Before LegCo candidate Ken Chow suddenly pulled out of the elections citing threats, China Liaison Office officials had asked the Liberal Party’s James Tien to dissuade Chow from running, Tien has claimed.

Chow, a Liberal Party candidate, suspended his campaign at the end of August citing potential threats to people around him. The China Liaison Office is an organ of the Chinese government in Hong Kong.

Tien was speaking on a Commercial Radio programme Wednesday morning. When Chow’s decision to suspend his campaign was brought up, Tien said: “I know – they [the Liaison Office] tried to persuade me.”

James Tien. File photo: Stand News.

The office approached him in July, Tien said. “The Liaison Office tried to persuade me to tell Ken Chow not to run, saying he won’t win. I said: ‘How do you know he won’t win?’”

Tien said Liaison Office representatives said that Chow’s run would affect candidate Junius Ho Kwan-yiu’s election bid. Ho won the final seat in New Territories West with 5,000 more votes than another candidate.

Chow claimed that three people sent by Beijing met with him in Shenzhen and forced him to quit the race. He previously hinted that the pressure put on him to drop out was intended to pave the path for Ho, a rural leader and pro-Beijing figure.

At a Liberal Party meeting on Tuesday, Chow gave an explanation to the party after he talked to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Tien said. He said Chow’s account matched what he previously told the public.

He said the Liberal Party’s Miriam Lau Kin-yee, a local deputy to the National People’s Congress, and Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee, a local deputy to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, have written to those in charge of each respective government body to urge them to look into Chow’s case.

Ken Chow. Photo: Facebook.

“We think the state needs to investigate,” he said. “It’s not for the sake of Ken Chow or the Liberal Party, it’s for the sake of the credibility of Hong Kong’s elections.”

“[China] needs to investigate whether the Liaison Office has surpassed its liaison role and turned into an executive department,” said Tien.

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Catherine Lai

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.