The Honourable Emily Lau Wai-hing JP (劉慧卿) (born January 21, 1952) is currently the convenor of The Frontier, a pro-democracy political party in Hong Kong. She is a full-time legislator in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo), elected from the Geographical Constituency of New Territories East.
Lau obtained her BA degree in the University of Southern California, USA in 1976, and earned her M. Sc. degree in International Relations in the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London. She began her career as a journalist in 1976. From 1987 to 1990 she was a lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Communication of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and also a lecturer of the Certificate in Journalism in the Department of Extra Mural Studies of the University of Hong Kong.
Lau was the chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists Association from 1989 to 1991. She was the first woman to be directly elected into the Legislative Council in September 1991, and founded the Frontier in 1996. She served as a legislator until 1997, and was re-elected into LegCo since 1998.
Lau took a relatively aggressive political platform in the democratic camp, as reflected in the platform of The Frontier. She demanded a redraft of the Basic Law, Hong Kong's constitutional document, demanded democratisation in China. She also pushed for promotion of human rights, more efforts on equal opportunities, and establish statutory right to access to information. On economy she supported legislation on fair trading, oppose importation of foreign labours, and called for minimum wage.
She was an outspoken critic of the human rights situation, the progress of democratization and a number of other policy areas in the HKSAR. She was skeptical of the implementation of "One country two systems" principle. Her actions sparkled controversies in several occasions.
In 1998, she sued the Hong Kong branch of the Xinhua News Agency due to the latter's slow response over her queries for personal information. She lost the case and was ordered by the court to pay a legal fee of HKD 1.6 million. Claiming that her lawsuit was for public interest, she attempted to raise fund from the public to repay the debt. In December 2000, with over 1 million still outstanding, the agency (now liaison office) applied to the court for her bankruptcy.
In 2003, Lau and another legislator, James To of the Democratic Party, attended a seminar entitled "Hong Kong Under One Country, Two Systems" organized by a pro-Taiwan independence group headed by former ROC President Lee Teng-hui. Lau stated that "Taiwan's future should be determined by the Taiwan people themselves". Being a legislator, her attendance to the forum and recognition of the right for self-determination of Taiwan caused controversies and criticisms especially from the pro-Beijing sector. Her subsequent refusal to explicitly recognize Taiwan as a part of China when interviewed drew more criticisms. On the other hand, Lau said that she was exercising her freedom of speech and the criticisms showed that the freedom is in doubt.
Criminal cases against Lau
Lau was the subject of several criminal nuisance cases in the past, including telephone nuisance to her office in January and October 2003, and two cases where food / faeces were splashed outside her office in Shatin in July and September 2003. A woman and an old man had been arrested and fined by the Police for some of the cases above.
An arson attack against Lau's office took place on June 21 2004. Lau's posters calling for participation in an upcoming rally in July 2004, posted outside her office, were burnt. Words were left saying "All Chinese traitors must die".
See also: Politics of Hong Kong