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Leung Chun-ying

Outgoing Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying nominated to join China’s top political advisory body

Leader slated to join Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and could even be elevated to status of vice-chairman

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 February, 2017, 4:07pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 March, 2017, 10:44am

Hong Kong’s outgoing chief ­executive, Leung Chun-ying, has been nominated to the mainland’s top political advisory body, a move that could pave the way for him to become a vice-chairman.

The elevation would follow past practice of giving former top Hong Kong and Macau leaders ranking ­positions in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and turn Leung – widely un­popular at home – into an elder statesman.

The advisory body’s standing committee has received a list of nominees to be considered during the upcoming session, ­according to Chan Wing-kee, a Hong Kong tycoon and committee member. Other names put ­forward include Shang Fulin, the former chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission; Xu Shaoshi, former chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission; and former commerce minister Gao Hucheng.

“There is a meeting on Tuesday to pass the nominations,” Chan said. “The CPPCC will vote on various issues including ­personnel matters in the closing ceremony of the upcoming ­session in March.”

Chan said the list made no ­reference to the likelihood of Leung becoming vice-chairman, which the South China Morning Post first reported two weeks ago, but he described the nomination as meaningful. “He decided not to run for chief executive again, but he could continue to contribute to Hong Kong by joining the CPPCC and [go onto] even higher office,” Chan said.

Leung Chun-ying set to be elevated to vice-chairman of the CPPCC

Leung announced in December he would not seek re-election, citing family reasons, although there have been doubts about whether he continued to enjoy Beijing’s support following years of political division in Hong Kong. He has given little indication of his plans after he steps down in June and did not respond to media ­inquiries about the possible ­appointment to the CPPCC.

The CPPCC currently has 21 vice-chairmen, among them Tung Chee-hwa, Hong Kong’s first chief executive, and Edmund Ho Hau-wah, the former Macau leader. They were given the roles the same year they joined the CPPCC – Tung in 2005 and Ho in 2010 – although both were out of office when they joined. Leung would hold the two roles simultaneously, at least for a few months.

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When asked whether that was a concern, former Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said Hong Kong stood to benefit as Leung’s position within the CPPCC would elevate the city’s status.

In Beijing, CPPCC delegate Tam Yiu-chung also said the dual roles were an advantage for the city. “It is an acknowledgment of his work,” Tam said. “There are a lot of Hong Kong delegates in the CPPCC. It’s good for Hong Kong to have more people and opportunities to take part in national ­affairs, and even speak on the level of a state leader.”

Additional reporting by Nikki Sun and Phila Siu