Hong Kong leader CY Leung voted in as delegate to China’s top political advisory body
Sources say Leung might be appointed to vice-chairman role at a later session; delegates reveal a minority of voters had doubts due to UGL deal probe
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was voted in as a delegate to Beijing’s top political advisory body on Tuesday.
Of the 280 delegates from the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference’s standing committee who took part in a vote to approve the bundled nominations of Leung and three other mainland officials, 275 voted in favour while only one voted against and four abstained.
Sources told the Post that Leung will be further nominated and then appointed as vice-chairman of the CPPCC during the body’s annual session from March 3 to 13.
Hours before the votes were cast in Beijing, Leung had said that holding a dual role as the city’s top official and a state leader would not hinder his administration of local affairs.
Speaking to reporters before attending his weekly cabinet meeting, Leung was asked whether the “one country, two systems” principle would be undermined.
The chief executive said: “The principle is not an empty or abstract concept,” adding that the policy was “clearly defined in Article 160 of the Basic Law”.
He added that there was “no relationship” between his decision not to seek a second term as chief executive and his possible appointment as a state leader.
The past practice of giving former top Hong Kong and Macau leaders ranking positions on the CPPCC is expected to follow Leung’s appointment, effectively turning him into an elder statesman.
In December, Leung announced he would not seek re-election, citing family reasons, although doubts arose as to whether he enjoyed Beijing’s support following years of political division in Hong Kong.
On Tuesday, more than 280 CPPCC delegates from around the country were divided into several groups to discuss various matters before the vote.
One delegate, Lo Man-tuen, revealed that in his group, some members had expressed concern over a probe by the Independent Commission Against Corruption into a HK$50 million deal between Leung and Australian firm UGL.
Lo said: “There were delegates who were worried, they reminded us that [Leung] was involved in this matter, and asked if there would be a problem. But I believe that the matter was considered and examined.”
“Most of the delegates believe that there is no problem,” Lo added.
“The vast majority of delegates agree it is suitable for Leung [to become a delegate] and support the central government’s view.”
Delegate Tam Yiu-chung – former chairman of the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong – said his group comprised 40 members, mostly from Hong Kong.
“We discussed and supported Leung’s appointment,” he said. “We agreed this was an acknowledgement of his work and the contributions he made over the last five years.”
Tam added that Foreign Minister Wang Yi addressed delegates and talked about worldwide developments at the session. The group then voted on various matters, including Leung’s membership.
A source said Leung would be nominated as CPPCC vice-chairman on March 10 at a meeting chaired by state leader Yu Zhengsheng. Leung was expected to be elevated to the position of vice-chairman three days later on March 13, the source added.
Confirming Tuesday’s vote, CPPCC member Anthony Wu Ting-yuk declined to say if Leung would be further nominated, but he added that Yu had told delegates on Monday that there “might be other arrangements to approve” at the annual session.
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.