Sacking James Tien (plus sidelining Tsang Yok-sing and Li Ka-shing)? You risk alienating pro-regime allies

[Updated on Mar. 1, 2016]

Original post:

If I could advise CY Leung, I would tell him to drop the proposed sacking of James Tien. This advice is based on my knowledge of contentious politics.

Upper classes and business elites in every autocracy tend to be pro-regime. You need them to maintain your ruling coalition. They would not normally support the opposition — unless you alienate them and drive them into the hands of the protestors. This is called the mechanism of regime defection in theories of contentious politics.

Mend fences with James Tien. Keep in mind that many HK business elites supported Henry Tang rather than you during the last CE “election” (by the 1,200-member election committee). Moreover, this is not the  first act to alienate HK’s rich and famous. The New China News Agency openly criticized 4 of the richest last week for not explicitly condemning the Umbrella Movement. You are  alienating the entire spectrum of business elites. If you continue down this path, they may well conclude that supporting genuine universal franchise can better serve their interest in the long-term.

My earlier “advice” turned out to be correct. I told a friend on Thu, Sep. 25:  “If I were to advise CY, I would tell him to leave the striking students alone until they go back to school, and to ignore the Occupy Central which was due to start on Oct. 1. If you don’t arrest protestors, they will just lose steam in a few days and then go home.” Unfortunately, CY didn’t hear me. By arresting students on Sep. 26-27, CY created a chain of reactions that culminated in the Umbrella Movement. See “background” and “backfire” and “more police and thug abuses.”

Unless CY really wants to further strengthen the Umbrella Movement, then sack James Tien, and do more to intimidate business elites!

Liberal leader James Tien Pei-chun to be axed from CPPCC after calling for CY Leung to resign:

CPPCC member Chan Wing-kee said the proposal to sack Tien was based on the advisory body’s charter, which empowered the committee to remove a delegate who violated the charter or a resolution of the CPPCC’s plenary session. A resolution that delegates must “resolutely support the chief executives of Hong Kong and Macau to govern in accordance with laws” was passed at the CPPCC’s plenary session in March.

Tien – whose resignation from the Executive Council days after the July 1 march in 2003 forced then chief executive Tung Chee-hwa to withdraw the controversial national security legislation – could not be reached for comment yesterday.

James Tian Faces CPPCC Expulsion After Calling CY Leung


On Oct. 25, the official New China News Agency published a commentary entitled “Hong Kong tycoons reluctant to take side amid Occupy turmoil” :

Sitting next to Tung at the meeting with President Xi was Li Ka- shing who made a statement on Oct. 15, calling on the Occupy protesters to go home and not to “let today’s passion become tomorrow’s regrets.” The Asia’s wealthiest man did not make it clear whether or not he agrees with the appeals of the protesters…

Other Hong Kong tycoons, such as Lee Shau-kee, nicknamed “Hong Kong’s Warrenn Buffett,” Kuok Hock Nien known for his sugar refineries in Asia, and Woo Kwong-ching whose businesses range from Hong Kong’s cable TV to the Star Ferry, have all remained mute… none of the tycoons at President Xi’s meeting has expressed support to the police’s handling of the demonstrations and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s government. (

This commentary generated such a storm that it was promptly taken down. Here is a saved copy: tycoons reluctant to take side amid Occupy turmoil – Xinhua |

Beijing warns Hong Kong tycoons to toe the line

Updates after sacking:

James Tien won’t run for Legco if CY Leung doesn’t run for the CE 田北俊批梁振英倘連任難和諧 損一國兩制前途

James Tien says Chief Executive CY Leung is ‘ruining’ Hong Kong

Defiant James Tien repeated call for CY Leung to quit following CPPCC expulsion:

“Lawmakers are [staging] a non-cooperation movement, while … students, Occupy protesters and anti-Occupy people are disrupting social order,” Tien said. He made the proposal “so Leung’s successor could start a dialogue with pan-democrats”. Tien insisted: “Nothing has changed since then, therefore I see no reason to retract it.”

James Tian Faces CPPCC Expulsion After Calling CY Leung

On video but not in text:

By resigning…, I could speak more freely to contribute to HK in striking the right balance between one country and two systems, and more importantly, to make HK a more amicable place for all of us and our children and grandchildren to live in.”

James Tien asked Legco to invite protesters to Occupy inquiry:

During the British colonial rule, Tien said, Hong Kong did not have “absolute democracy” but enjoyed freedom and the rule of law. Today, however, both freedom and the rule of law have been shattered, he said.

