Freedom House marks its 75th anniversary by honoring three generations of Hong Kong democracy leaders:
Joshua Wong, Benny Tai and Martin C. M. Lee
Thursday, September 24, 2015
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About the speakers:
Martin C.M. Lee
Martin C.M. Lee (Lee Chu Ming) is the founding Chairman (1994 - 2002) of the Democratic Party, one of Hong Kong's largest political parties. Mr. Lee has been fighting for democracy for Hong Kong for 30 years, winning every Legislative Council election from 1985 to 2008. Mr. Lee insists that without genuine democracy, Deng Xiaoping’s policy of “one country, two systems”, “Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong”, “with a high degree of autonomy” can never succeed; and calls upon the Central Government to honor its promise of democracy by allowing Hong Kong people to elect their Chief Executive in 2017 and all members of the Legislative Council in 2020 by genuine universal suffrage.
Benny Tai is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong. He is most known for initiating the Occupy Central with Love and Peace campaign, a movement to exert pressure on Chinese government officials to allow equal and universal suffrage in Hong Kong. The movement derives its authority and direction from Hong Kong’s Basic Law Article 45, a constitutional declaration and promise related to universal suffrage in electing the chief executive of Hong Kong. The establishment of this advocacy group has led to deliberative meetings, unofficial referendum, nonviolent occupations, civil disobedience, and demonstrations to combat Beijing’s imposed policies towards the territory. The Occupy Central movement took large part in supporting and demonstrating during the Umbrella Revolution.
Joshua Wong, an 18-year-old student activist at the Open University of Hong Kong, is the convener and founder of “Scholarism,” a student organization which began in 2011. Wong’s campaigns have focused on education reform, political participation, and democracy promotion. Most notably, Wong rallied over 200,000 peaceful protestors in 2014 during the Umbrella Revolution. For his efforts, he has been recognized by notable media outlets including Fortune, Time Magazine, Foreign Policy, and London’s The Times. He has been arrested by Chinese authorities on a number of occasions, which sparked international outrage and further protests in Hong Kong.
Event Moderator: Indira Lakshmanan
Indira Lakshmanan is the former Hong Kong bureau chief for the Boston Globe and a former foreign policy correspondent for Bloomberg News. She has reported from 80 countries and also covered the State Department for seven years. Her coverage in Asia included Hong Kong’s handover to China and political, economic and social change in the region. Indira graduated from Harvard University and did graduate studies at Oxford University.