The House Committee has voted down debating a motion of no confidence against the President of the Legislative Council Jasper Tsang, after he was criticised by pan-democrats for directing pro-Beijing lawmakers via Whatsapp message during the reform vote last month.

On Friday, Chan Chi-chuen of People Power sought the agreement from the House Committee over putting forward the motion of no confidence against Jasper Tsang onto the agenda. The committee is responsible for setting the agenda of LegCo council meetings.

Prior to the meeting, Alan Leong Kah-kit, organiser of the pan-democratic camp, said that the bloc would support the motion.

In a letter sent to Tsang last week, pan-democrats demanded the president apologise to the public and give suggestions on how to prevent the incident from happening in the future. Leong said Tsang has made clear that he would not apologise.

Alan Leong Kah-kit. Photo: Now TV

“We do not see a satisfactory answer [from Tsang] to [our] demand,” Leong continued, “Even though there is no better person in the pro-establishment camp to be the president than Tsang, pan-democrats considers defending the system is more important than protecting an individual.”

In the committee meeting, pan-democratic legislators questioned Tsang’s involvement in the WhatsApp chat group of pro-Beijing legislators. Pan-democrats referred to Tsang as both “the referee and the captain,” since Tsang moderated the council meeting while directing the pro-establishment camp.

However, pro-establishment legislators were unsupportive of the motion. Ann Chiang Lai-wan of the DAB said Tsang’s actions were sensible. Chiang said that Tsang was concerned with casting the vote as soon as possible because “[pro-establishment legislators] had received notifications that there would be an occupation of the legislature similar to the Sunflower Movement.”

Voting results of Chan Chi-chuen’s seeking to move a motion of no confidence in the President of the Legislative Council. Photo: Now TV

Following the hour-long discussion, 24 legislators voted in favour and 36 against putting forward the motion of no confidence in the next council meeting.

Tsang has been under fire recently after local media exposed that he had directed pro-Beijing lawmakers via WhatsApp message during the political reform vote last month. A secretly recorded tape has also revealed that Tsang made a racist joke about Africans during last year’s Occupy protests.

Tsang is a member and founder of the pro-Beijing party the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

The Sunflower Movement was a 23-day protest in Taipei against the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement, a treaty which liberalised trade between mainland China and Taiwan. It was also dubbed the “Occupy Taiwan Legislature Movement” as protesters took over the national legislative chamber.

Paul Benedict Lee contributed to reporting.

Arthur Lo

Arthur Lo is an undergraduate student currently on a gap year. During Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement protests, he worked as a fixer, translator and producer for foreign media outlets such as Al-Jazeera.