the march, as it wished to begin the protest at pedestrianised areas of Causeway Bay. But it decided that core groups of the coalition will fulfil the conditions and start the rally at the lawn.
The larger football pitches at the park, which were usually used as the starting point of the march, were given to a pro-Beijing group celebrating the Handover anniversary – both last year, and this year.
Au said the editorial’s call for the ban of the march will harm the public’s freedom of speech and assembly.
“They have already occupied the venue, and now they do not even allow freedom of speech. They only want their own voices but not the others,” he said.
Sing Ming, a political scientist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said he believed the editorial was testing the water for the national security law.
He said more social disturbances could occur if peaceful protests are banned.