Veteran pro-Beijing lawmaker Christopher Chung Shu-kun, often known by his nickname “Tree Gun“, has said that one of the reasons he lost his district council seat was his decision not to use his Facebook account before the latest election on November 22.

Chung was a district councillor with the pro-Beijing DAB Party since 1991 in the Yue Wan constituency in Chai Wan. He received 1,863 votes, losing by some 200 votes to pro-democracy newcomer Chui Chi-kin, who only decided to run on the last day of the nomination period.

In an interview with online media, Chung said that he and his team were careless about the power of the internet.

Christopher Chung Shu-kun. File

“I have a Facebook account. It was a strategic mistake in strategy [to] close the Facebook accounts,” Chung said. “We should not have closed it.”

Chung said that it was also a mistake to discount the passion of first-time voters, including young people who joined the pro-democracy Occupy protests last year—at least 60 percent of whom Chung said voted in his constituency.

Many candidates stopped using their public Facebook accounts in October and November since election laws stated that Facebook posts may be considered election advertisements and thereby contribute to election spending.

Jasper Tsang Yok-sing.

‘You will win even if you are sleeping’
Another campaign misstep, according to Chung, was that his supporters were too self-assured about his victory.

“Our supporters thought, ‘you will win even if you are sleeping, right? There’s no need to worry too much’,” Chung explained. “My supporters rarely saw things online… some of them even went back to their hometowns [in China] or went to another district for food.”

Legislative Council president and fellow DAB member Jasper Tsang Yok-sing came to Yue Wan at around 8pm to support Chung. Even Tsang did not consider the possibility that he might not win, Chung said, asking him in disbelief if he had lost.

“I don’t think there was anyway [for me to win], even with Jasper Tsang there,” Chung conceded.

Chung also criticised the subsequent rally to celebrate his loss outside his office: “They came to cause trouble. I was not in a good mood. You can insult me, attack me, but you cannot insult my colleagues and my family.”

Admitting his personality was “not diplomatic and too straightforward,” Chung added that he may consider changing his hairstyle to cultivate a younger image.

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.