Once a dissident, always a dissident

"Once a dissident, always a dissident" Continued...

Issue: "Walk the Talk," Nov. 15, 1997

One recent foreign visitor to Israel who agrees fully with this argument is Hong Kong's pre-eminent democratic opposition activist and human-rights lawyer, Martin Lee. On a private visit to Israel last month, Mr. Lee met with Mr. Sharansky to explain how Hong Kong's new Chinese-appointed governor, Tung Chee-hwa, rolled back provisions for democratic elections established in 1995 under British rule. A surprised and concerned Mr. Sharansky said he would like to visit Hong Kong to learn for himself how democratic principles have been set back by the incoming communist-backed authorities.

Unnoticed by major media, the Sharansky-Lee conversation may turn out to be historical. Consider Mr. Sharansky, a Russian emigré speaking up for freedom and human rights in the Middle East, comparing ideals with Mr. Lee, a British-trained Chinese lawyer described as "the leader of the opposition party in China." Could Mr. Sharansky be a future prime minister of Israel and Mr. Lee a future president of China? This century has produced stranger turnarounds.


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