April 28, 1999
Democrats Walk Out of Legislative Session Over Government Plan to
Abolish Local Government Bodies
The Democratic Party's Legislative Council delegation walked out of
the Legco Wednesday session over the Hong Kong government introduction
of legislation to abolish municipal councils -- elected bodies responsible
for a variety of local issues including sanitation, public health, arts
and recreation. The Democrats' protest came as Constitutional Affairs Secretary
Michael Suen stood to present the government's case for the legislation,
called the Provision of Municipal Services (Reorganization) Bill. The government
is proceeding despite widespread public opposition to the bill, and to
the government's recent move to add appointed seats to the district boards,
the most local of Hong Kong's government bodies.
Vice Chairman Yeung Sum and Legislative Councillor Fred Li led the walkout.
Afterward, Fred Li commented:
The government's plans to abolish the elected municipal councils
and restore their functions to the bureaucracy is a huge blow to democratic
development and government accountability. Mr. Tung is substituting his
judgment and those of a few government appointees for the mandate of the
We will fight this effort actively throughout the legislative process
and keep fighting to keep Hong Kong democracy on track, and Hong Kong government
open to the people.
Yeung Sum commented:
The Hong Kong government doesn't really believe this will improve
the delivery of services to the people -- it is simply dedicated to the
abolition of democratic institutions.