10 May 2001

Martin Lee Meets With President Clinton

Martin LEE, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Hong Kong, and Democratic legislator Chung-kai SIN met former U.S. President Bill Clinton earlier today at the Grand Hyatt Hotel to discuss China's accession to the WTO among other topics. Lee is particularly concerned that new roadblocks have been added to China's tortuous road to become a WTO member in the midst of worsening US-China relations.

"During our meeting at the White House a year ago, I told President Clinton that the next time he came to Hong Kong, we should meet to discuss the progress of China's opening up to trade and the rule of law. The recent downhill turn in US-China relations has caused us to be concerned about its impact on China's accession to the WTO, and whether the US Congress is likely to reconsider PNTR (permanent Normal Trade Relations) status for China," said Lee.

The Democrats met previously with President Clinton and Members of Congress to press for PNTR for China. "I said it last year, and I will say it again, that China's entry into the WTO is a crucial first step towards establishing the rule of law in China," said Lee. "My goal for this meeting is to share my thoughts with President Clinton who was instrumental in passing the China trade bill. As of late, the process has been stalled and my party and I are committed to do whatever we can to further progress on this issue."

The Democrat Party argues that PNTR and WTO membership for China would help China transform from the "rule by law" in which the law can often become a tool of repression to the "rule of law."

Media contacts: Andrew Fung (9464-0698); Anna Soellner (6070-4963)



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