A stealth revolution in the Civic Party
Is a quiet coup going on within the Civic Party?
Until now, the party has been the most intransigent and tough-minded among mainstream political groupings in their dealings with Beijing. This is especially apparent in its denunciations of the government's electoral reform proposal.
No wonder. The party has been dominated by such hardline anti-communist barristers as Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, Audrey Eu Yuet-mee and Alan Leong Kah-kit, who has become the de facto spokesman for the total rejectionist stance of the 20-plus pan-democrats in the Legislative Council.
But times are changing. Leong, like Eu and Ng before him, may soon be old hat. Prominent party member Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, who represents the legal sector in Legco, came back to Hong Kong as part of a Bar Association trip to Beijing sounding all conciliatory and Beijing-friendly.
He seems to be following the footsteps of fellow party member Ronny Tong Ka-wah, who has essentially broken ranks with Ng, Eu and Leong, and has called into question their rejectionism, which he describes as a dead end.
Echoing Wang Guangya, director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Kwok said Beijing and the pan-democrats needed to build communication channels to enhance understanding and trust. This is irrespective of whether the government's reform package is passed or vetoed in Legco.
As quoted in Sing Tao newspaper, Kwok made the shock statement that the Civic Party's old guard would likely to be replaced in the 2016 Legco election, and that new party members would adopt his more conciliatory stance. Among those he names as supporters are: Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Jeremy Tam Man-ho and party favourite Tanya Chan Suk-chong.
In reply to a response to the Chinese-language paper, Leong denied he was an obstacle to working with Beijing. Never one to miss an opportunity to thumb his nose at Beijing, he accused the central government of bad faith and sowing internal divisions.
In Leong's bitter and paranoid mind, every move by the government and Beijing is to be denounced first and questions to be asked later. He is the type of democrat who is getting us nowhere.