Localist aims at LegCo “super seat”

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Hong Kong’s political landscape has long been perceived as split between pan-democrats and the pro-Beijing camp. James Chan Kwok-keung hopes to add some localist diversity to the mix.


With a call to fight against “evil parties”, James Chan Kwok-keung (陳國強), a localist independent district councillor, has announced his intention to run for a Legco “super seat”. For Chan, the term “evil party” includes both the pan-democrats and the pro-Beijing camp.

The “evil” pan-democrats

“We have no need to rely on pan-democrats. We must rely on ourselves,” he claimed at an 18 June press conference, accusing the legislature’s opposition camp of failing to protect Hong Kong’s interests. “Pan-democrats can be even more evil,” he said.

Chan has received nominations from 13 district councillors, just two shy of the minimum legal requirement to join the “super seat” election. He says he is confident of receiving 18 nominations before submitting his application by 29 Jul.

The Legco “super seat” he is eyeing is formally called the Legco District Council (Second) Functional Constituency (FC). The seat is one of five District Council FC seats that were first established for the 2012 Legco election in line with the 2010 political reform package. “Super seat” candidates must be district councillors who receive a minimum number of nominations from their counterparts.

Target on controversies

Chan’s press conference was not lacking in controversial agendas and promises. He called for the People’s Liberation Army to leave the territory of Hong Kong and to release military land for the construction of public housing for the grassroots. The Ma On Shan-based district councillor also favours a rent ceiling, a vacant land tax and a dividend tax to shift wealth from power groups and rent-seeking property owners to the powerless and the poor.

As a localist, he also wants to end Mandarin-speaking public broadcasting and Mandarin-medium Chinese language education in primary schools.

Several well-known representatives of localist political and community groups attended the press conference. They include Ray Wong Toi-yeung (黃台仰), the spokesman of pro-independence group Hong Kong Indigenous, Wong Ho-yin (黃浩然) from the Youngspiration-led electoral alliance, and Leung Kam-shing (梁金成), the spokesman of the North District Parallel Imports Concern Group.

Fierce competition of “super seats”

Chan’s participation is likely to result in unexpectedly high competition in the “super seat” races.

Pan-democrats grabbed three out of five seats in 2012, and this year three pan-democrats, including the Democratic Party’s James To Kun-sun (涂謹申) and Roy Kwong Chun-yu (鄺俊宇), and Leung Yiu-chung (梁耀忠) from the Neighbourhood and Worker’s Service Centre, are likely to compete for the seats. The Civic Party, the Neo-Democrats and the Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood (ADPL) may also field candidates.

As for the pro-Beijing camp, Starry Lee Wai-king (李慧琼) from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) and Wong Kwok-hing (王國興) of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions may both take part.

The 2010 political reform package was the result of a compromise between the Democratic Party and the ADPL on the one hand and Beijing on the other. It has been strongly criticised by many within the pan-democrat camp and was a contributing factor to a split in the camp between political moderates and those favouring bolder action.