31 January 1997

Democratic Party Chairman and Legislator Sin Chung Kai 

Meet Top European Officials and Over 200 Parliamentarians in Europe

During the first week of their 9-city European speaking tour, Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee and legislator Sin Chung Kai held meetings with over 200 parliamentarians at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and the European Parliament in Brussels.

The Democratic Party legislators met the top leaders of the Council of Europe, including the Secretary General Daniel Tarschys and the President of the Assembly, Leni Fischer.  The Council of Europe set up in 1949 to defend human rights, the rule of law and democracy – has 281 members from 40 countries, including Russia.  All members are themselves elected legislators from their home parliaments.

In Brussels today, Martin Lee and Sin Chung Kai met top European Commission officials, including Sir Leon Brittan, the Vice-President of Commission, the Secretary General of the Parliament and the President of the Foreign affairs Committee, Tom Spencer.  They addressed separate meetings of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee and large groups of members of European Parliamentarians from all major political parties.  They also separately addressed the Belgium Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, which will send a delegation to Hong Kong in March.

Sir Leon Brittan assured Martin Lee that: "the future of Hong Kong is not just a British interest, but a European one", adding that "China should appreciate that we have a very strong interest in maintaining Hong Kong as a free system.  We will be doing everything we can to help Hong Kong maintain its distinct society."

Martin Lee commented:

"I was pleased and surprised at the level of knowledge and concern about Hong Kong in the Council of Europe and the European Parliament.  The  Parliamentarians were all aware of the latest developments in Hong Kong, including China's appointment of the Provisional Legislature and the proposed emasculation of the Bill of Rights,  The Parliamentarians indicted they are monitoring Hong Kong closely and that they will continue to do so.  "I proposed that European governments have a clear economic and political interest in keeping Hong Kong’s rule of law, level playing field and freedom.  Everyone we have met thus far has agreed."

Tomorrow Martin Lee will meet the Belgian Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Erik Derycke at 5:00pm.


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