- 26 February 1998
- Democratic Party Condemns Bill of Rights Amendments
- The Democratic Party and Chairman Martin Lee today condemned the appointed
Provisional Legislative Council's narrowing of protections for individuals
in Hong Kong's Bill of Rights and said the Tung government's changes violated
international standards of human rights. Hong Kong's Bill of Rights --
passed in 1991, in the wake of Tiananmen Square -- puts into domestic law
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), under
which over 80 countries worldwide agree to a minimum standard of behaviour
towards their citizens.
- Last June, Democratic Party legislator Lau Chin-sek and Hong Kong's
then elected legislature extended the Bill of Rights protections to cover
disputes between individuals, a step which was long overdue, consistent
with the ICCPR, and signed into law by then British Governor Chris Patten.
The move yesterday by China's appointed legislators to cut down the Bill
of Rights' protections for individuals is in contravention of the International
Covenant and even China's constitution for Hong Kong, the Basic Law, which
states the ICCPR shall continue to apply to Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Human
Rights Monitor and other groups have threatened to lodge complaints with
the United Nation's Human Rights Committee when the government carried
out these Bill of Rights Amendments.
- Martin Lee commented:
- "This is a clear regression for human rights. We believe it is
essential Hong Kong remain part of the community of modern nations that
has accepted that all citizens have inherent rights that a government cannot
take away or abridge. It is important to remember that what the Bill of
Rights only establishes a baseline -- the minimum level of human rights
that over 80 countries have agreed is absolutely fundamental. The world
should note that China and the Tung government have just moved that baseline."