Liberal Party chairwoman Selina Chow said the party will continue to support the government after legislator James Tien stepped down as a party leader on Wednesday.
Chow admitted that Tien’s resignation will have an impact on the party, but insisted that the party is heading in the right direction and will not be marginalized, Ming Pao Daily reported on Thursday.
The party’s stance of supporting an efficient and functionable government remains unchanged, she said.
Tien resigned as party leader on Wednesday after the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) stripped him of his membership in the country’s top political advisory body for violating its rules.
Tien’s expulsion came after he called on Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to consider resigning as he could no longer govern in view of the worsening political crisis in Hong Kong.
In expelling Tien, the CPPCC Standing Committee said he violated a resolution passed by the body in March that requires delegates to support the Hong Kong leader.
Chow said Tien’s expulsion is not in any way a punishment on the Liberal Party.
She said Zhang Xiaoming, director of Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, assured her on Tuesday that the central government still sees the Liberal Party as a member of the pro-establishment camp and patriotic to both Hong Kong and the country.
The party will continue to make constructive criticisms on the government, she said.
Chan Wing-kee, a Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese political advisory group, said CCPCC chairman Yu Zhengsheng had stressed that what happened to Tien has nothing to do with the Liberal Party.
At the same time, Chan said he is not worried if the Liberal Party will become an opposition party.
Political commentator Johnny Lau said the future of James Tien and the Liberal Party will depend on what actions they take after what happened.
The key to whether Tien and the Liberal Party will continue to thrive lies in how much support they can solicit from the general public, rather than from the central government, Lau said.
Winning elections matters more than securing favors from the leaders up north, he added.
Ma Ngok, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the incident points to the difficulty of trying to find support from the business sector and winning the support of the masses through direct elections at the same time.
It also shows that the party is in short supply of heavyweight figures.
“Selina Chow is always called in to help whenever there is an emergency,” Ma said, adding that the party needs to nurture a new breed of talents.
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