The leader of a provisional new party, which aims to garner support from rural voters, says that the pro-Beijing rural faction may win five seats in the Legislative Council elections this September.

Hau Chi-keung, chairman of the Sheung Shui District Rural Committee, has been gathering support for a new party provisionally called the “New Territories Progressive Alliance” over the past few months. He is also an ex-officio executive councillor of the Heung Yee Kuk and a member of the pro-establishment Liberal Party. The Heung Yee Kuk are a powerful advisory body representing rural interests in the New Territories. 

Hau said on a RTHK radio programme on Tuesday that the new party would use its “full power to defend the traditional rights of the [indigenous] people of the New Territories.”

Hau Chi-keung. File

“We need to let people know that the rights of the people of the New Territories are not given by the government – they are continuously being limited,” Hau said. “On land resumption to build new towns, we have never negotiated a price with the government, [the price is] whatever the government says.”

Hau said that there are 200,000 indigenous people who are registered as voters in the New Territories East and West constituencies respectively and that it would not be surprising if the party wins two seats in each constituency.  This would total five seats, if combined with the functional constituency seat the Heung Yee Kuk holds.

The new party would also aim at gaining support from the general populace, he added.

Hau used the Federation of Trade Unions as an example, which currently has a lawmaker seat in the LegCo’s functional constituency, to explain why a new party should be formed.

“Why does it send people to run [in the geographical constituency]? It is doing well, and has a few seats,” Hau said.

Lau Wong-fat. File

He said that the idea of forming a party for the indigenous people of the New Territories was first proposed by Heung Yee Kuk lawmaker Lau Wong-fat in 2014, to defend their rights.

“In the past two years a lot has happened, especially the illegal structure issue, land issues, the concessionary right [of the small house policy] – there are also many big issues in society that involve the New Territories,” he said.

Hau, who just returned from Beijing, told reporters after the programme that his “old friends” in Beijing expressed positive sentiment towards the new party, that there is freedom to form parties in Hong Kong, and it is good for Hong Kong society.

But he did not disclose the identity of the people mentioned, saying they were simply “good friends”.

The Small House Policy, whereby indigenous villagers in the New Territories are allowed to build a house, was introduced in 1972.

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.