19 April 2018
More than 100,000 protesters are expected to join the July 1 march, the Civil Human Rights Front said in a press conference. Photo: RTHK
More than 100,000 protesters are expected to join the July 1 march, the Civil Human Rights Front said in a press conference. Photo: RTHK

Three HK political dissidents to lead July 1 march

Three Hong Kong dissidents who had been imprisoned in the mainland for fighting for democracy and human rights will lead this year’s July 1 march, the Civil Human Rights Front, organizer of the annual event, said.

They are Lam Wing-kee, one of the five booksellers who went missing last year and detained in the mainland for eight months before he was released and returned to Hong Kong on June 14; Ching Cheong, a senior journalist and political commentator who was imprisoned from April 2005 to February 2008 in the mainland on charges of spying for Taiwan; and Liu Shanqing, who was imprisoned in Guangdong province for 10 years for “counter-revolutionary offenses”.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Civil Human Rights Front convener Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit said the three were chosen to lead the march, which marks Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese rule in 1997, because they have shown great courage in standing up for their principles and made solid contributions to democracy, freedom and human rights for many years, reported.

Civil Human Rights Front said it has received a “no objection letter” from the police for the march, which will start at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay around 3 p.m. Friday and end at a bus stop on Harcourt Road in Admiralty, as in the past few years, RTHK reported.

Sham said the application filed to the police projects a turnout of 100,000 but he expects more to join the march.

There are no plans to call on protesters to remain at the destination after the march ends as scheduled, he said.

Despite Lam’s revelations about his eight-month detention in the mainland, the theme for this year’s march will not be about the booksellers, Sham said.

Instead, the marchers will focus on “Combat 689″, the campaign to force Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down, he said, adding that there will be no justice as long as the city’s leader is not elected through genuine universal suffrage and chosen by a small number of Beijing-appointed individuals.

The figure 689 refers to Leung’s victory in the 2012 chief executive election, in which he garnered only 689 votes from the 1,200-member election committee.

The marchers will also push for the adoption of the Universal Retirement Protection scheme and the suspension of several ongoing major construction projects, said.

Asked if the organizer will downsize the march as a way of condoling with the families of the two firefighters who died in the Kowloon Bay blaze last week, Sham said the march is aimed at voicing out the people’s complaints against the government.

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