Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Civic Party is set to wind up after operating in the city for 16 years, its chairman has said, after no members filed nominations to take up positions in the executive committee.

Civic Party chairman Alan Leong told HKFP on Monday that the party received no nominations for the next executive committee by the deadline last Saturday. It was left with no choice but to take steps to disband pending a final vote in an emergency general meeting to be held in February at the earliest, he said.

alan leong
Alan Leong. File photo: HKFP/Ellie Ng.

It “did not come as a surprise” that no members stepped forward to form a committee to lead the party, the sitting chairman said. He cited an internal deliberation meeting held in September, when “no one came up with anything [they] can meaningfully do” to keep the party running.

Some members had suggested transforming the party into a social enterprise, but no one was willing to take the helm, the chairman said.

“That has not been something unexpected, given what happened and what transpired in the past half a year or so,” Leong told HKFP.

Founded in 2006, the Civic Party has been known for representing professionals in Hong Kong, including lawyers, accountants and scholars. Senior Counsel Audrey Eu was the party’s founding leader.

The party secured seats in the Legislative Council since 2008, but four of its members – Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki and Kenneth Leung – were ousted from the legislature in November 2020 for being “unpatriotic.” Their disqualifications triggered mass resignations by opposition legislators, leaving the legislature with mostly Beijing loyalists.

Democrats disqualify Legislative Council
(From left to right) Kwok Ka-ki, Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok and Kenneth Leung are unseated from the legislature on November 11, 2020. Photo: Dennis Kwok, via Facebook.

Leong said on Monday that the party would hold an annual general meeting on December 17, when the incumbent committee is expected to form a provisional executive committee. They will then call an emergency meeting to pass a resolution to wind up the Civic Party Limited and find a liquidator, he said.

Asked what he and the current executive committee wanted to achieve in the remaining months, Leong said there was nothing that they wanted to do except to see the winding up through “efficiently and neatly.”

“There is a time for everything, and I think that is the time for the Civic Party to wind up,” he said.

Leong added the dissolution of the Civic Party would also mark the end of his career as a politician as he had no plans to take part any further in politics.

Civic Party election
Alan Leong (third from right) and then-Civic Party members at a press conference on July 25, 2020. Photo: Civic Party.

“That’s the end of it. I think I am old enough to retire as a politician,” he said.

The party currently has around 300 members, but some have not paid their annual membership fees, meaning they would not be allowed to take part in the upcoming meetings.

Former members call for disbandment

Four former Civic Party lawmakers charged under the national security law called for the party to disband in an open letter in April last year. The letter was penned by ex-party leader Alvin Yeung, Jeremy Tam, Kwok Ka-ki and Lee Yue-shun, who are among 47 well-known political figures charged with conspiracy to commit subversion over their involvement in unofficial legislative primary elections held in July 2020.

Yeung, Tam and Kwok have been detained for more than 21 months while waiting for the high-profile case to move to trial. The trio has pleaded guilty to the charge along with 27 democrats and have asked to be sentenced “as soon as possible.” They have been “anxious” while spending close to two years in detention, their lawyers told the High Court in September.

Lee, on the other hand, has been granted bail and will stand trial along with 16 other co-defendants who denied the charge in late January next year.

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Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.