Beijing 'did not want precedent'

Insiders say this is why Donald Tsang was not appointed to the top advisory body

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 January, 2013, 4:53am

Beijing's unwillingness to set a precedent to have every former SAR chief executive take up the vice-chairmanship of the nation's top advisory body could be the reason Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was denied the post, insiders said.

In Beijing, Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference standing committee member Chan Wing-kee, who has seen the proposed list of members who will serve for the next five-year term, said immediate past chief executive Tsang was not named as a member while his predecessor Tung Chee-hwa would retain his top post.

"Tung will certainly remain a CPPCC vice-chairman. It could be too much if two of the CPPCC vice-chairmen came from Hong Kong," Chan said. "Another reason may be that [Beijing] does not want to set a precedent, that every former Hong Kong chief executive can become a CPPCC vice-chairman."

He said Tung, in his position, had contributed to the nation by, for example, promoting international diplomacy and it could be why he had retained his post. Ng Hong-mun, a former local deputy to the National People's Congress, shared Chan's view.

CPPCC member Lee Kok-keung also echoed the view that the central government did not want to set a precedent.

But he believed Beijing was not concerned about having more than one CPPCC vice-chairman from Hong Kong.

"It is not about the number. What matters [to Beijing] is that whether the person is suitable or not," Lee said.

Local entrepreneurs Ann Tse-kai and Henry Fok Ying-tung served as vice-chairmen of the body at the same time from 1993 to 2000.

Liberal Party lawmaker James Tien Pei-chun, a local delegate to the CPPCC, said: "If two of the vice-chairmen were from Hong Kong, would it mean that Hong Kong receives preferential treatment compared to mainland provinces?"

Tien did not rule out the possibility that corruption allegations against Tsang had cost him the CPPCC spot. "Even during his term in the top job, he seemed to have achieved little in solving housing and poverty problems in Hong Kong," he said.