17 June 1997

The Democratic Party Announces Handover Plans

At a press conference today, Democratic Party Vice Chairman Dr. Yeung Sum and legislator Lee Wing Tat detailed the strategy of the Democratic Party and their allies for the date of Hong Kong's transfer of sovereignty to China, June 30, 1997. Handover activities will include attending the official Sino-British ceremony, staging a rally and speeches to be made from the balcony of the Legislative Council building.

The two main themes of the rally planned for June 30 and for other handover activities will be to support the resumption of China's sovereignty over Hong Kong, but to voice the determination of Hong Kong people to keep their democratic institutions, rule of law and freedom, as promised in the Joint Declaration.

To express the Democratic Party's support for the transfer of sovereignty, party Chairman Martin Lee will lead a delegation of eight party legislators to the official Sino-British handover ceremony at the Convention Centre. Martin Lee was one of the 101 Hong Kong citizens present for the signing of the Joint Declaration in Beijing in 1984 and many of the party's core members and present-day legislators were among the first to welcome the Joint Declaration and call for the cessation of colonial rule.

From 10:00pm to 1:00am on June 30, the Party will stage a rally at the Legislative Council building, mobilising all ten party district offices. Following the official ceremony, the Democratic Party's 19 legislators will join together with the other pro-democracy legislators whose legislative seats are being taken (in some cases by those they defeated) to give speeches from the main balcony of the Legislative Council. The pro-democracy legislators will stage a peaceful and dignified protest at the unconstitutional usurping of the seats they were elected into in September 1995 by over a million Hong Kong people.

At 1:00am, one hour after the official handover ceremony -- and just before the swearing-in to office of the China-appointed Provisional Legislature -- Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee will give a speech on the future of freedom and democracy in Hong Kong, detailing the party's determination to stay in Hong Kong, to be the voice of the Hong Kong people in or out of office and to fight to get democracy back.

A more detailed schedule for the Democratic Party's handover plans will follow next week.

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