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.