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Legislative Council of Hong Kong

Former Hong Kong lawmaker takes aim at fellow democrats in new book

Frederick Fung recalls being pressured to drop out as a by-election backup candidate in March

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 July, 2018, 7:01am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 July, 2018, 11:01am

Tension within Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp has resurfaced as one veteran politician has publicly called out fellow democrats for being “anti-democratic” in his latest book.

Announcing his resignation from the Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood (ADPL) on Thursday to concentrate on a new advocacy group, former lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee recalled his experience of being pressured to drop out as a backup candidate in the Legislative Council by-election last March to fill the vacancy left by one of the six lawmakers disqualified over the oath-taking saga.

“Some democrats have been openly anti-democratic,” Fung said. “I have them all in my book, they were against the spirit of the previous deal [in selecting a backup candidate]. What have I done wrong? So it is ‘anyone but Fung’?”

Fung pointed to Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, founder of Power for Democracy, who coordinated the primary among the democrats, for being one of those who was “anti-democratic”.

According to the agreement by Power of Democracy, Fung, who came second in the primary for the March by-election, was supposed to be a backup candidate for Edward Yiu Chung-yim.

But the result was challenged by Yiu and other pan-democrats and Fung later chose to drop out from the plan.

Fung said Cheng mentioned to him that he would become “a sinner of democracy” if he insisted on serving as backup candidate.

Disqualified lawmaker Lau Siu-lai calls for democrats to show unity as Hong Kong by-election is set for November 25

In a response to the Post, Cheng stressed that Fung took his words out of context.

Cheng said: “I was only channelling other democrats’ thoughts, who said Fung could either become a sinner or gain respect and walk away- although I took the same view too. I’ve made it clear we would support Fung if he decided to go on.”

Cheng also hit back at Fung for dragging the whole camp into trouble.

“It’s perfectly clear he did not consider the interest of the pro-democracy movement … but just ask around, who would still consider him a democrat?”

Democratic Party vice-chairman Lo Kin-hei also said it was unfair to criticise the camp as a whole. “You may be a victim at that time, but using the incident to criticise the entire democratic camp to show you stand out as particularly democratic are two separate issues.”

Veteran Hong Kong democrat Frederick Fung to quit party he founded 30 years ago

A long time sole ADPL lawmaker in Legco, Fung, 65, recalls in his latest book the bittersweet relationships and internal competition with other democrats, and his unique position as a “critical minority with one vote in Legco”.

He also explains why it was not a time to retire, although would not give a definitive answer on how he would handle future elections, one source familiar with the publication said.

During a press conference on Thursday, Fung repeatedly shrugged off the question on whether he would run in future Legco elections as an independent candidate, only saying he “has not thought about the possibility for the time being”.

Speaking on a radio programme on Friday, however, Fung said a politician should “never say never”.

During the pro-democracy camp primary in March, Fung had said in a promotional video that it would be his “last election”.

After quitting the ADPL, the veteran lawmaker’s next step will be setting up an advocacy group on livelihood and housing. He said it consisted of seven members, three local councillors, and no members from the pro-establishment camp. Fung would however remain on the governing board of the People Service Centre of the ADPL.