Civic Party

Civic Party is a pro-democracy liberal political party in Hong Kong. It was established in 29 March 2006 by a group of barristers. Led by Alvin Yeung and chaired by Alan Leong, the party is the fourth largest party in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, commanding five seats.[3] It also has 33 seats in the District Councils.

Civic Party

公民黨
LeaderAlvin Yeung
ChairmanAlan Leong
Founded19 March 2006; 14 years ago (2006-03-19)
Preceded byArticle 45 Concern
Group
HeadquartersUnit 202, 2/F, Block B,
Sea View Estate,
4–6 Watson Road,
North Point, Hong Kong
Youth wingYoung Civics
Membership (2017)Increase ~500
IdeologyConstitutionalism
Liberalism (Hong Kong)
Social liberalism[1]
Political positionCentre-left[2]
Regional affiliationPro-democracy camp
Colours             Violet, white
and green
Slogan"The Civic Way, The Fairer Way"
Legislative Council
5 / 70
District Councils
33 / 479
Website
www.civicparty.hk
Civic Party
Traditional Chinese公民黨
Simplified Chinese公民党
Hkpol2.png
Politics and government
of Hong Kong
Related topics Flag of Hong Kong.svg Hong Kong portal

Founded in 2006, the Civic Party was derived from the Basic Law Article 45 Concern Group formed by a group of barristers in pursuit of the universal suffrage of the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council after the large-scale pro-democracy demonstration against the legislation of the Basic Law Article 23 in 2003, in which the barristers took the leading role against the national security bill. The group won four seats in the 2004 Legislative Council election and transformed into a political party afterwards.

The Civic Party had contested in the 2007 Chief Executive election by nominating legislator Alan Leong to challenge incumbent Donald Tsang which was elected by the 800-member Election Committee. In 2010, the party launched the "Five Constituencies Referendum" with another pro-democracy party League of Social Democrats (LSD) to pressure the government to implement universal suffrage. The party surpassed the flagship pro-democracy party Democratic Party in the 2012 Legislative Council election by popular votes, winning six seats. The party retained its six seats in the 2016 election.

Party beliefsEdit

The party is considered part of the pan-democracy camp in the Legislative Council. The party's objectives are:[4]

  • to promote a democratic political system in Hong Kong built upon universal suffrage, the rule of law, constitutionalism, civil liberties and equality of opportunities for all Hong Kong people;
  • to provide support and services for members of the Party who hold elected public office and members of the Party who stand in elections as candidates to such public office as is open to election in Hong Kong;
  • to foster a sustainable community through partnership with civil society groups;
  • to promote civic education;
  • to foster social cohesion and undertake community projects for the well being of Hong Kong residents.

During the 2008 Legislative Council election campaign, candidates from the party also called for the introduction of a statutory minimum wage and a competition law.

HistoryEdit

FoundingEdit

The Civic Party was founded on 19 March 2006 as a coalition of six incumbent members of the Legislative Council. Four of them, Audrey Eu, Alan Leong, Ronny Tong and Margaret Ng were barristers, who had already cooperated as an informal bloc called the Article 45 Concern Group, reflecting their efforts to realise universal suffrage with Article 45 and 68 of the Hong Kong Basic Law. They were joined by two other incumbents, the then functional constituency Legislative Councillors Mandy Tam (Accountancy) and Fernando Cheung (Social Welfare), as well as a number of pan-democratic academics.[5] Political scientist Professor Kuan Hsin-chi became the first Chairman of the Civic Party and Audrey Eu the first Leader of the party. At the time of formation, the party was holding six seats in the Legislative Council, making it the fourth largest party.

The Article 45 Concern Group was transferred from the Article 23 Concern Group launched in 2002 opposing the legislation of the Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23. The barristers rose to fame as the issue escalated to a full-scale civil movement in the mid summer of 2003. Alan Leong and Ronny Tong were both able to elected to the Legislative Council in the geographical constituency direct elections in Kowloon East and New Territories East respectively.

