POLITICS

Lawmaker Peter Cheung plans time off to have stomach tumour treated

Peter Cheung, diagnosed after hunger strike in March, says growth 'not as serious as cancer'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 October, 2014, 3:44am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 October, 2014, 3:44am

Pan-democratic lawmaker Peter Cheung Kwok-che is taking two months of leave from next month to receive treatment for a malignant tumour that is taking up 60 per cent of his stomach.

Cheung, of the Labour Party, said he saw no need to resign his social welfare seat on the Legislative Council, as he believed he would be fine after a period of treatment and rest.

"This is not as serious as cancer," he told reporters yesterday.

Cheung, 63, was diagnosed with gastric malignant lymphoma after he realised he was unable to regain the weight he lost during a hunger strike in March.

The unionist legislator had gone on the strike with 16 other pan-democrats, including Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan, outside the HSBC headquarters in Central to campaign for universal suffrage.

The protest was aimed at the central government and at pro-establishment lawmakers who had been spreading the word that it would be impossible for the public to nominate candidates in the 2017 chief executive election. This was before the National People's Congress Standing Committee handed down its framework for political reform on August 31.

Cheung's hunger strike continued for 80 hours.

His treatment would include a hospital stay to receive radiotherapy, he said, but he would not undergo targeted therapy or chemotherapy, which were used to treat cancer.

Cheung is a registered social worker and president of the Social Workers' General Union.

He graduated with a certificate in social work in 1975 and joined Caritas, serving in various neighbourhoods.

He was first elected to Legco in 2008 and co-founded the Labour Party with Lee Cheuk-yan, Cyd Ho Sau-lan and Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung in 2011. In the legislature, Cheung focuses on labour, social welfare and poverty issues, including standard working hours, population policy, services for the elderly and mentally ill, and social integration for ethnic minorities.