Sunday, July 31, 2005

China and the US....flag amendment?

This essay at Common Dreams discussed the upcoming effort on the part of right-wingers in the US to implement a US flag-burning amendment, but there was an interesting little blurb at the beginning:

Long time readers of this column will recall that this subject was last visited in 1999. Ng Kung Siu and Lee Kin Yun had been convicted by the Magistrate of Hong Kong of violating the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance and the Regional Flag and Regional Emblem Ordinance. Those ordinances criminalize desecration of the national and regional flags and the question presented to the court was whether that criminalization was inconsistent with the guarantee of the freedom of expression that Chinese citizens, like U.S. citizens, enjoy. The magistrate found it was not and imposed a deferred sentence. Hong Kong's court of appeals, following the lead of the United States Supreme Court that had ruled in 1989 that defacing the flag was protected as a form of free expression, reversed the conviction. In a 21-page opinion, however, the Court of Final Appeal reversed the lower court saying that Hong Kong "is at the early stage of the new order following resumption of the exercise of sovereignty by the People's Republic of China. The implementation of the principle of 'one country, two systems' is a matter of fundamental importance, as is the reinforcement of national unity and territorial integrity. Protection of the national flag and the regional flag from desecration. . . will play an important part in the attainment of these goals. In these circumstances, there are strong grounds for concluding that the criminalization of flag desecration is a justifiable restriction on the guaranteed right to the freedom of expression."
America, and American values, clearly have a profound effect on the world. The grevious harm done by the Bush Administration and its authoritarian lackeys to our global moral authority reverberates in ways that we know not.

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