Actor Stephen Chow appointed as Guangdong CPPCC member
Hong Kong actor Stephen Chow Sing-chi is one of the newest additions to Guangdong's Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference committee.
The Kung Fu Hustle star is one of 978 members adopted into the body during a provincial meeting in Guangzhou on Monday. The list consists of delegates from 32 different sectors, representing a range of political parties and organisations, as well as independent members.
The Guangdong CPPCC provincial committee, unlike at the national level, includes people from Hong Kong and Macau in a “special invitation” sector.
That sector makes up the largest number of members with a total of 281, followed by the economics sector with 77 members.
Chow is affiliated with Zhigongdang of China (ZGD), an official party composed of many returned overseas Chinese. ZGD derives from the Hung Society organisation, historically one of Sun Yat-sen’s key supporters.
Other Hong Kong celebrities on the list include Kent Tong Chun-yip, Sally Wu and Ma Dingsheng, who have served as members of the committee in previous terms.
The committee includes 170 female members, accounting for about 17 per cent of the total number.
The CCPCC is a political advisory body in China’s governing system. Its organisational hierarchy consists of the National Committee and regional committees, which include the provincial, prefecture and county level.
CPPCC members are chosen for five-year terms by the Chinese Communist Party and hold sessions at the same time as the National People’s Congress.
In practice, the CPPCC has no real power as all legislation is approved by the NPC with only consultation with the CPPCC. The dominant party in the Conference is the Communist Party of China.
On Tuesday, many netizens expressed confusion about the criteria of membership selection, particularly after seeing Chow's name on the list.
“What do celebrities know about politics? Movie stars should just be specialised in entertaining the public,” said one.
“What is the purpose of appointing celebrities as committee members? Is it for them to increase media attention, develop a side occupation, or to experience life?” commented another.
A third asked, “Why don’t people in Hong Kong protest against this?”
Some made positive comments. “The government is soliciting all kinds of talent – well done,” wrote one.
A spokesman from the Guangdong CPPCC provincial committee responded that Chow meets the criteria of “being a representative of the sector and influential” as a committee member. At the same time, he is also “willing to fulfill the duties of a committee member”.