10 June 1997
The Democratic Party Holds Fourth Meeting with
Chief Executive Designate Tung; Calls for Genuine Elections, Democratic
Amendments to the Basic Law
Today four Democratic Party legislators led by Chairman Martin Lee met
Chief Executive Designate Tung to insist that Hong Kong's future elections
be free and fair and that the Basic Law be amended to permit more democracy.
Martin Lee, Vice-chairmen Yeung Sum and Anthony Cheung and Lee Wing-tat
proposed that Mr. Tung set up a task force to study amending the Basic
Law (under which still only half of the legislature will be elected by
2003) so as to quicken the pace of democratisation in Hong Kong -- a recommendation
Mr. Tung immediately rejected. The legislators also proposed that the Party's
regular meetings with Mr. Tung continue and that spokesmen on a variety
of livelihood issues should continue to have access to top civil servants
to press issues of concern to Hong Kong citizens. Mr. Tung responded positively
to this recommendation and the continuation of dialogue was welcomed by
The legislators discussed with Mr. Tung the two proposals advocated
by pro-Beijing parties for electoral changes to the 20 directly elected
seats, including proportional representation (which will dilute the strength
of the largest party) and the so-called "single-vote, multi-seat"
method (which forces democrats to stand against each other). They strongly
urged Mr. Tung to retain the existing elected legislature and the "single
vote, single seat" system on the basis that there is no legitimate
reason to change and that the two alternate proposals are clearly intended
to reduce the number of democrats, who have consistently won the largest
number of seats in every election in Hong Kong. Furthermore, the business
sector already dominates the 30 functional constituencies which have substantially
Mr. Tung asserted that the current electoral system and legislature
had already been nullified by China and that the Preparatory Committee
had already determined the electoral method for the 20 seats would either
be by proportional representation or the "single vote, multi-seat"
Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee commented:
"This seems to be a case of starting with the desired result --
reducing the number of democrats -- and working backwards to an electoral
system which will produce this result.
The first option in any genuine consultation should be asking whether
Hong Kong people want to keep the existing electoral system. There is no
evidence whatsoever that Hong Kong people want to replace our elected legislature
with an appointed one, or change to a system which would reduce their electoral
options. Offering Hong Kong a 'choice' between two electoral methods, both
of which would curtail their franchise, is analogous to a triad member
coming to your home and threatening to cut off one of your hands -- but
you get to choose which one.
Whenever Hong Kong people have had an opportunity to vote, they have
overwhelmingly supported those who would fight for democracy, human rights
and the rule of law. But no matter how the electoral playing field is tilted,
the Democratic Party intends to contest the 1998 elections, and we have
faith Hong Kong people will find a way to express their support."