International Action Center
39 West 14th St., #206, New York, NY 10011
Tel: 212-633-6646 Fax: 212-633-2889
e-mail: Iacenter@iacenter.org Web Page: http://iacenter.org/
For immediate Release: June 30, 1997
Press contact: Sara Flounders
The International Action Center joins with all progressive people and with many millions of Chinese people in China, in Hong Kong and in Chinese communities world wide who today are celebrating the end of British colonial rule in Asia.
As an organization in the United States opposed to U.S. militarism and intervention the International Action Center condemns the role of the U.S. government that in Presidential declarations and resolutions in the U.S. Congress are placing demands on China that were never placed on Britain during its 155 years of absolute dictatorship and undemocratic rule of this colony.
Eight thousand members of the corporate media will be in Hong Kong to cover the transfer. They are unanimous in presenting the end of colonialism as the end of democracy and freedom for the 6 million people of Hong Kong. However, never in over 155 of colonial appointed rule has there been a democratic election in Hong Kong. One year ago a carefully staged procedure allowed for just one third of the legislature to be decided by direct vote. The rest of the legislature was decided. as always, by appointments from financial institutions and corporations. The overwhelming majority of the population did not vote.
The rule of this colony has been not only undemocratic, but also thoroughly racist. Although the population of Hong Kong is over 98% Chinese, the governor appointed by the British crown has never been a Chinese person. The Governor has always been a white British aristocrat. The judiciary is also a not elected by the population. It is appointed. In addition, Hong Kong has some of the most draconian laws of press censorship.
The U.S. media always refers to the prosperity of Hong Kong. What the media fails to mention is that this is prosperity for a small elite. Hong Kong has proportionately the largest number of millionaires in the world. It also has the greatest gap between rich and poor in all of Asia. Taxes on the wealthy are the lowest in the world.
Hong Kong has no Social Security system, no Medicare or Medicaid type health care. There is no welfare or unemployment insurance. Poor workers literally work until they die. Hong Kong also lacks the most basic laws protecting health and safety in working conditions, in sanitation, in housing or in the environment.
Two issues in this historic transfer should be clear to all progressive people. The British stole this port from China in order to enforce opium sales on China in 1842. It is past time that they gave it back. The U.S. government who has never even considered human rights for the vast majority of the people in Hong Kong has no right to intervene now.