Hong Kong Labour Party chair makes surprise departure over internal disagreement

Vice-chairman Chiu Shi-shun will replace former party chief Suzanne Wu Sui-shan until new leader is chosen

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 August, 2017, 2:09pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 August, 2017, 10:49pm

The Hong Kong Labour Party has been dealt a blow, with chairwoman Suzanne Wu Sui-shan making a surprise announcement that she is leaving over an internal disagreement.

The party, co-founded by pro-democracy stalwart Lee Cheuk-yan in 2011, announced in a statement on Wednesday morning that its executive committee “respected Wu’s decision to quit and thanked her for her devotion and contribution”.

Wu confirmed to the Post that she had quit “to protest against the party’s handling of some matters and some party members’ unfair treatment [of her]”.

“When others cannot be fair to you, at least you can be fair to yourself,” she said.

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Wu added that while she had no plans to join any other party, she would continue to take part in social and political activism, as well as take interest in labour issues.

When Lee founded the Labour Party in December 2011, the New Territories West lawmaker was joined by two pan-democrat colleagues in the Legislative Council: Hong Kong Island representative Cyd Ho Sau-lan and social welfare representative Peter Cheung Kwok-che.

In September 2012, the party secured a fourth seat when Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung was elected in New Territories East.

But Lee and Ho were defeated in the Legco elections last year, while Peter Cheung retired. Fernando Cheung is currently the party’s only lawmaker.

Wu ran in the Kowloon East constituency in the Legco election last year, but she was one of the pro-democracy candidates who pulled out of the race before polling day to increase their political allies’ chances.

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In a statement on Wednesday, the Labour Party said its 27-year-old vice-chairman Chiu Shi-shun, who heads the party’s youth department, will be the party’s acting head until a new chairman is elected by the end of the year.

“Our secretariat has received Ms Wu Sui-shan’s written notification that she decided to resign from the chairwoman [post] and quit the Labour Party after careful consideration. The party’s executive committee has repeatedly asked her to stay, but in the end it respected her decision,” the party said.

After taking the helm of the party in December 2015, Wu urged the Hong Kong government to put forward policies to alleviate the caregiving burden women had borne for years. She also vowed to advocate gender equality in the city’s political participation.