Audrey Eu leadership (2006–2011)Edit

2007 Chief Executive bid and 2008 LegCo election (2006–2008)Edit

The Civic Party's first electoral test was its decision to run Alan Leong in the March 2007 "small circle" Chief Executive election, challenging incumbent Donald Tsang. The party and its ally actively fill candidates running in the 800-member December 2006 Election Committee Subsector elections and won more than 100 seats. Leong's winning sufficient nomination votes to enter the race was viewed as a breakthrough in what previously had been seen as an entirely Beijing-orchestrated process.[5] However a safe margin in the Election Committee to assure Donald Tsang re-election, Leong eventually lost by 123 to 649 votes as a result. In the November 2007 District Council elections, the party contested 42 constituencies. Five incumbents now under the Civic Party flag were re-elected, and three rookies picked up new seats.[5]

With a slate of widely respected legislators projecting an image of competence and ability, the Civic Party went into the September 2008 Legislative Council elections heavily favoured, with some pundits predicting they would take over as the flagship of the pan-democratic movement from what at the time seemed to be an ailing Democratic Party.[5] However, the party's results failed to match pre-election predictions. Ronny Tong only took the sixth out of seven seats in his constituency, Alan Leong the final seat. While the Civics won a new seat for District Councilor Tanya Chan by placing Audrey Eu after Chan in the candidate list in Hong Kong Island, Mandy Tam's internal battles with Accountancy functional constituency (FC) cost Tam her seat. In addition, Fernando Cheung's decision to give up his Social Welfare FC seat in favour of running in the New Territories West geographic constituency (GC) proved disastrous. Finally, Kowloon West GC candidate Claudia Mo found herself under fierce attack by League of Social Democrats (LSD) chairman Wong Yuk-man, which the Civics believe cost Mo the election.[5] As a result, the Civic Party dropped one seat in total, while retaining the three seats in the geographical constituency and one seat in the Legal FC and also gaining a new seat in Hong Kong Island, but losing two seats in the Accountancy and Social Welfare FCs.

The Civic Party's 2008 electoral performance led most observers to conclude the party needed to rectify its weakness at the grassroots. At the party's 6 December internal elections, Professor Kuan Hsin-chi was re-elected chairman and Audrey Eu remained as Party Leader. Vice-Chairman Fernando Cheung and Treasurer Mandy Tam, however, resigned to take responsibility for their defeats. While Alan Leong replaced Cheung as vice-chairman, Cheung's duties as party strategist were picked up by Secretary-General Kenneth Chan Ka-lok. Tanya Chan was elected Chairman of the "Young Civics", the party's youth wing.[5]

Newly elected Civic Party Secretary-General Kenneth Chan suggested that the party should transformed from the elitist "barristers' club" image of the "blue-blooded" squad of barristers to a proper political party which could expand their base or groom the next generation of leaders for the party.[5]

"Five Constituencies Referendum" Movement (2009–2011)Edit

The party was member of the Alliance for Universal Suffrage which consisted of all the pro-democracy groups to strive for the 2012 universal suffrage of the Chief Executive and Legislative Council. In response to the electoral reform package proposed by the government, the party joined hand with the League of Social Democrats, which belonged to the relatively radical wing the pan-democracy camp, to launch the "Five Constituency Referendum" by having five legislators resigning and participating in a territory-wide by-election to demand genuine universal suffrage. The claim of by-election as referendum expectedly received serve attacks from the Beijing government and the pro-Beijing camp in Hong Kong as unconstitutional.[6] The Democratic Party refused to join the movement and sought for a less confrontational way to negotiate with Beijing. The election turnout showed with only 17.7 percent of the registered voters voted despite Alan Leong and Tanya Chan were re-elected. After the by-election Chairwoman Audrey Eu was invited by the Chief Executive Donald Tsang to a televised debate over the reform package. Audrey Eu was widely perceived to have scored an overwhelming victory over Tsang in the debate,[6] yet the reform package was ultimately passed with the support of the Democratic Party despite Civic Party voted against it.

Alan Leong leadership (2011–2016)Edit

2011/2012 elections (2011–2014)Edit

In January 2011 party leadership elections, there was first changes at the top for the five-year-old party. Alan Leong took over from Audrey Eu as Party Leader uncontestedly, while Kenneth Chan beat Professor Joseph Cheng by an 11-vote margin after a heated campaign that saw some complaining about the fairness of the contest. Chan campaigned on a platform that was endorsed by most of the party veterans. Alan Leong denied the speculations of any intra-party factional struggle.[3]

In the 2011 District Council elections, the Civic Party was hammered by the pro-Beijing media due to its close ties with the legal advisers on the lawsuit of the right of abode for foreign domestic workers who represented one such Filipina.[7] The party was greatly disadvantaged by this as many HK residents fear granting Filipinos permanent residency would affect them.[8] The party received great defeat in the election with only seven out of 41 candidates were elected. Party leader Alan Leong blamed the pro-Beijing camp's vast resources as the cause of defeat.

