Democracy groups hit back at Benny Tai criticism - RTHK
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Democracy groups hit back at Benny Tai criticism

2018-04-02 HKT 19:12
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  • Democracy groups hit back at Benny Tai criticism
Pro-democracy parties have condemned the government for its criticism of legal scholar and Occupy movement founder Benny Tai over his comments on possible future political systems.

Mainland and Hong Kong officials, state media and pro-establishment lawmakers slammed Tai over the Easter holidays for hypothetically suggesting that independence might be something Hong Kong could consider if China ever became a democratic state at a forum in Taiwan last month.

That prompted a series of statements from opposition groups.The Democratic Party said anyone should be free to express their views on future political systems of the mainland and Hong Kong.

The Civic Party said the government had encroached on freedom of expression and academic independence. It also accused Beijing of interfering in internal Hong Kong matters.

The Professionals Guild said people should respect others' rights and freedoms under the Basic Law, and not take comments out of context.

On Monday, more than 70 people marched to the Liaison Office in Western calling for the protection of freedom of speech.

Members of People Power, the League of Social Democrats, the Civic Party and the Progressive Teachers' Alliance took part in the protest, expressing concern over what they say are unusually strong rebukes from Hong Kong and mainland officials over Tai's comments.

The University of Hong Kong law professor said on Monday that the barrage of criticism he's faced over his comments indicate the government could clamp down on freedom of speech in the SAR in the name of national security under tough Article 23 legislation.