17 April 1997

Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee and Legislator Andrew Cheng Meet Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien in Ottawa

Democrats Martin Lee and Andrew Cheng today met with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien at his office on Parliament Hill.

In the 45 minute meeting, Martin Lee thanked the Prime Minister for granting visa-free access and for Canada's long-time support for Hong Kong. He explained that recent developments in Hong Kong, including the establishment of an appointed legislature and the repeal of key provisions of the Bill of Rights were worrying signs for the future of the rule of law. Prime Minister Chretien (who was instrumental in the enactment of Canada's own Charter of Rights) understood the implications of these actions by China and pledged to raise these matters with his Chinese counterparts.

The Canadian Prime Minister said he raised Hong Kong in all of his discussions with Chinese leaders and indicated the future of Hong Kong was both a personal and a governmental priority. Martin Lee invited the Prime Minister to come to Hong Kong when he next has the opportunity. Later in the day, Martin Lee was recognised by the Speaker in the House of Commons and was given a spontaneous standing ovation by the Members of Parliament.

White House Meetings

The confirmed time for the meeting with US President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger is (US time) Friday, April 18 at 11:30am. There will be a press conference following the meeting in front of the White House. Any journalist wishing to cover the press conference must be cleared into the White House (for security reasons) by the Foreign Press Centre (contact Capie Polk at 202-724-1640). Questions can be directed to Minky Worden at the J.W. Marriott (202-393-2000).

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