Date
20 November 2017
James Tien says he will not withdraw his remarks that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying should consider stepping down due to the governance crisis in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ
James Tien says he will not withdraw his remarks that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying should consider stepping down due to the governance crisis in Hong Kong. Photo: HKEJ

James Tien: No regrets over Leung call; can talk more freely now

Senior lawmaker James Tien said he has accepted the decision of Beijing to expel him from a top Chinese government advisory body, and that he has no regrets about asking Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to consider resigning to help resolve the current crisis in the city.

Tien was stripped of his membership of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on Wednesday as Beijing took umbrage at his lack of solidarity with Leung, who is struggling to quell pro-democracy protests that are now into their second month.

Remaining defiant following his ouster, Tien told reporters that he can now speak more freely as he is no longer a CPPCC member nor the leader of the Liberal Party, Ming Pao Daily reported.

Tien gave up his top position in the Liberal Party, which is largely pro-establishment, following China’s announcement Wednesday.

The Hong Kong politician and businessman said he will keep speaking out for local people.

Tien said he may have failed to keep in mind his position as a CPPCC member when he asked Leung to step down last Friday, but added that he has no intention whatsoever to take back his words.

After an internal meeting of the Liberty Party, Tien fielded several questions from the media. He said his suggestion to Leung was justified and that he would say the same thing again if he deems it would be in Hong Kong’s interests.

If Leung shows up at the protest area in Admiralty and talks to the students there, and if he can resolve the ongoing street occupation peacefully without the use of violence, Tien said he will be the first to show support for Leung.

Asked about rumors that his ousting by CPPCC had something to do with a purported suggestion made by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, Tien said he doesn’t believe Tung had a role.

Some observers had speculated that Tung might have seized a chance to get back at Tien following the latter’s objection in 2003 to legislating Clause 23 of the Basic law, which deals with national security.

Dismissing the rumors, Tien pointed out that Tung had asked the then-vice chairwoman of the Liberty Party to join the Executive Council when he was at the helm of Hong Kong.

Asked if he would consider running for the chief executive post in the 2017 election, Tien said he is not capable of taking the job and that he is not interested.

In other comments, Tien said that though he can afford to live in any place in the world, Hong Kong is still his top choice.

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TL/JP/RC

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