James Tien asks Legco to invite protesters to Occupy inquiry

James Tien urged CY to talk with protesting students:


Selina Chow warns pro-establishment politicians over voters’ support

Liberal Party says alienating them would not help with effective governance of HK: 方剛:與自由黨劃界對中央非好事

[Dec. 5] James Tien visited Scholarism students on  indefinite hunger strike: 田少探絕食學生 游說特首對話

[Dec. 15] James Tien sends conciliatory message in dialogue with student leaders

[Jan. 14, 2015] James Tien criticized CY Leung’s policy address and his poor governance: 田北俊:梁振英似測量師做測量報告,而非施政報告

[Mar. 27] James Tien said that CY has done a very poor job, that CY Leung has represented Beijing rather than HK and has not fought for HK’s interest: video 田北俊:個個選都會贏梁振英,因為佢太差 , 田少金句寸爆


1. 我認同陳婉嫻話CY仲衰過Donald。

2. 我唔覺得梁振英有盡力去爭取高度自治。

3. 梁振英心目中嗰句,我唔覺得佢想通過政改方案。

4. 身為行政長官,有嘢想做但做唔到,梁振英今日應該辭職。

5. (葉劉、林鄭、曾鈺成、范太,甚至包括我、余若薇)邊個出嚟選都會贏梁振英,因為佢太差。

6. (如果有人用槍指住你,葉劉同梁振英你揀邊個?)我可唔可以投白票?如果唔得我只好投葉劉,咁唔係點喎?

[May 5]  James Tien forks out HK$250,000 for HKU poll on electoral reform:  Tien apparently has not informed the government and Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong about his decision.

[June 1] HK people should not blame CY Leung. He has no authority but has simply been following Beijing’s wishes  田北俊:港人絕對錯怪梁振英因權不在他手上

[June 19] James Tien and his Liberal Party colleagues were among those who stayed at the Legislative Council chamber and thus spoiled the walkout by pro-establishment legislators on June 18. James Tien said afterwards that Ip and Lam were not leaders of the pro-establishment camp and there was no reason to follow the walkout.  See 建制群插民建聯. Here is an analysis of the deep differences between the Liberal Party and Uncle Fat:

Tien would likely have been happy to wait for any other sick old man, but not Fat Suk…

[Tien] is best remembered for helping to sink the bill enacting the national security provisions of Article 23 in 2003, leading to the downfall of former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa. After that, Tien was seen as disloyal to the pro-establishment camp, and his political capital quickly diminished.

Lau withdrew his rural fiefdom’s support for the Liberal Party from 2004 onward, reportedly at the urging of Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong. This is why Tien failed to retain his New Territories East seat in the 2008 Legislative Council elections…

Second, Lam should remember that Tien had a score to settle with him after Lam split the Liberal Party in 2009 by founding the breakaway group Economic Synergy, which became the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong in 2012.

[July 23]  James Tien fires away with sarcastic Facebook posts

[Oct. 15, 2015] Pro-Beijing lawmakers ‘take orders from CY’ in electing LegCo committee chairs, James Tien says

Liberal Party lawmaker James Tien Pei-chun has said that pro-Beijing camp lawmakers must seek Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s approval before electing the chair and the deputy chair of the legislature’s house committees… “But [the other pro-Beijing parties] will always fight with the pan-democrats if they are in charge, [they] take orders from CY, we do not agree with that!” He added that the public appreciated the image of the Liberal Party and that it was a “pro-Beijing party who dares to say no to 689 [Leung Chun-ying]”, that it will attract more votes to the party in the coming District Council election.

[Dec. 7, 2015] 版權條例泛民不信任CY 田北俊個人反對草案


The “retiring” of ministers Tsang Tak-sing and Paul Tang

[July 21] Two Hong Kong government ministers Tsang Tak-sing and Paul Tang replaced in shock cabinet reshuffle

Labour Party stalwart Lee Cheuk-yan condemned Lau’s appointment as “shameful”, complaining that the new minister “did not even pretend to be neutral” and might favour his political allies in the coming district elections.

A battle between “new patriots” such as CY Leung and “old patriots” such as the Tsang brothers 罷官事件反映「新愛國」質素低劣

Pro-Beijing camp slights CY Leung following sudden ‘resignation’ of loyalist

Why Leung’s own allies are having buyer’s remorse

Tai kung pao continues to champion Tsang Tak-sing in defiance of the Liaison Office 《大公》連日刊文表揚曾德成 不滿政府未高度評價

Tsang [Tak-shing] loves the party, but does the party love him?

