Democratic Party Chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing has denied claims that she has been forced out by younger members in her party, following an earlier announcement that she will not be seeking another term in the Legislative Council.

Commenting on her departure, Lau said on an RTHK radio programme on Monday morning, “Of course it’s not [because] I can’t communicate with people… even back in 1991, I have not been able to communicate with some people, especially those who use a lot of foul language.”

Emily Lau.

Last December, Lau was jeered by protesters at the Legislative Council demonstration area for not joining a filibuster of a controversial copyright bill, which had been dubbed “internet Article 23”. Some then pointed out that there might be a generation gap between her and young people.

Responding to former Democratic Party Vice-chairman Tik Chi-yuen’s comments that she was like former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and that she was being forced out by the younger members in the party, Lau said, “I’m very headstrong, but I won’t accept the saying that I was being forced out… just interview some of the younger members in the party. Some might say that [I] should leave, some might not agree with that. There are different voices in the group.”

“And what does Tik Chi-yuen know? He has left the party. Unless he has really asked some of the members in the party who understands the situation well… otherwise it’s all just speculation.”

Lau told RTHK she hoped that the country will be prosperous and strong, with rule of law, freedom and ties with the international community, and Hong Kong could definitely play some role in this. However, she was not interested in taking up an official position in the mainland. She also said that there were seven or eight Legislative Councillors who could not freely enter the mainland, which was ridiculous and frustrating.

Emily Lau (left) . Photo: HKFP.

At a press conference last Friday, Lau announced her plans to leave the Legislative Council in September.

“I was a journalist for 15 years, and then I was a Legislative Councillor for a quarter of a century… I’m very satisfied. I feel like I’ve been a [Councillor] for too long… I’m very grateful for the opportunity to serve Hong Kong,” Lau said.

Lau voiced her support for Civic Party member Alvin Yeung, who will be running for a seat in the New Territories East constituency in the Legislative Council by-elections triggered by the resignation of Ronny Tong. Yeung is the official candidate for the pan-democratic camp and will be up against Holden Chow of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. The by-election will take place in February.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.