Hong Kong’s lawmaker-elect Tik Chi-yuen has said he feels “lonely” being the sole non-pro-establishment figure in the city’s “all patriots” legislature, but meeting some of his future colleagues gave him “a bit of warmth.”
Tik’s remarks came on Tuesday when he met the press alongside other incoming legislators chosen by 28 special interest groups in the functional constituency. They secured their spots in Sunday’s first ever legislative polls held under revamped rules set out by Beijing to ensure only “patriots” administer the city.
The turnout among the general public in the geographical constituency hit a historic low of 30.2 per cent, while the turnout in some special sectors – such as social welfare, education and medical and health services – also dropped drastically compared to the previous election in 2016.
Incumbent Legislative Council (LegCo) President Andrew Leung, who was elected in the Industrial (First) sector, and other election winners nevertheless hailed the newly restricted polls as a success. Engineering sector elect Lo Wai-kwok called it a successful implementation of “high-quality Hong Kong-style democracy,” as the election attracted criticism from western countries.
The current LegCo chief said he hopes the new legislature will be “united” and lawmakers will set aside party politics to help promote the development of the city.
The functional constituency has elected a total of 30 lawmakers, but three were absent from Tuesday’s press event, including Jeffrey Lam of the Commercial (First) sector, the Insurance sector’s Chan Kin-po and Ambrose Lam representing the Legal sector.
Social worker Tik told reporters that he had a new nickname – “1:89” – signalling he is the only lawmaker-elect who identifies as non-pro-establishment. The Third Side politician, who identifies as a moderate, was a founding member of the Democratic Party, the largest pro-democracy party in Hong Kong.
“This morning, I walked into the legislature and felt very lonely, but I felt some warmth in the meeting just now. Because when I brought up demands about social welfare, a lot of lawmakers supported… the welfare development,” he said.
Reporters asked Stephen Ho of the pro-Beijing DAB party what they did to make Tik feel welcomed. The agriculture and fisheries elect replied: “Love and care.”
Tik also said the face-off between the yellow camp and the blue camp – referring to the pro-democracy and pro-government factions – “has become history,” but conflicts among lawmakers may still arise.
Most pro-democracy figures were barred from the election, are behind bars, have quit politics or are in self-exile abroad.
“As part of the non-pro-establishment, fighting for democracy is our duty… we will monitor the government and won’t let it do whatever it wants,” said the social worker. “We are not worried that there is only one person, because our voice will be echoed by society. That is our political power.”
He also told reporters that he had been worried that he may not secure enough nominations to join legislative panels, as the amended Rules of Procedure requires lawmakers to form teams to secure a spot. But Tik’s future colleagues from the functional constituency said they were willing to put forward his name, he said.
Commercial (Second) sector elect Martin Liao who is currently in charge of convening pro-establishment lawmakers, described the new legislature as a “multicolour combination.” He said Hong Kong was rocked by social unrest and violence during the previous LegCo term, which prevented the city from focusing on tackling livelihood and economic issues.
“With the implementation of the national security law and a series of amendments to the LegCo Rules of Procedure, [I] believe parliamentary violence and crazy filibustering will not appear again in the seventh council term,” Liao said.
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