For Hong Kong, A Defining Moment

Hong Kong has lost one of its best assets with the resignation of Chief Secretary Anson Chan. Now it's up to her boss, Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa, to show that his administration can still fight for freedom of the press and the rule of law without a woman who was widely known as the conscience of Hong Kong. Though that moniker was unfair--longtime Democrat legislator Martin Lee, among others, is far more outspoken in his defense of the former colony--it reflects the sad truth that Chan was willing to speak up when Tung would not. Tellingly, it was Chan who slapped down a mainland official who last year warned local businessmen against doing business with Taiwan companies that Beijing didn't like. It was Chan who reminded the world that Beijing's promises would be hollow words unless the city's people fought to keep their freedom. Fight she did, though it was those constant fights that led to her premature departure.

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