People Power denies it is in crisis

Rumours of internal strife unfounded, chairman says, after supporting radio station folds

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 April, 2013, 4:07am

Pro-democracy party People Power is "not in a crisis" of splitting up and its members will continue to work closely together, its founding chairman says.

Christopher Lau Gar-hung dismissed rumours of internal strife triggered by the shutdown of a radio station that had been backing the radical party.

Lau, 37, also said he would welcome former lawmaker Mandy Tam Heung-man to join People Power, provided she was accepted by one of the party's member organisations, The Frontier. Tam, previously of the Civic Party, is understood to have been seeking membership of The Frontier.

People Power faced speculation of an imminent split after screenwriter Stephen Shiu Yeuk-yuen closed down his online broadcasting platform last month. Lau had been a programme host at "Hong Kong Reporter", one of the city's biggest pro-democracy radio stations that had been mobilising support for People Power.

Shiu's public show of disappointment with People Power lawmaker Wong Yuk-man sparked talk of disunity. That was rejected by Lau, just before his re-election as chairman on Tuesday.

"There are disparities in our views, but no fundamental differences in our main political positions," he said, pointing to universal suffrage and filibustering.

"So I don't see any possibility of us breaking up." But he admitted to having reservations about the Occupy Central movement - which was calling for at least 10,000 people to block traffic in the heart of the city in July next year unless the government delivered an acceptable proposal for universal suffrage - and said he would talk to the organisers about the issue.

Lau also hinted that Tam could strengthen People Power's portfolio.

"She supports our vision and has taken part in many of our activities before," he said.

When asked whether she was joining People Power, Tam told the South China Morning Post: "Yes, there is no problem about that." She declined to comment further.