June 30, 1999
Hong Kong Government Betrays Promise of "One Country,
Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of Hong Kong's
return to Chinese sovereignty. But the performance of the Hong Kong
Government gives cause for alarm rather than celebration. Today, the
Democratic Party highlighted more than fifteen events over the past
two years which demonstrate that the Hong Kong Government is committed
to serving Beijing rather than the interests of its own people. National
People's Congress member Qiao Xiaoyang recently remarked that "one country"
is more important than "two systems." Secretary for Justice, Elsie Leung,
and other Government officials have been quick to parrot his ominous
Mr. Martin Lee commented:
"Two years have passed since the hand-over and what do we see? The honeymoon
is over. We were promised 'one country, two systems.' But rather than
defending our system, Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa and Secretary for
Justice Elsie Leung collaborate with Beijing to destroy it. They insist
that we learn to respect Chinese law and the Chinese way of doing things.
But the Basic Law guarantees that our common law will be maintained and
that our judiciary will remain independent.
Think of the government as a soccer team. The Secretary of Justice
should be our goal keeper - the last defender. But instead of protecting
the goal, she drives the ball into our own net. This is odd and disturbing.
She betrays our team. How can we trust leaders who conspire to destroy
the rule of law, which cannot survive when the Government refuses
to protect, obey and enforce it.
A lawyer can no longer be certain what the law is or how to advise
clients if Beijing is free to reinterpret it at their own discretion.
However, I still have confidence in the quality of our judges and
hope that they will continue to adjudicate according to legal principles
and the merits of a case rather than political instructions from Beijing."
Democratic Party Vice Chairman, Dr. Yeung Sum, also
criticized the government for slowing the pace of democratic development.
Earlier this month, Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Michael Suen
Ming-yeung, said that political parties needed a decade to mature and
that it would be at least ten years before the Government would permit
all 60 members of the Legislative Council to be chosen by direct elections.
Dr. Yeung Sum commented:
"The government has no reason to drag its heels. They argue that
we are not ready for full democracy. But how can we be less prepared
than Taiwan or Indonesia? These arguments are ridiculous. We demand
that the Government allow all 60 members of the Legislative Council
to be chosen by direct elections by the year 2000."