DAB caught between serving HK people and pleasing Beijing

Starry Lee says Leung’s personality is prone to create conflicts 李慧琼:梁振英有性格特質可能造成矛盾

Since then, Tsang Yok-sing has become a vocal critic of CY:

Tsang Yok-sing: If I were 10 years younger, I’d run for chief executive

Without naming names, Jasper Tsang slams ‘arrogant leaders’ – but insists it’s not a dig at CY Leung

Jasper Tsang calls gov’t source who spread reshuffle rumours an ‘idiot who could not be any dumber’

Hong Kong’s Disunited Front — Frustration simmers even among pro-Beijing loyalists;  Outgoing Hong Kong Legco chief warns ‘one country, two systems’ will fall apart if Beijing keeps on interfering

People need to be careful about what to ‘de-colonise’, LegCo president says

Tsang says he is exercising voice rather than exit precisely because he is loyal to the party 忠誠發聲:   政治經濟學家赫希曼(Albert Hirschman)的經典著作《退出、發聲與忠誠》(Exit, Voice and Loyalty,1970年出版),指出當一個組織開始衰敗時,對它失去信心的成員可能作出兩種回應:「退出」(離開組織)或者「發聲」(用溫和以至激烈的方式向組織提出批評意見,促使組織改進)。赫希曼分析了這兩種回應方法跟成員們對組織的忠誠程度的關係:一般來說,忠誠程度愈高的成員,愈願意通過「發聲」去嘗試令組織改善;忠誠程度低的,則較易「退出」組織。這理論適用於一家公司、一個城市以至一個國家。


Why heads of government should not run for reelection 不准連任

Tsang uses the mix-up of China’s 紫荊 (Cercis chinensis/Chinese redbud) and HK’s indigenous 洋紫荊 (Hong Kong Orchid/Bauhinia blakeana) as an analogy to reflect on the erosion of HK: HK bauhinia symbol will ‘deteriorate’ if environment for growth destroyed ; 如果破壞了她生長的環境和條件,她就會變質、失色、枯萎

曾鈺成讚梁天琦 工聯會二梯隊轟:愛國icon腦子灌了水


After the stock market crash, Li Ka-shing, who had the foresight to move his assets out of China earlier, has been subject to attacks by party media:

[Sep 29-30, 2015] Li’s empire strikes back: Hong Kong’s richest man slams mainland Chinese media for ‘totally unfounded’ reports he is divesting from countryTycoon rejects accusations he is abandoning the mainland, saying such ‘Cultural Revolution-style’ attacks by media do not reflect Beijing’s views; 李嘉誠回應官媒批鬥撤資:令人不寒而慄,深感遺憾;  李嘉誠揮手辭親故; Global Times responds to Li’s statement Accept your fall from grace, Chinese state-run paper tells Li Ka-shing after he rebukes critics環時:內地輿論對李嘉誠去神化 不再是「愛國愛港楷模」 Why Beijing should let Li Ka-shing run away even further

[Oct 3, 2015] Tycoons not the boss anymore as Beijing calls the shots:

“Mainlanders now tend to see Li Ka-shing as a ‘profit comes first’ businessman, rather than ‘a role model who loves the country and Hong Kong’.” … Thanks to the two-week long media bashing of the “superman” on the mainland, every tycoon in town should by now know who the boss is and how to behave. Beijing is, however, not allowing them much time to turn “patriotic”. It is not taking any chances, grooming its own crop of patriotic tycoons in Hong Kong.

[Sep 24] 官媒轟李嘉誠撤資 林行止:乃李嘉誠不撐梁振英種下禍根

[Sep 20]  The curious ventures of Superman Li: Is Hong Kong tycoon’s empire switch political or just good business?  As tycoon Li Ka-shing faces criticism for pulling out of mainland and Hong Kong markets, many ponder his connections to Chinese politics

[Sep. 6]  Li Ka-shing’s Moves on China Reveal Good Timing


See also “targeted boycott“.


Filed under Umbrella Movement

3 responses to “Sacking James Tien (plus sidelining Tsang Yok-sing and Li Ka-shing)? You risk alienating pro-regime allies

  1. Pingback: Is hunger strike effective? What could be more effective? | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  2. Pingback: The End of Fake Universal Franchise (For Now) | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement

  3. Pingback: We are all localists–anyone who identifies with HK’s core values | Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement and Beyond

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