Hong Kong's Democratic Party set to probe Nelson Wong over his backing for government reform package

Five party members lodge complaint with disciplinary committee against Nelson Wong, who has urged backing for government reform package

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 April, 2015, 12:20am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 April, 2015, 1:17pm

The Democratic Party appears ready to investigate a member of its own central committee, Nelson Wong Sing-chi, after Wong publicly called on pandemocratic lawmakers to back Beijing's restrictive reform model for the 2017 chief executive election.

At least five Democrats have written to the party's disciplinary committee regarding remarks Wong made on RTHK on Monday. During his radio appearance he urged his allies in the Legislative Council not to vote down the reform plan even though it follows the central government's framework.

Central and Western district councillor Ted Hui Chi-fung is leading the call for the party to investigate whether Wong had violated any of its internal rules. Party veterans Zachary Wong Wai-yin and Josephine Chan Shu-ying, both district councillors, have signed onto the complaint, as well as two more ordinary members.

"It's heartbreaking," said Zachary Wong, who has known Nelson Wong for decades. "Nelson Wong used to be a legislator and I am sure that he fully understands politically what kind of drastic impact his remarks would bring to the party."

Nelson Wong was the second Democrat after former lawmaker Tik Chi-yuen to call on their counterparts in Legco to accept the limited democracy based on Beijing's framework, which stipulates that only two to three hopefuls who win majority support from a 1,200-strong nominating committee can go forward to a public vote.

Zachary Wong said the pair had taken advantage of the Democratic Party's name to pursue their own goals.

"No one would care what they say if they were not members of the Democratic Party," he stressed. "If there's such a big discrepancy between their stance and the party's, then why don't they simply quit the party and use another capacity to say whatever they want?"

Wong also said it was "irresponsible" for the pair to float their opinions publicly before voicing them via the party mechanism.

The duo's remarks came as some moderate pan-democrats proposed a public petition to exert pressure on pan-democratic lawmakers to back the reform proposal.

According to the party's internal rules, a complaint tabled by five members could prompt an investigation by the disciplinary committee, which would determine whether punishment, such as expulsion from the party, was necessary.

The complaint was only filed against Nelson Wong since Tik is not a member of the decision-making central committee.

Hui expressed hope that the complaint would clear up public confusion and reiterate the party's position that any model which allowed for candidates to be "screened" on political grounds was unacceptable.

"The remarks [by Nelson Wong] and the planned petition have done nothing but prompt the Democratic Party to take a tougher stance," he said.

Nelson Wong said he believed the party's disciplinary committee would hold a fair and just hearing regarding the complaint.