Tung vows to permit protests
Hong Kong handover: Pro-democracy groups welcome chief executive's nod towards tolerance, but remain sceptical
Thursday 01 May 1997
He said that in Hong Kong "we permit, sometimes we even encourage, demonstrations" and added that "demonstrations are part of our culture."
Mr Tung was speaking in an interview with America's ABC television station. His remarks were immediately welcomed in Hong Kong by leaders of the colony's pro-democracy parties and organisations yesterday but they questioned why he was telling an American audience that the right to demonstrate was guaranteed while at the same time preparing legislation which will curtail the rights of assembly, especially at short notice.
Cheung Man-kwong, a legislator and leader of the alliance supporting China's democracy movement, said he would feel more convinced by Mr Tung's remarks if he was not preparing laws which outlawed demonstrations violating "national security". Mr Cheung's organisation has been branded as "subversive" by China and would therefore be unable to function if Chinese criteria were applied in Hong Kong.
However Mr Tung insisted that "Hong Kong was living in a different world" where Chinese laws would not apply. Nevertheless it was revealed yesterday that the first legislative act of the China-appointed Provisional Legislature for Hong Kong would be to pass a law curtailing the right to demonstrate and roll back other civil rights which have come into law in recent years.
In a characteristically oblique criticism of Mr Tung, Governor Chris Patten said yesterday that while he had no reason to doubt his successor was sincere, he failed to understand how guarantees of the right to demonstrate given by an individual could overrule new legislation aimed at curtailing the right to demonstrate.
Martin Lee, the leader of the Democratic Party, also questioned whether Mr Tung had the power to prevent a Tiananmen Square-type massacre in Hong Kong. He said that "if the troops are ordered by their officers to shoot", they would do so and the Chief Executive would be powerless to stop them.
Invited to express criticism of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Mr Tung declined to give a direct response. He described it as "an event nobody wanted to see happen". Adding, "I think history should be the judge of this particular event. But one thing, in looking back, you can say is this: that in the eight years since, China's progress in the economic front has been enormous and that was possible because of the stability, the social stability that now prevails all across the nation."
Mr Tung is said to be increasingly dismayed about the negative image of his incoming administration in the United States. However he appears, yet again, to have reinforced the view that all his public utterances mirror remarks by Chinese officials.
Mr Tung is now using the exact terminology employed by Chinese officials - in both Chinese and English - even including the remark that Mr Lee and his associates will be disappointed if they want to become martyrs. This remark was made on a number of occasions by Lu Ping , the most senior Chinese official in charge of Chinese affairs, during a recent visit to Canada.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + £40K OTE: SThree: Recruitment is a sales role and ...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...