18 February 2019
Michael Tien said he felt the New People's Party was deviating from its original principles. Photo: HKEJ.
Michael Tien said he felt the New People's Party was deviating from its original principles. Photo: HKEJ.

Michael Tien, Regina Ip trade criticisms after break-up

Lawmaker Michael Tien said he resigned from the New People’s Party because he felt it was deviating from what it aimed to position itself when he and party chairwoman Regina Ip established it more than six years ago.

In a radio interview on Tuesday, a day after he officially announced his break-up with the party, Tien cited Ip’s decision to join the Executive Council led by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in 2012.

Ip’s decision contradicted one of the party’s original purposes, which is to monitor the government, Tien said.

He said Ip’s move put him in a dilemma-either he had to go against his will and support the government or stick to his stance at the expense of the party’s image.

The other thing that pushed him to quit is his perception that the party is getting closer to Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, despite the consensus in the party that it has to maintain its distance.

Tien said the party had refrained from inviting officials from the Liaison Office to participate its activities in beginning, but that later changed.

He criticized Ip for even reading out a congratulatory message from Zhang Xiaoming, the Liaison Office director, at the party’s anniversary celebration.

Tien said his resignation from the party, where he had been the vice chairman, could help “refresh” its image.

Reacting to Tien’s criticisms, Ip said she chose to join the Executive Council in order to understand better what the government was thinking and help maintain cohesion in the party.

If her joining the Executive Council was the reason why Tien left the party, Ip said he should have quit right after she made the decision in 2012.

She said the fact that she was reelected to the Legislative Council with a high level of support afterwards showed that her decision was right.

As for the relationship with the Liaison Office, Ip stressed the party has never tried to keep a distance intentionally, adding that there is no such guideline in the party’s constitution.

This implies that Tien doesn’t really understand the party, Ip added.

Tien’s resignation came after Ip lost her bid to become Hong Kong’s next leader, having failed to secure enough nominations to become an official candidate in the March 26 chief executive election.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 12.

[Chinese version 中文版]

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