12 January 1997

Democratic Party Lauds China for Opening on Rights Pacts; Encourages Swift Adoption as Positive Sign for the Future

Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee today responded to Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen's announcement to French President Jacques Chirac that Beijing was considering adopting two United Nations pacts on human rights.

Mr. Lee commented China's willingness to discuss the pacts and added he hoped Chinese leaders would accede to the international covenants before the transfer of sovereignty:

"Were China to adopt the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, this would send a positive signal to the world community about the continuance of basic rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.  It would guarantee that the reporting obligations to the UN Human Rights Committee under the ICCPR could be continued.

Though the agreement to do so is recorded in the Joint Declaration and Basic Law, China has thus far not agreed to fulfil the obligation.  We urge China to move expeditiously to join the treaties, which would be construed as an important step forward for human rights both in Hong Kong and in China."


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