2 June 1997

Martin Lee's Response to Chief Secretary Anson Chan's Comments on Hong Kong

In a Newsweek interview released today, Chief Secretary Anson Chan stated that she would continue to speak out on "points of principle and matters of conscience."  She expressed concern about the rolling back of civil liberties laws and human rights.  While objecting to Chief Secretary's statement that Hong Kong is not ready for a full-fledged democracy, Martin Lee commended her willingness to speak out about matters of concern to Hong Kong people.

In response to questioning about the Chief Secretary's interview, Martin Lee commented:

"I disagree with Mrs. Chan's assertion that Hong Kong is not prepared for democracy, or that democracy is somehow a 'western' concept.  Look around the region – the majority of Asian countries have 'one man, one vote' elections.  Furthermore, as Hong Kong people have demonstrated in elections since 1990, they are ready for and want full democracy. 

That said, I believe the people of Hong Kong will applaud Mrs. Chan for her candid comments at this critical time.  As the Chief Secretary states in her interview: 'you cannot put the clock back' in Hong Kong and any effort to do so will do damage to our free society.  Hong Kong people want their human rights protected and I am sure they will agree with out Chief Secretary that it is vital to '……allow the community a say in how they want to be governed and how they want to be represented in their legislature.'  This is the only way to ensure the preservation of Hong Kong's freedoms and rule of law.

As she speaks not only for herself, but for the civil service, I hope Chief Executive designate Tung will listen to Mrs. Chan and only implement policies acceptable to Hong Kong people."


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