Liberal Party lawmaker James Tien Pei-chun has said that pro-Beijing camp lawmakers must seek Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s approval before electing the chair and the deputy chair of the legislature’s house committees.

In an interview with Metro Daily, Tien said that he heard pro-Beijing camp lawmakers had asked a government official about who should be elected: “The government official said, ultimately, the boss does not want [pan-democrats to be elected] – he meant the ‘transcendent’ boss”

Previously, Leung said his position as chief executive is “transcendent” over the three branches of government.

James Tien (left) and Leung Chun-ying (right). File

“Looking down on themselves”

Tien voted for Democratic Party lawmaker Sin Chung-kai to be deputy chair, although Sin lost to Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen and Ma Fung-kwok. It was the first ever term of LegCo since the handover in 1997 where both positions were taken by the pro-Beijing camp.

Tien said that the pro-Beijing camp had belittled themselves: “If they strove to excel, why do they need to ask him?”

He added that they should only ask for the opinions of the China Liaison Office and Leung Chun-ying for incidents such as the occasion where pro-Beijing lawmakers challenged each other for the chairmanship of the House Committee. The government was not involved until the pro-Beijing camp asked, Tien said.

“But for the deputy chair of the House Committee who does not have much power, [former deputy chair] Ronny Tong has not created trouble for so many years. Why would Sin Chung-kai do so now?”

China Liaison Office in Hong Kong.

Not approved by the Central Government

Tien said that the Central Government in Beijing would not approve the act as Wang Guangya and Feng Wei, director and deputy of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, were both communicating with the pan-democrats: “There is no need to force them [the pan-democrats] out.”

“The boss of lawmakers should be the voters. I don’t believe the voters want to force the pan-democrats out,” Tien added, “and they asked the government? They are looking down on themselves… the honour of being a lawmaker comes from representing voters to monitor the government, but they took orders from the government.”

“There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there, but mainly people are just incurably dumb.” Photo: James Tien Facebook, June 2015.

Dare to say no to 689

Tien said that the pro-Beijing camp was not united after the “blunder” of the political reform package vote in June. The Liberal Party was the “peacemaker” between the government and the pan-democrats, he said.

“But [the other pro-Beijing parties] will always fight with the pan-democrats if they are in charge, [they] take orders from CY, we do not agree with that!”

He added that the public appreciated the image of the Liberal Party and that it was a “pro-Beijing party who dares to say no to 689 [Leung Chun-ying]”, that it will attract more votes to the party in the coming District Council election.

Tien said he would not support Leung to run for a second term: “Anyone but CY… What is the meaning of CY being in office for five more years?”

He added that, in the near future, the political reform process and the legislation of a national security law should not be restarted.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.