Founding Hong Kong Democratic Party member quits for position in Carrie Lam’s cabinet
Resignation precedes expected announcement that he will be the new labour minister
Hong Kong Democratic Party founding member and social policy professor Dr Law Chi-kwong, who has been tipped to be the next secretary for labour and welfare in the next administration, filed an application to quit the party that was endorsed on Tuesday.
The announcement came a day before an expected announcement of the future cabinet team by the next chief executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, that Law would be appointed the Secretary for Labour and Welfare.
The party said in a statement on Tuesday night the 63-year-old former lawmaker had filed an application to withdraw from the party earlier in the day. The party’s central standing committee respected his decision and approved the application without delay.
“The Democratic Party is grateful to Law Chi-kwong’s selfless contribution to the party and the democratic movement,” the statement read.
“Now we will be pursuing our own paths with different positions and roles. We still hope that he can use his talents and continue to serve Hong Kong in the new position.”
Law will be the second pan-democrat to join the administration since Hong Kong’s handover in 1997 from British to Chinese rule, after incumbent housing minister Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung.
Law served the party in several positions, including as vice-chairman and secretary general.
The University of Hong Kong social policy academic is considered a moderate among his colleagues and has served as an election strategist.
He is an ally of the future city leader, having served on several government advisory bodies, including the Commission on Poverty, when Lam was chief secretary, Hong Kong’s No 2 official.
While declining to comment on his future in April, Law told the Post he had recently obtained a 10-year home return permit to travel to mainland China and went there twice in late March.
Beijing decided last year that the travel documents would be reissued to some pan-democrats who had had them revoked following the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing for their pro-democracy stance.
Without the documents, visits to the mainland are not allowed except for one-off permission.