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687 為民主選舉付上代價

Paying a price for democratic election

香港47人案審訊至第86天, 由何桂藍出庭。何桂藍這位90後年青人就讀清華大學, 畢業後投身傳媒, 曾在英國廣播公司工作, 卻選擇要把香港動盪真相向世界公佈, 最後因參與民主派初選而身陷囹圄。她在已停刊的《立場新聞》擔任記者, 被稱為「立場姐姐」, 因在反送中運動直播採訪中的獨特風格及於直播元朗襲擊事件時被襲擊而聞名。

何桂藍在2020年7月參加了民主派舉辦的初選,在新界東以26,802票得票第一成功出線。其後被選舉事務處因涉及其曾簽署反對港版國安法的聲明、爭取外國制裁、否決財政預算案等範疇,剝奪了參選資格, 更在2021年1月6日把她拘捕, 涉嫌違反了國安法中「顛覆國家政權罪」及進行起訴, 並還柙候審直至今天。

審訊在今年二月開始進行, 到了7月19日由何桂藍作供。法庭沒有陪審員, 只有專門審訊違反國安法案件的法官, 不過法庭卻變成這位年青人向全世界展述她看公義、民主、法治、國民應該享有權利及政府該如何受到約束的想法。從每一天法庭對審訊的報導, 我見到這位年青人, 在經過兩年多深思後說出, 她心目中的理想民主法治社會內各人的責任。

今天看來, 原來在澳洲社會內, 合情合理合法及每一個澳洲公民都具備資格參與的政府議員選舉,在全世界不同地方, 卻並不一定是理所當然的事。我一直相信每一個人都應該有權參與社會事務, 在精英管治下的香港長大的我更相信, 可以通過與政府對話, 來與政府一起建設社會。不過, 何桂藍的經歷提醒了我, 真的有人願意付上一生自由的代價, 去追求民主自治, 建設自己所愛的國家。

我想起以前, 每年端午節, 我們會記念歷史中為愛國家卻得不到國君重用而投江的屈原。或許時代已經改變, 身處澳洲我們可以有更文明的方法, 參與建設這一個國家。在澳洲, 參與議員選舉, 並不需要如何桂藍一般付上自由的代價。為甚麼我們仍停步不前, 不去珍惜這一個機會呢?

周偉文, 社長

Paying a price for democratic election

The ‘Hong Kong 47’ case has been on court for 86 days. Gwyneth Ho from Tsinghua University had worked in the media industry including with the BBC was arrested as an activist voicing out on the social unrest in Hong Kong. She was named ‘Stand News Sister’ while working as a reporter there as she became popular for her live broadcast in the ‘Anti-Extradition movement’ and her being attacked in the ‘Yuen Long incident’.

She enrolled in the 2020 Hong Kong pro-democracy primaries and came first in the East-NT electorate with 26,802 votes. But she was disqualified by the Election Office on the grounds that she signed a declaration to oppose the national security law, appealed for foreign sanction, turned down the annual budget etc. and was subsequently arrested and prosecuted for inciting subversion of state power under the national security law.

Her trial was held by judge specialised in the national security law commenced on 19th July in the absence of jurors. Her court testimony however fully displayed to the world how young people like her born in the 90’s see people’s right and government’s obligation under righteousness, democracy and legal system. The court reports everyday tell her well thought model of democratic and legal society and responsibilities within.

Now we know we can’t take for granted all the democratic election right that sounds so rational and lawful here in Australia. I truly believe everyone must play a part in the society and as grown up in ‘meritocracy’ of Hong Kong I know we can build our own government through dialogue. But Gwyneth’s experience really shows me her willingness to scarify a lifetime freedom in exchange for democracy and a better future of her beloved country.

I recall in every past dragon boat festival we remember Qu Yuan who suicided as he could not fulfil his vision of his country. In this very different era, we can choose more civilised means to build our nation here in Australia. We can freely join elections without paying the price as Gwyneth does. So what we are waiting for in taking the opportunity?

Mr. Raymond Chow, Publisher