DAB may press Legco president on Communist membership

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 October, 2008, 12:00am

Veteran Beijing loyalist Tsang Yok-sing, elected Legislative Council president yesterday, may be pressed by his own party to disclose whether he is a member of the Chinese Communist Party.

This follows refusals by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker to say whether he is a member.

DAB vice-chairman Lau Kong-wah agreed that increasing public pressure for disclosure of Mr Tsang's background must be addressed, and said his party would discuss the matter at a meeting later.

'The public certainly has an interest in knowing whether Tsang Yok-sing is a Communist Party member,' Mr Lau said after Mr Tsang's widely expected election.

'If people say that he has to be more forthcoming in the matter because he has become Legco president, then I think he has to listen.'

Mr Lau did not know whether the DAB would allow dual membership.

At the first meeting of the new legislature, 36 of the 60 legislators voted for Mr Tsang in a secret ballot against 24 for the Democrats' Fred Li Wah-ming. After his election, Mr Tsang said: 'I will bear in mind the expectations, concerns and requests of fellow members. I will try my best not to let down those who have supported me, and strive to win the trust of the rest.'

Although pan-democrats assumed Mr Li would only gain support from the camp's 23 lawmakers, one other legislator voted for him.

Mr Li described the result as an encouraging breakthrough, saying he presumed his extra vote came from an independent.

'It's a message, although not a strong message, that at least the council is not really just a split between pan-democrats and the pro-establishment camp,' he said. 'Hopefully, this shows independents will be willing to co-operate with the pan-democrats on other issues.'

He admitted he received positive signals when he approached non-pan-democrats before the vote, but would not disclose who they were.

Before the vote, League of Social Democrats lawmakers Leung Kwok-hung and Albert Chan Wai-yip demanded that Mr Tsang reveal whether he belonged to the Communist Party. 'Being the Legco president is a sober business and the people cannot be misled and lied to on whether he is a communist,' Mr Chan said.

But Mr Tsang stood firm when asked whether the Communist Party's platform required its members to support the Basic Law.

'The Communist Party's platform and the duties of Legco president are two separate and unrelated issues,' he said.

Mr Tsang was asked whether he was a party member during an election forum on Monday for the candidates for president.