19 January 1997

The Democratic Party Responds to Preparatory Committee Proposals to Emasculate the Bill of Rights, to Real Kew Laws and to Reinstate a number of Draconian Colonial Laws

The Democratic Party, the largest party in the Legislative Council, today responded to the Preparatory Committee's Legal Sub-group proposals to emasculate the Bill of Rights, to repeal the Personal Data Privacy Ordinance and current Electoral laws, and to reinstate Draconian colonial provisions to Hong Kong's statute books, such as the Societies Ordinance and the Public Order Ordinance. 

Party Chairman Martin Lee said that the Preparatory Committee proposals "if adopted, will do away with most of the existing legal protections for human rights and individual liberties in Hong Kong."  Party Legal Spokesman James To added, "These proposals are a great blow to freedom after 1997.  It is a black day for human rights in Hong Kong."

Martin Lee commented:

"These recommendations are thoroughly bad.  They will do grave damage to the already fragile public and international confidence in the handover.  Our laws must not take away rights form the people of Hong Kong – but rather must protect individual rights and freedoms as the Bill of Rights does today.

Under BL Article 160, the only justification for repealing a law is that it contravenes Basic Law.  This is not a matter of personal preference – Beijing cannot strike out a Hong Kong law simply because Chinese leaders do not like it: they must demonstrate that a law contravenes the Basic Law. 

We call on Chief Executive designate C.H. Tung to reject Preparatory Committee's proposals.  Hong Kong people now expect him to defend our system against such recommendations.  We also urge Chinese leaders to quickly repudiate these proposals which can only further erode confidence in Hong Kong’s future under Chinese rule."


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