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Freedom of Association in Hong Kong, Great Britain and The United States - Essay Example

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From the study it becomes clear that there is not truly freedom of association in Hong Kong. A number of elements in the ordinance stand out. The Societies Officer appears to have a great degree of power in deciding who gets registered as a society and who does not. …
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Freedom of Association in Hong Kong, Great Britain and The United States
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Download file to see previous pages The paper tells that in Hong Kong, the principle piece of legislation which details the country's position on Freedom of Association is the Societies Ordinance. This ordinance is concerned with the registration of societies, and the rights of societies, so it implicates Hong Kong's Freedom of Association. In order to fully understand the impact of this piece of legislation, it has to be broken down in pieces and analyzed in this manner. First of all, Section 5 of this law states that societies within Hong Kong must register with the Societies Officer within 1 month of the formation of that particular society. The application form for registering must include the name of the society, along with the society's purpose. That said, societies may be exempt from the registration requirement if they are to be established for the benefit of a religion, a charity, or social and recreational purpose. The Societies Officer may refuse to register a society if the Office believes that refusing to register the society is in the interest of the people or the government, in that the society somehow implicates national security, public safety, public order, or the rights and freedoms of others. Furthermore, the Societies Officer may refuse to register a society which has connections with the government of Taiwan, or has a connection with a political organization in Taiwan. The Societies Officer may also cancel the registration of a society, or the exemption from registration for a society, for the same reasons why The Societies Officer may deny an initial application. ...
l its case to the Chief Executive in Council.8 If the society appeals, then the society may function during the period of time that the Chief Executive in Council is considering the appeal.9 If the Societies Officer cancels a registration, the society has a right to appeal this as well.10 What the effect is of not being able to register with the Societies Officer, or having a registration cancelled, is draconian – that society would have to cease operations, and if they do not, the officers of the society are subject to fine or imprisonment.11 Moreover, “triad,” or criminal, societies are automatically deemed to be unlawful.12 Discussion Hong Kong In looking at this portion of the Societies Ordinance, it becomes clear that there is not truly freedom of association in Hong Kong. A number of elements in the ordinance stand out. First, the Societies Officer appears to have a great degree of power in deciding who gets registered as a society and who does not. The Societies Officer must only decide that national security, public safety, public order, or the rights and freedoms of others is implicated by the formation of a particular society, and this is deemed as a reason to deny that society the benefits of registration.13 These exceptions are vague and overly broad, and seems like a great number of legitimate societies could somehow fit into one of the categories above. For instance, if a society is deemed to infringe on the rights and freedoms of others, what does that mean? What rights? What freedoms? Also, how does the Societies Officer determine if public order or public safety are implicated? National security may seem obvious, in that if a society is formed which is in opposition to national security goals, then this society may not be registered, but even ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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