April 13, 1999

Democratic Party Chairman Travels to U.N. Human Rights Commission; Lee, To, Meet UN and Other Officials

Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee will arrive in Geneva, Switzerland today to brief officials attending the annual meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights on recent threats to democracy and the rule of law in Hong Kong. Mr. Lee is accompanied by Democratic Party Legislative Councillor James To.

While in Geneva, the Democrats will meet with U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and other dignitaries to discuss matters including Beijing's attempt to intimidate Hong Kong's high court and the Hong Kong SAR government's assault on democracy in local government bodies. Both developments violate the guarantees China gave for the integrity of Hong Kong's judicial system and rule of law, and gradual progress toward full democracy.

Mr. Lee commented:

"I am going to Geneva to tell the world about a marked and potentially irrevocable deterioration in the rule of law and democracy in Hong Kong. These developments have serious implications not just for Hng Kong, but for all of China.

When China promised that it would respect Hong Kong's autonomy, including its judicial independence, and allow gradual progress toward full democracy, the international community promised to monitor and defend these guarantees. I hope that Hong Kong's people can count on the international community to do just that. The fight for democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Hong Kong is our fight, but we need the support of the world to win."

In addition to meeting High Commissioner Robinson, Mr. Lee and Mr. To will give a briefing on Hong Kong, and hold meetings with country delegations and human rights activists.

Details: The meeting with High Commissioner Robinson, takes place April 14, at 9:30 a.m., in the Palais des Nations. The briefing will be held April 14 at 1 p.m. Venue information available from Law Yuk-kai or Nancy Li, 41 22 909 3909, Ext. 722.

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