Sunday, May 3, 2015Sunday, May 3, 2015

Hong Kong democracy activists urge West to speak out

Published on Apr 3, 2014 4:47 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Two prominent Hong Kong democracy campaigners on Wednesday urged Western powers to speak out against what they described as Beijing's growing interference in the semi-autonomous financial hub.

On a visit to Washington, Martin Lee, a founder of the opposition Democratic Party, recalled that the United States and other nations had tried to reassure Hong Kong residents by throwing their support behind the deal in which Britain returned the city to China in 1997.

"Every government that supported the joint declaration and continues to support it owes a moral obligation to the people of Hong Kong to speak out when something like today is going terribly wrong," Lee said at the US-funded National Endowment for Democracy.

"All we are asking for is fair play. After all, China promised democracy to Hong Kong." China has promised to allow direct elections for Hong Kong's chief executive in 2017 but critics question the credibility of the vote if Beijing approves candidates.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!