28 May 1997

Martin Lee Meets UK Prime Minister Tony Blair; Foreign Minister Robin Cook to Urge Support for Hong Kong's Freedom

Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee met today with new British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Mr. Lee and legislator James To earlier saw Foreign Minister Robin Cook and Home Secretary Jack Straw to raise a number of key domestic Hong Kong issues, including urging the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees, the acceptance of all BNO passport applications and the early processing of passport requests for ethnic minorities.

At 4:30pm Martin Lee met the new British Prime Minister to discuss the latest developments in Hong Kong and what the new British government's Hong Kong policy should be. Commenting after his audience at Number 10 Downing Street Martin Lee stated:

"I strongly urged Prime Minister Blair to attend the handover ceremony on 30 June in Hong Kong to show concern for the future of Hong Kong's 6 million people.

I said to Mr. Blair that I have come to the UK with an urgent message about the future of Hong Kong: that it will not be possible to protect freedoms and the rule of law without an elected legislature. Civil liberties laws are already being changed and Hong Kong people face a future without an elected legislature, an effective Bill of Rights, or any institutionalised safeguards for our freedoms and human rights. I explained that Britain as a signatory to the Joint Declaration has a special responsibility to Hong Kong people and the world to ensure the treaty's full implementation.

The previous British government steadfastly refused to call a spade a spade and to discourage China from eradicating elected institutions in Hong Kong and setting up the appointed legislature which is currently operating in China. I asked Prime Minister Blair to take a firm stand that China was not adhering to the terms of the international treaty and that this was not acceptable.

Finally, I expressed the hope that Prime Minister Blair would discuss Hong Kong in his meeting tomorrow with President Clinton and that the democratic countries of the world that so strongly supported the Joint Declaration when it was signed in 1984 would actively seek to ensure its enforcement now."

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