14 April 1997

Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee and Legislator Andrew Cheng Meet Secretary of State Madeline Albright: US Pledge to Support Hong Kong People

Democratic Party leader Martin Lee and legislator Andrew Cheng today met with the new US Secretary of State Madeline Albright.  The meeting in the Secretary's office was also attended by Assistant Secretary of State Peter Tarnoff and State Department Nick Burns.  The Democrats described the meetings as warm and productive and aid the Secretary clearly followed developments in Hong Kong very closely.

In the meeting. the Democrats strongly urged the Secretary of State to come to Hong Kong and attend the transfer of sovereignty on June 30, adding that a visit at such a critical time would signal strong support for the Joint Declaration and Hong Kong people.

The meeting with the State Department's top officials follows a week of high level meetings in DC, including meeting with Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich and numerous other legislators.  In all of these meetings, as in Senate testimony and speeches, Martin Lee has detailed the recent threats to civil liberties, democratic institutions and the rule of law.  But the legislators have strongly reiterated the Democrats support for unconditional renewal of MFN for China this year.  On April 9, Martin Lee received the National Endowment for Democracy’s top honour, the 1997 Democracy Award at a ceremony attended by over 200 legislators, officials and friends of Hong Kong in Washington.

Commenting on his meeting with the Secretary of State, Martin Lee said:

"Our goal was to impress upon the Secretary of State the importance to the US and the world community that Hong Kong remain the free and prosperous society it is today.  I told the Secretary that political and economic freedoms could not be separated and that any attempt to do so would not lead to a smooth transition, but that if Hong Kong could preserve our freedoms and rule of law, Hong Kong would be an important example for China as it works to join the world community.  I said that it was important to engage with China and to continue trading with China, but that it was also vital that Hong Kong people retain our freedoms, rule of law and way of life."

During the 40-minute long meeting, Secretary of State Albright reiterated her strong support for Hong Kong people, their democratic institutions and freedoms.  Martin Lee commented after the meeting that "Secretary of State Albright was extraordinary well-informed and clearly very sympathetic to the interests of Hong Kong people."

On Thursday, April 17, Martin Lee and Andrew Cheng will meet top Canadian officials in Ottawa.  Meeting have been confirmed for Friday, April 18 with US President Bill Clinton, US Vice President Al Gore and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger.  Exact timing and press arrangements will be confirmed later. 


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