August 30, 1999

The Democratic Party Meets Mr. Tung

After today's meeting between the Chief Executive Mr. C.H. Tung and the Democratic Party, Mr. Martin Lee, Chairman of the Democratic Party, commented:

"We stressed to Mr. Tung that he is failing in his task of leading Hong Kong forward. He is not leading Hong Kong forward to meet the challenges of the 21st Century, but indeed, seems determined to drag Hong Kong backward into the 19th Century.

"We noted several examples:

"Rather than allowing the people of Hong Kong to rule Hong Kong through democratic elections, which is the fundamental promise of the Joint Declaration, Mr. Tung continues to undermine Hong Kong's democratization by re-instituting the political patronage system of appointments to the district councils, scrapping the elected municipal councils, severely restricting the franchise for the Legislative Council, and refusing to open the Chief Executive's office for democratic election.

"Second, rather than upholding Hong Kong's rule of law and independent court system, Mr. Tung has sought Beijing's intervention to overturn the decision of the Court of Final Appeal on the right of abode and he refuses to insist that Hong Kong criminal cases (like that of the Telford Gardens murders or that of the 'Big Spender') be adjudicated in Hong Kong rather than the Mainland.

"Third, rather than defending our autonomous status and our right to freedom of speech, Mr. Tung's administration has refused to let the Pope visit Hong Kong, undermined the independence of RTHK, and now contemplates muzzling the press through a Tung-appointed 'Press Council'.

"Fourth, rather than working to improve Hong Kong's environmental standards and quality of life, Mr. Tung's administration has ignored the need to clean up our air and water, forces qualified public housing applicants to remain in a waiting queue, and has failed to deal with dangerous slopes and deteriorating old buildings.

"Mr. Tung needs to listen to the people of Hong Kong and understand their wishes for a government and government policies that can meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Trying to reinstitute the autocratic institutions of the 19th Century and failing to consult with or listen to the people of Hong Kong will only move Hong Kong backwards."

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