South China Morning Post  2003-03-22

As troops advance, peace activists have not surrendered their cause   

       Voices against the war were increasingly being heard in Hong Kong and Beijing yesterday, with people from all walks of life showing their concern.

As the fighting in Iraq escalated, anti-war activists and students in Hong Kong were busy organising campaigns against the US military action.  

More than 20 Greenpeace volunteers dressed themselves in body bags and lay, their faces smeared with fake blood, outside the US consulate yesterday morning.

 Greenpeace spokesman Lo Sze-ping said they wanted to highlight the reality of war through the so-called die-in protest.  

The real impact of this war is not disarming Iraq or overthrowing Saddam Hussein, as was suggested by the US. The real harm is that it will kill many innocent civilians. War is not the solution. It is part of the problem. The United Nations should call an urgent meeting to stop this because it is unlawful, he said.  

Oxfam Hong Kong is seeking to arouse similar public concern. The group is asking people to display green squares outside their homes and in the streets as a message of peace.  

Chong Chan-yau, executive director of Oxfam Hong Kong, in appealing for donations, said: We refuse money directly from belligerent governments for our humanitarian work in the region. We therefore depend on the public to support us.

 Meanwhile, pressure group Education Convergence held a war and peace symposium at the City University yesterday.  

Ho Hon-kuen, vice-president of the group, said students needed a more serious discussion about war and peace. A group of students from the Baptist University held a candlelight vigil at the university.  

We want to arouse university students' civic responsibility. This war is unfair, aggressive and wrong, the spokeswoman said.  

The Hong Kong No War Coalition, which held a signature campaign in Central yesterday, will hold a rally on Sunday at Edinburgh Place in Central.

 Coalition spokesman Fung Chi-wood, who has been on a 48-hour hunger strike since war broke out, said such campaigns would continue until the war was stopped.

 In Beijing, about 65 expatriates staged an anti-war protest in a park yesterday morning, until police told them to disperse.  

Citizens of nations taking part in the war, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain and Australia, unfurled Chinese-language banners at an entrance to Ritan Park for five minutes, enough time for foreign and Chinese media to film them.

 The banners said: Foreign Residents of Beijing Oppose War and Not in Our Name.  

The protesters mobilised the protest through the Internet.

 They said they wanted Chinese people to know they did not back the war, despite military action by their governments.  

My view is that Chinese people should be very scared that the biggest military power on earth can do whatever it wants regardless of international opinion, said Nick Young, a British protester.  

Police maintained vigilance when the protest started at 7.40am, the demonstrators said. Officers first asked the group to move away from the street and into the park, they said. However, after the protesters appeared to cause a disturbance and hung banners at one of the park's gates, police dispersed them.

 Protesters said the police gave them contact information on how to apply for permission to hold another demonstration. They said no one was arrested.

 To help humanitarian work in Iraq, donations can be made to Oxfam Hong Kong (2520 2525) and World Vision Hong Kong (2394 2394).