Dui Hua recently hosted Alan Leong, Legislative Councilor for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s (HKSAR’s) Kowloon geographical constituency, for a Bay Area visit, with activities in San Francisco and Berkeley on September 28. Leong opened the afternoon by speaking on the prospects of Hong Kong’s transition to democracy to a group of local criminal justice officials and representatives of the Asia Foundation, which sponsored the event. Later that day at the University of California at Berkeley, Leong met with students from the Berkeley Chinese Law Society for an informal discussion about law and politics in Hong Kong and mainland China. He then spoke at UC Berkeley’s Center for Chinese Studies on Hong Kong-mainland relations and the process of democratic reform. In his speeches, Leong highlighted Hong Kong’s advantages in pursuing democratic reform as well as the opposition that implementation of any such reform must ultimately overcome both in Hong Kong and from Beijing.

Originally a lawyer working in private practice, Leong opposed Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law in 2003 while serving as chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association. He then became a founding member of the pro-democracy Civic Party, which he represented as a candidate in Hong Kong’s 2007 Chief Executive Election, the first-ever contested election for the HKSAR’s most prominent political position. As the first pro-democracy candidate to run for chief executive, Leong received votes from 123 of the Election Committee’s 800 members.

Prior to coming to the Bay Area, Mr. Leong visited NGOs in Washington, DC, New York, Toronto, and Vancouver, and emphasized throughout his tour the geographic and political importance of Hong Kong both to mainland China and around the world.

The visit was supported in part by the foundation’s Special Program/Development Fund (SPDF), which allows Dui Hua to arrange exchanges and speeches for overseas experts with a range of views on human rights and rule of law. With its commitment to a mutually respectful dialogue, Dui Hua also has hosted programs by two mainland Chinese scholars from the human rights and criminal justice fields, Prof. Li Shi’an (see Dialogue 24) in May 2006 and Prof. Dan Wei (Dialogue 27) this past March.