THE PROGRESSIVE LAWYERS GROUP’S SHORT COMMENTARY REGARDING THE PRESS CONFERENCE ENTITLED “STRONGLY CONDEMNING LINGNAN UNIVERSITY IN HOLDING A FOUL LANGUAGE CONCERT ON CAMPUS” BY THE NEW TERRITORIES CONCERN GROUP ON 27 APRIL 2015
2015 年 4月28日
The Progressive Lawyers Group notes that the New Territories Concern Group convened a press conference yesterday in response to a concert held at the Lingnan University in which a band performed a song allegedly containing foul language. According to press reports, the New Territories Concern Group strongly condemned Lingnan University Students’ Union, and urged the police to arrest the suspects in accordance with Section 17B of the Public Order Ordinance (Cap. 245).
Section 17B of the Public Order Ordinance (Cap. 245), contains two sub-sections. Subsection (1) states: “Any person who at any public gathering acts in a disorderly manner for the purpose of preventing the transaction of the business for which the public gathering was called together or incites others so to act shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine at level 2 and to imprisonment for 12 months.” Subsection (2) stipulates that: “Any person who in any public place behaves in a noisy or disorderly manner, or uses, or distributes or displays any writing containing, threatening, abusive or insulting words, with intent to provoke a breach of the peace, or whereby a breach of the peace is likely to be caused, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine at level 2 and to imprisonment for 12 months.”
Having considered the relevant press reports, we cannot see how the act of performing a song containing foul language by a band in a campus concert could be characterised as an act “in a disorderly manner”. We also cannot see how the persons concerned had allegedly acted “with intent to provoke a breach of the peace”. Therefore, we are of the view that Section 17B of the Public Order Ordinance (Cap. 245) does not apply to this incident.
In addition, we also note that there has been an overwhelming condemnation by a number of groups and individuals against the band in question as well as against Lingnan University Students’ Union which organised the concert. We are deeply concerned by these “Cultural Revolution-style” criticisms. Even if certain songs or written articles contained foul language or “curse words”, it does not necessarily mean that the persons who created, published or performed such songs or articles would thereby have breached Section 17B of the Public Order Ordinance, Cap. 245. We hereby urge all members of the public to respect Hong Kong’s cultural and creative industry, as well as citizens’ academic freedom and freedom of expression as enshrined and protected under the Basic Law.
Progressive Lawyers Group
28 April 2015