Hong Kong activist urges police caution on Olympic Tibet protests

Other News Materials 6 April 2008 13:16 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - A prominent pro-democracy campaigner in Hong Kong Sunday urged the territory's leader not to crack down on anti-China protests when the Olympic torch reaches the city May 2.

Emily Lau expressed concern in a radio broadcast that police might overreact to the protests which are likely to be the liveliest on Chinese soil because of Hong Kong's guaranteed freedom of speech.

Lau said she believed that Hong Kong's Beijing-appointed chief executive Donald Tsang and his advisors "must be working overtime to ensure a smooth performance (during the torch relay) that will be acceptable to Beijing."

Speaking on government-run RTHK radio, she said, "In spite of his anxiety, I hope Mr Tsang will not put pressure on the police to crack down on the demonstrators.

"I urge the police not to overreact by trampling on the people's right to protest, as that will undermine Hong Kong's reputation as Asia's World City."

Hong Kong is expected to see widespread protests over Tibet because the city, a former British colony, is the only place in China apart from Macau where people are free to hold anti-Beijing protests.

The city reverted to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" arrangement guaranteeing political freedoms and the right to protest until at least 50 years after the handover.