CY Leung wins nomination as vice-chairman of China’s top political advisory body

Hong Kong leader’s elevation had raised concerns over dual role as state leader

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 March, 2017, 12:54pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 March, 2017, 2:50am

Hong Kong’s leader Leung Chun-ying has won overwhelming support from within the mainland’s top political advisory body in being nominated as the body’s vice-chairman for his firm stance against pro-independence advocacy and the Occupy Central protests.

After 294 Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference standing committee members voted on Friday in favour of a motion to nominate Leung, with two abstained, all eyes are on how the votes will turn out when the actual appointment will be put to vote by all CPPCC delegates on Monday.

Complicating the situation is the Hong Kong graft buster’s ongoing probe into a controversial HK$50 million deal between Leung and Australian firm UGL. Some CPPCC delegates have expressed concern over the probe when Leung was first voted in as a CPPCC delegate last week.

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“He was nominated as CPPCC vice-chairman because of his contribution to Hong Kong, in particular his firm stance against the Occupy Central movement and putting it to an end. It was also because of his firm stance against pro-independence advocacy and cracking down on it,” CPPCC standing committee member Chan wing-kee said in Beijing.

If the appointment is voted through on Monday, Chan said Leung will immediately become the body’s vice-chairman.

That raised questions over whether his dual role would contravene the “one country, two systems” principle, as Article 22 of the Basic Law states that no mainland authority shall meddle in Hong Kong’s internal affairs.

But Chan did not see any problems as the CPPCC is a consultative body that does not hold administrative power.

CPPCC delegate Henry Tang Ying-yen, who lost to Leung in the 2012 Chief Executive election, did not think Leung’s role as vice-chairman would clash with his role as Hong Kong’s leader. But he added that Leung might need to take additional leave from work to attend CPPCC meetings, as the body had already held 54 meetings in its current term.

Liberal Party’s Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee, a CPPCC delegate who was also a critic of Leung, was not surprised to see the nomination as Leung had accomplished a number of tasks which Beijing assigned to him over the past few years.

She said she will try to find out why two people abstained in the vote before she made her voting decision.

Professor Lau Siu-kai, of the semi-official Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said the two abstain votes would not affect Leung’s credibility as the vice-chairman of the top political advisory body as it only reflected mainland politics had become “more open than before”.

Simon Peh Yun-lu, head of the ICAC, said on Friday: “Regardless of the social status of the target, we will still investigate as long as the incident took place in Hong Kong and is related to bribery, corruption and misconduct in public office.”

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When asked if Leung ever asked the ICAC about the case, Peh shook his head and said: “We both know the rules.”

Democratic Party’s chairman Wu Chi-wai said Leung must resign as Hong Kong’s leader if he was elected as CPPCC vice-chairman because holding a dual role would break the “one country, two systems” principle.

Chief Executive’s Office said that it is was not suitable to reply at this stage because the appointment would still need to be put to a vote for all CPPCC delegates.

The unpopular Leung has cited family reasons for not running for the top job again. If he was elected as CPPCC vice-chairman, he would be following the footstep of Tung Chee-hwa, the former Chief Executive who was appointed CPPCC vice-chairman after he stepped down from the top Hong Kong post.

Additional reporting by Christy Leung