December 21, 1998

Democratic Press Constitutional Affairs Secretary for More Democracy; Criticize Hong Kong Government for "Going Backward"

In a meeting with Constitutional Affairs Secretary Michael Suen to discuss future elections in Hong Kong, Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee and legislators Lau Chin-shek and James To, criticized the Tung Administration for reversing Hong Kong's democratic trend. During the meeting, which lasted over one hour, Chairman Lee and his colleagues compared Hong Kong's progress unfavorably with other democratic advances in the region including Taiwan, which recently held elections for legislative and municipal government posts. The Democrats criticized the Hong Kong government's plans to abolish Hong Kong's Municipal Councils and to increase the number of appointed members on the District Councils. The municipal councils are the only entirely elected bodies in Hong Kong and the District Councils were entirely elected until 1997 when large numbers of appointed members were added.

Martin Lee commented:

"The government is leading Hong Kong backwards on democracy. When the worldwide and regional trend is toward greater democracy, it is absolutely unacceptable for Hong Kong to be going in the wrong direction."

During the meeting, Mr. Lee also expressed the Democratic Party's reservations about allowing election advertisements during the electoral period and increased spending limits as designed to help wealthier parties.

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