Friday, November 27, 2015   

Tung picks 'dilute' bodies

Michael Ng

Monday, December 29, 2003

The government's appointment of 102 district councillors on Saturday

has diluted the election victory of the democratic camp, political

academics have said.

They also agreed this would make it easier for the government to

handle the various district councils.

Lingnan University politics and sociology professor Li Pang-kwong told

MetroNews that although the number of political party appointees had

been slashed from 41 in 1999 to 21 this year, the members appointed to

the councils last week would make it easier for the government to


handle district level concerns.

"These appointed councillors are, to a certain extent, a tool with

which the government can counter the political powers in district

councils," he said. "As in the past, most of the appointees were

pro-government or persons without a clear political stance.

"In general, the appointees ensure that no district council is in the

hands of the democrats."

Of the 21 appointed members with political backgrounds, eight were

from the Liberal Party and six from the Democratic Alliance for

Betterment of Hong Kong, which was heavily defeated in last month's


Six others came from the Progressive Alliance and the remaining one

from the New Century Forum.

The new appointees, including 43 newcomers, brought the total

membership of the 18 councils to 529.

Li said the new appointees offered the government the guarantee it

needed should it require the support of district councils on

controversial policy issues.

"The relationship between the government and these appointees was

always asymmetrical. When the government wants to launch certain

essential or controversial political issues, it can turn to these

appointees for support," he said.

Anti-Appointment Alliance spokesman Richard Tsoi said the government's

appointments went against the sentiment expressed at the ballot box.

"The election turnout rate was a clear indication of the people's

views, yet the government chose to ignore them," he said.

"We noticed that the appointed members have severely distorted the

proportion of pro-democrat representation in many district councils."

However, Tsoi said democrats were not unduly concerned as the

government would pay a high price for ignoring the public at the

upcoming Legislative Council elections.

"At the district council elections, we faced and beat strong

opposition from entrenched appointed members who had already

established their community networks. As such, it will be difficult

for the newcomers to set up effective networks in the short time to

the next election.

"However, over a longer period, they will have an unfair advantage in

that they are getting financial support from the government which will

help them run for office in future elections."

As a sign of protest, about a dozen elected district councillors from

the Democratic Party staged a rally at the Central Government Offices

yesterday, while members of 7.1 People Pile put on a drama at the Mong

Kok pedestrian zone that made fun of Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's

decision to appoint district council members.

Meanwhile, Basic Law drafter Raymond Wu insisted that the

appointed-seat mechanism was in line with the provisions of the SAR's

mini-constitution. He stressed it was important for the government to

maintain a balance at all levels of society.

He attacked those groups who tried to make political capital out of

the appointment system, saying they were trying to stir up public


"Certain groups want to use this as an excuse to create another wave

of public discontent," he said. "I say, go ahead and try, and we

will wait and see."

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