Martin Lee (1996)
Martin Lee is the founder and the chairman of the Hong-Kong Democrats (since 1990). He is considered an outspoken advocate of Human Rights, press freedom, and the rule of law. The LI Prize for Freedom was awarded to him in 1996.
On 1 July 1997, the day after the handover to China, Martin Lee was ousted from the Legislative Council. At the elections of May 1998, however, the pro-democracy candidates won 2/3 of the popular vote.
Martin Lee has been actively working towards establishing links with the international community. He calls upon the international community to support the Democrats and to help ensure the judicial independence of the city. He also calls on the community to fulfil its promise of monitoring the democratisation process in Hong-Kong and China. He is afraid of a broad tolerance of China's violations of the Joint Declaration.
In April 1999 he just met the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson. Recently, he has also launched a Chinese-language website, the first one from a Hong-Kong based party.
For his contributions to advancing democracy, he received the Democratic Award of the National Endowment for Democracy in April 1997. He also received two honorary degrees as Doctor of Law in 1997, as well as the Claremont Institute's annual Statesmanship Award in November 1998.