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HONG KONG: Websites come under attack for pushing independence

Official news agency says sites agitate for independence by appealing for foreign intervention

South China Morning Post
Monday, February 7, 2005

By Martin Wong

Websites calling for independence for Hong Kong and criticising the central government came under fire from an official news agency yesterday.

In an angry report, the China News Service said these "subversive" websites were not only agitating for a Hong Kong independence movement but also trying to recruit internet users to the cause.

Most of the sites were linked to English- or Chinese-language websites based in Taiwan or overseas, while some were linked to sites promoting the independence of Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet , according to the news agency. Many encourage surfers to post their opinions.

One site described Hong Kong's return to China in 1997 as an invasion, said China saw Hong Kong as a colony and that the Hong Kong government was merely a puppet.

It said policies put forward by the central government such as the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement and the individual traveller scheme were aimed at destroying Hong Kong's economy and "polluting" the city's society.

"The site also encourages the growth of an independence movement by agitating opinion on the internet to enable Hong Kong to become a country when the time is right," the article said.

Some websites went so far as to suggest the unique design of the Hong Kong flag and passport were all symbols of the city's independence.

"They even said the design of the flag should be based on the British flag, as Hong Kong would join the British Commonwealth as an independent country," the article said.

Political analyst from Lingnan University, Li Pang-kwong, said that Hong Kong's independence was not really an issue for Beijing, but such commentaries were aimed at deterring foreign countries from interfering in Hong Kong affairs.

"Since the June 4 incident, these people have developed a theory that Hong Kong would become a base for foreign powers to intervene [in] Chinese politics," he said.

"They understand clearly that Hong Kong lacks the conditions and support to gain independence. The attack is meant to alert foreign powers that they should not disturb Chinese affairs."

Date Posted: 2/7/2005

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