A Lame Duck Government?

  • John Flowerdew


Following the approval of the first stage political reforms, the more controversial second stage was presented to Legco in late June of 1994. After Seventeen and a half hours of discussion, the whole package, as put forward by Patten, was endorsed. This was only after an amendment proposed by the Liberal Party, to approximate to what they thought China would have wanted, had been defeated by just one vote and a private member’s bill submitted by independent legislator, Emily Lau, proposing a fully elected legislature was voted down, again by just one vote. The debate was so emotive that one legislator broke into tears while making his speech. The Hong Kong Standard published a selection of views expressed during the debate, in favour of and against the reforms, as follows:1

Why is the Liberal Party so afraid of democracy? Why seek to appease China with a pale and anaemic copy of the type of election China would want to set up in 1997? We must reject the undemocratic monstrosity before us.

Independent legislator Jimmy McGregor

The abolition (by China) of representative institutions which are carefully constituted, properly elected, and which command the support of our people cannot be conducive to a smooth transition.

Chief Secretary Anson Chan

No one on earth would believe that there would be continuity as a result of the passing of the (government’s) 1992 package. Only an idiot would believe that.

Liberal Party leader Allen Lee

The hopes of 1997 have been crushed by Mr Patten who believed he knew how to deal with China.

Independent legislator Elsie Tu

No matter which package is passed today it cannot achieve the through-train, and Hong Kong people will suffer profound damage.

Independent legislator Eric Li

Are we crawling towards 1997 or are we walking tall?

United Democrats legislator Szeto Wah

The wish of the Hong Kong people is thai we have a high degree of autonomy from Beijing. They want you to do what they can’t do themselves.

United Democrats leader Martin Lee


Gross Domestic Product Asylum Seeker Liberal Party Constitutional Reform Legislative Council 
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  1. 9.
    S. K. Tsang, ‘The Economy’, in D. H. MacMillen and S.W. Man (eds.) The Other Hong Kong Report 1994 (Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, 1994) pp. 125–48.Google Scholar
  2. 13.
    Much of this paragraph draws on Hung Wing-tat, ‘The Environment’, in S. Y. L. Cheng and S. M. H. Sze The Other Hong Kong Report 1995 (Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong Press) pp. 343–59.Google Scholar
  3. 14.
    James Rice, ‘Human rights’ in The Other Hong Kong Report: 1995 (Hong Kong: Chinese University of Hong Kong Press, 1995) pp. 103–20.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Flowerdew 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Flowerdew
    • 1
  1. 1.English DepartmentCity University of Hong KongHong Kong

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