11 October 2000

The Democratic Party Reacts to the Fourth Policy Address:
Disappointment for a Community Who Yearns for Democracy
Disappointment for the Underprivileged

Martin Lee, Chairman of the Democratic Party and a legislator, expressed his disappointment in the fourth policy address by Chief Executive Mr. Tung Chee-hwa in a press conference and characterized the policy speech as a disappointment for a community who yearns for democracy and a disappointment for the underprivileged in particular.

"Mr. Tung has basically told us that the realization of genuine full-fledged democracy in Hong Kong is not to be expected during his tenure as Chief Executive."

"While we welcome the Chief Executive's acknowledgement of the need to enhance the accountability of the senior echelon of the executive authorities and to work to establish an effective and constructive executive-legislature relationship, this does not come close to addressing the community's yearn for democracy. As a matter of fact, throughout his entire policy address, he did not once mention democracy, except when he recounted his manifesto of his vision for Hong Kong when he stood for the so-called election for Chief Executiveship. Then, four years ago, he was willing to talk about a blueprint for Hong Kong which included democracy. Now, four years later, he merely pays lip service to a gradual and orderly progress in Hong Kong's constitutional development. He talks about a gestational period for changes but gives no timetable whatsoever for an open and comprehensive review of Hong Kong's political setup."

"Mr. Tung talks, again, about improving executive-legislature relationship. What he really meant is he wants more legislative support for the executive branch. But any talk about improving relationship between the two branches can only be empty words if he is not willing to share power with the legislature by committing to utilize his discretionary power in giving consent to private members' initiatives in the legislature."

"On the social front, the Chief Executive makes combating poverty a top priority. But his refusal to designate an official poverty line is cause for concern as to how seriously the government takes this issue. Without the designation of a poverty line, the government would not be able to clearly identify the sectors of the community at which the initiatives to combat poverty should be directed. Moreover, we will be lacking a yardstick with which we can evaluate whether the government initiatives are effective in combating poverty as claimed."

"The Democratic Party finds many policy goals set forth in the policy address agreeable. What we are not so sure of is whether the government's proposals can actually lead to the fulfillment of these goals." Mr. Lee concluded.

Media Contacts:
Winnie Kwok (9216 3454; Anna Soellner (2529 0864)



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