Letter: What Hong Kong's people want

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The Independent Online
Sir: I refer to Michael Fathers' article 'Hong Kong delegation back-pedals on reform' (18 January). The facts of the matter are not as suggested.

In November 1989 and January 1990 Baroness Lydia Dunn and I, on behalf of the Office of Members of the Executive and Legislative Council (Omelco), visited London to see the then prime minister to urge the British government to implement democracy in Hong Kong according to an 'Omelco consensus'.

At the time, we were asking for 20 directly elected seats to the Legislative Council in 1991, and 30 directly elected seats in 1995. That was before the Basic Law was promulgated and the British government had every opportunity to grant it to Hong Kong.

However, we were told that convergence of Hong Kong's political system with the Basic Law and a smooth transition of sovereignty was of vital importance to Hong Kong and that the British government was working with the Chinese government to ensure that this would happen.

Now, almost three years later, and after the Basic Law was promulgated in 1990, the British and Chinese governments are in a deadlock situation and the people of Hong Kong are most concerned about the impasse. The Co-operative Resources Centre feels duty bound to put forth these concerns. That is why we recently visited London to put to the Prime Minister the anxieties of the Hong Kong people and to urge the two governments to get back to the negotiation table in a co-operative spirit to ensure a smooth transfer of government in 1997, which was promised to the Hong Kong people through the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984.

We cannot envisage precisely what will happen to Hong Kong if Britain and China cannot co-operate, but there will be serious


We intend to visit Peking as well, to give Chinese leaders the same message.

Of course, we realise that the decision lies with the two sovereign states. Britain and China are responsible for delivering this promised smooth transition of sovereignty, and those of us who will stay in Hong Kong after 1997 and who call Hong Kong our home want to see a continuation of our way of life.

Yours faithfully,


Legislative Council

Hong Kong

20 January