Albright receives assurance on right to hold street protests

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 July, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 July, 1997, 12:00am

The right to hold street protests will be preserved under Chinese rule, Mr Tung assured the United States yesterday.

'It's part of our culture,' he reportedly said, responding to concerns raised by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during their first meeting yesterday.

Mr Tung also told Ms Albright the city could not be used as a base to destabilise China, said US State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns.

Meanwhile, Ms Albright told Mr Tung that Washington wanted to see democracy preserved as the 'magic' of the city.

Mr Tung replied that preparing for elections was the most important task of the Provisional Legislative Council.

The elections are due in May but Democrats who lost their seats when the Legislative Council was disbanded at midnight, have called for an earlier poll.

Mr Burns said US officials had been interested to learn from Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang that the civil service wanted time to prepare for elections.

'She thought it was very important that i's were dotted and t's were crossed,' he said.

This was to ensure that laws were passed by a legitimate legislature.

In a meeting with Democrats' leader Martin Lee Chu-ming, Ms Albright said Hong Kong had a lot to teach China about democracy, and gave him an open invitation to visit her in Washington.

She also spoke with her Chinese counterpart Qian Qichen about President Jiang Zemin's US autumn visit and President Bill Clinton's China trip next year.