New runner for the Information Technology seat Ringo Chan Kei-fu is anxious to play down any mainland links despite his leadership of a Beijing-backed student faction in the 1970s. Mr Chan, managing partner of Timeless Software, became a contender for the new functional seat after the withdrawal of a candidate backed by an election alliance within the profession, the IT Professional Group. John Tse Si-yin, Hospital Authority deputy director, bowed out because he had right of abode in Britain. The other runners are the Democratic Party's Sin Chung-kai, an elected legislator in 1995, and the Hong Kong Progressive Alliance's Professor Edward Yung Kai-ning, standing as an independent. Both Mr Sin and Professor Yung said their chances had improved with Mr Tse's withdrawal. Mr Chan said he had come forward because he did not want to see the seat being taken by a candidate with a political party background. 'There is no reason that we should let the profession be turned into a political tool, we have to defend the dignity of the profession,' he said. In 1974, Mr Chan was chairman of Lingnan College Student Union, leading the so-called 'pro-Beijing faction'. In recent years, he has taken an active part in organising his profession's National Day celebrations. Mr Chan said of his student days: 'The pro-Beijing faction back in the 1970s did not have a distinct political stance. It was very different from the student movement nowadays, which is much more mature and organised than ours.' He has not taken an active part in politics since his student days. He said his love for the nation remained the same. Asked if his views towards the Chinese Communist Party had changed, he said: 'The CCP itself has kept on changing. Therefore, whether I have changed or not is another question.' He said the information technology industry's National Day celebrations had been a tactic to win a functional seat for the profession from the mainland-appointed preparatory committee, entrusted with recommending the nine new functional seats during the handover. During the committee's deliberations, Mr Chan and other members of the profession made numerous trips to Beijing to lobby for the allocation of a seat to the sector. He was elected an Election Committee member for the subsector on April 2, with just 411 votes. Mr Tse, who topped the Election Committee poll, won 849 votes. Mr Chan believed his support was much higher than reflected by the poll results. 'I made only about 10 phone calls and visited three to four companies before the April 2 election. 'The day before the election I was afraid of losing but it turned out that many of my friends voted to support me,' he said.