Date
27 July 2017
Michael Tien (L) and his brother James (R) have been caught up in the blame game following a bungled walkout by pro-establishment lawmakers during the electoral reform vote last week. Photos: HKEJ
Michael Tien (L) and his brother James (R) have been caught up in the blame game following a bungled walkout by pro-establishment lawmakers during the electoral reform vote last week. Photos: HKEJ

Legco vote fiasco sparks war of words between Tien brothers

James Tien and his younger brother Michael Tien have locked horns in the wake of the pro-establishment camp’s blunder at the electoral reform vote last week.

The war of words began after Michael, in a newspaper article Monday, described the June 18 event as akin to a ship hitting an iceberg.

The pro-establishment representatives who voted at the Legislative Council were like passengers on a sinking ship who jumped into rescue boats, while watching 33 other passengers die, he wrote.

The comment made it clear that Michael, who belongs to the New People’s Party, feels that the eight lawmakers from the establishment camp who didn’t participate in the walkout by their colleagues had acted in a selfish manner.  

The lawmakers who staged a walkout were trying to right the ship, while the others merely chose a safe option, Michael wrote.  

Following the publication of the article, elder brother James — who is a member of the Liberal Party – hit back, saying that the ‘ship’ metaphor and the logic were flawed, Apple Daily reported.

He insisted that it was the right thing to do for the Liberal Party to cast its votes. 

In fact, it was he and the seven other lawmakers who had stayed on the ship, even though they knew the vessel was sinking, James said, dismissing his brother’s accusations. 

Michael wrote in his article that the embarrassment could have been avoided if all the members of the pro-establishment camp joined the walkout. If there were not enough members in the house, Legco chairman would have given more time for the vote, he noted.

Lam Tai-fai, a legislator representing the industrial sector, said following others out of the Legco building in a herd-like manner is not necessarily a sign of unity.

Liberal Party member and Basic Law Institute chairman Alan Hoo said the walkout was a farce. It just showed that there was lack of internal coordination within the pro-establishment camp, he said.

Selina Chow, honorary chairperson of the Liberal Party, wrote on a social media platform that Michael Tien should reflect on his words. He should use his brain and not just follow his party leaders in the future, she said.

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