|Chairman of the Democratic Party|
2 October 1994 – 2 December 2002
|Preceded by||New title (formerly as Chairman of United Democrats)|
|Succeeded by||Yeung Sum|
|Member of the Legislative Council|
26 September 1985 – 12 September 1991
|Preceded by||New title|
|Succeeded by||Simon Ip|
12 September 1991 – 30 June 1997
|Preceded by||Chan Ying-lun|
1 July 1998 – 30 September 2008
|Preceded by||New seat|
|Succeeded by||Tanya Chan|
|Constituency||Hong Kong Island|
8 June 1938 |
|Political party||Democratic Party|
|Alma mater||University of Hong Kong
Martin Lee (born 8 June 1938), QC, SC, JP, is a Hong Kong political activist, lawyer and former legislator. He was the founding chairman (1994–2002) of the Democratic Party in Hong Kong. He was a directly-elected Member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo) for the Hong Kong Island geographical constituency. Professionally he is a barrister-at-law, the first on the order of precedence of Senior Counsels in Hong Kong.
Lee has been a prominent figure of the Hong Kong democracy movement on the international stage, especially in the United States. He is a controversial figure in Hong Kong. To human rights activists he has been labelled the "Father of Democracy" in Hong Kong. To Beijing officials, he has been labelled a "running dog of the colonialists".
After being a member of the Legislative Council for 23 years, Lee announced on 27 March 2008 that he would not seek re-election when his term ended in September of that year.
Lee was born in Hong Kong, the sixth of seven children, and raised in Guangzhou, China. A Hakka of Huizhou ancestry, he is the son of a former Kuomintang major general. After he graduated from Wah Yan College, Kowloon, Lee obtained his undergraduate BA degree in Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong. After graduation, he worked as a teacher for three years. He then studied law at Lincoln's Inn in London.
Leaving Basic Law draft committee
From 1985 to 1989 Lee was a member of the Hong Kong Basic Law Drafting Committee until he was forced to leave the committee immediately after the infamous Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. He speculated that the long-term trends in the PRC were not in favour of moving towards democracy and human rights. Lee's activism to renew the momentum behind the Chinese democracy movement has stalled since 1989. Most notable is Lee's call for the overthrow of mainland China's leadership. His role in leading the protest in Hong Kong have led him to be banned from visiting mainland China. The only exception was made during a brief 2005 visit to Guangdong province.
He chaired the Hong Kong Consumer Council from 1988 to 1991. Lee also chaired the United Democrats of Hong Kong (UDHK) since its establishment in 1991, and retained his chairmanship when the group was transformed into the Democratic Party in 1994. He was succeeded in the position by Yeung Sum in 2001. In the run up to the 1997 transfer of Hong Kong to mainland China, Lee was an outspoken critic of China's policy towards Hong Kong and a supporter of the political reform of the last Governor Chris Patten, who said later that "Hong Kong was lucky to have him".
Internationally he became an icon for fighting the Chinese government for more democracy in Hong Kong, and was recognised and awarded by a number of international organisations, including the "1995 International Human Rights Award" by the American Bar Association, the Prize For Freedom by the Liberal International in 1996, the "Democracy Award" by the United States' National Endowment for Democracy in 1997, and the "Schuman Medal" in 2000 which Lee was the first non-European to receive from the European Peoples Party and European Democrats.
|“||As a Chinese citizen, I am not allowed back to my own country even though I'm welcome in every country in the world.||”|
|— Lee, responding to being banned from mainland China|
Defending HK special international status
Lee supported the overseas governments legitimate concern over the situation in Hong Kong. He cited the 1992 US-HK policy act, which allowed the US Government to give Hong Kong special economic treatments that differ from mainland China. Under the act the US is committed to support democratic institutions in Hong Kong, and could terminate Hong Kong's special economic treatment if the US President considers Hong Kong is not autonomous enough to justify such treatments. Tung Chee-hwa countered the generally negative image of Hong Kong under Communist Party rule, and said Lee was "bad mouthing" the Special Administrative Region in front of the international audience.
Improving PRC human rights via Olympic
In October 2007, Lee published an article named "China's Olympic Opportunity" in The Wall Street Journal criticising People's Republic of China for not living up to its promise to improve its human rights status during the Chinese Olympic bid. However, Lee urged the West, particularly the United States, not to boycott the 2008 Olympic games but to instead take the opportunity, while China is opening itself up to the world, to directly engage China in efforts to bring China closer to the international community in terms of its human rights.
His article was somehow being twisted and words like "direct engagement" was translated to Chinese equivalent of "intervene", and some media even claimed that Lee asked United States to boycott the games. This immediately stirred backlash from Beijing loyalists, who virtually accused Lee of being a hanjian. On 27 October, the Democratic Party issued an announcement to newspapers setting out the party's position regarding the article Lee published. Chairman Albert Ho reiterated, "It is not an apology, but a clear declaration of what we stand for."
As early as 1992 the People's Republic of China warned then Hong Kong governor Chris Patten, that Lee must not be appointed to the Executive Council. The pro-Beijing camp have since called Lee a "traitor of China" in 2004 upon his return from Washington D.C. His patriotism toward China has been questioned along with his Chinese identity, mostly by pro-Beijing supporters. Lee's father is connected to the Nationalist Party of China. Some[who?] have complained the democratic movement have gone too far and his staunch stance in favour of universal suffrage at the earliest possible date is destructive to the local business climate and political stability.
- Abrams, Elliott. The Influence of Faith: Religious Groups and U.S. Foreign Policy. (2001). Rowman & Littlefield. United States. ISBN 0-7425-0763-7.
- Hong Kong's Senior Counsel barlist
- Jensen, Lionel M. & Weston, Timothy B. (2006). China's Transformations: The Stories Beyond the Headlines. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-7425-3863-X
- Hong Kong's "Father of Democracy" to Retire, Time magazine. Retrieved 31 Jul 2008.
- Hong Kong's Martin Lee to step down from territory's legislature
- Rafferty, Kevin. City on the Rocks: Hong Kong's Uncertain Future. (1989) Viking Publishing. ISBN 0-670-80205-0.
- Martinlee official website
- Overholt, William H., The Rise of China: How Economic Reform is Creating a New Superpower (1994), W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0-393-31245-3.
- Chris Patten (1998). East and West: The Last Governor of Hong Kong on Power Freedom and the Future. Pan Macmillan. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-330-37308-1.
- Hong Kong's reversion to China: effective monitoring critical to assess U.S. DIANE Publishing. ISBN 1-4289-7837-2
- Chan, Ming K., The Challenge of Hong Kong's Reintegration With China (1997), Hong Kong University Press; ISBN 962-209-441-4.
- China's Olympic Opportunity, The Wall Street Journal, 17 October 2007. Retrieved 26 October 2007.
- Lee fires bullet at Beijing, asks Bush to meddle, The Standard. Retrieved 26 October 2007.
- "Democrat bid to curb Lee fallout", The Standard. Retrieved 26 October 2007.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Martin Lee.|
- 1992 U.S.–Hong Kong Policy Act
- Expert addresses Hong Kong political system The Daily Cardinal
- Biography on liberal-international.org
|Chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association
|Legislative Council of Hong Kong|
|New constituency||Member of Legislative Council
Representative for Legal
|Member of Legislative Council
Representative for Hong Kong Island East
With: Man Sai-cheong (1991–1995)
Provisional Legislative Council
|New parliament||Member of Legislative Council
Representative for Hong Kong Island
|Party political offices|
|New political party||Chairman of United Democrats of Hong Kong
|Merged into Democratic Party|
|Chairperson of Democratic Party