The 2012 Legislative Council elections were held on 9 September 2012. Civic Party won a seat in each geographical constituency, five seats in total, and a seat in Legal functional constituency. These six seats made the Civic Party the second largest political party in Legislative Council and stood side by side with the Democratic Party as the largest pro-democratic party, though the popular votes gained by the Civics in the geographical constituency surpassed the Democrats. The party was blamed for its electoral strategy by putting heavyweights Audrey Eu and Tanya Chan in New Territories West and Hong Kong Island to attract too many votes at the expense on the other pan-democratic parties. Although both Eu and Chan received about 70,000 votes in their constituencies, they failed to get re-elected and the seats went to pro-Beijing candidates Leung Che-cheung and Wong Kwok-hing which made the pro-Beijing camp controlled the majority of the seats in those constituencies despite fewer votes.

Post-Umbrella Revolution (2014–2016)Edit

On 22 June 2015, few days after the historic legislative vote over the 2015 Hong Kong electoral reform, Ronny Tong announced that he would quit the Civic party that he co-founded, adding that he noted the line the Civic Party had taken since the end of 2009 had deviated from its founding values. He would also resign from the Legislative Council as he said it was inappropriate for him to retain his seat in the legislature because he stood for election as a Civic Party member.[9]

In the 2015 District Council election, the Civics won total of 10 seats, although legislator Kenneth Chan failed to win a seat in South Horizons East.

In Legislative Council by-election to fill the seat left vacant by Ronny Tong, Alvin Yeung, a young barrister defeated Beijing-loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) candidate Holden Chow and localist Hong Kong Indigenous candidate Edward Leung Tin-kei, receiving 160,880 votes.[10]

In the September's Legislative Council general election, the Civics retained all their six seats with Tanya Chan replaced Kenneth Chan in Hong Kong Island and Jeremy Tam took over retiring leader Alan Leong's seat in Kowloon East.

Alvin Yeung leadership (2016–present)Edit

On 1 October 2016, as Alan Leong retired from the Legislative Council, he has also stepped down from the post of Party Leader, and the Executive Committee of the party appointed Alvin Yeung as the acting party leader. Yeung officially became the party leader in November, with Leong succeeding Audrey Eu as party chair. On 14 November 2016, the party's legislator Claudia Mo resigned from the party citing differences over localism and other issues which left the party five seats in the council.[11]

In the 2019 District Council election, the Civic Party won 32 seats.

StructureEdit

The party is managed by the twenty-member Executive Committee, headed by the chairman and Leader. It has five District Branches, and a youth branch known as the Young Civics.

The admittance of any new ordinary member must be backed by two existing ordinary members or founding members. In addition, a prospective member must complete local branch work for one year before being inducted as an ordinary member.

The party leading figures are:

  • Chairman: Alan Leong (2004–2016 Legislative Council Member for Kowloon East Constituency)
  • Leader: Alvin Yeung (Legislative Council Member for New Territories East Constituency since 2016)
  • External vice-chairman: Tanya Chan (2008–2012 and present Legislative Council Member for Hong Kong Island Constituency)
  • Internal vice-chairman: Bill Lay (Registered Social Worker)
  • Secretary-General: Chan Kai-yuen
  • Treasurer: Choy Kai-sing

Performance in electionsEdit

Chief Executive electionsEdit

Election Candidate No. of votes % of votes
2007 Alan Leong 123 15.93

Legislative Council electionsEdit

Election Number of
popular votes
% of
popular votes
GC
seats
FC
seats
Total seats +/− Position
2008 207,000  13.66  4 1
5 / 60
1  4th 
2012 255,007  14.08  5 1
6 / 70
1  2nd 
2016 207,855  9.59  5 1
6 / 70
0  4th 

District Council electionsEdit

Election Number of
popular votes
% of
popular votes
Total
elected seats
+/−
2007 48,837  4.29 
8 / 405
2 
2011 47,603  4.03 
7 / 412
5 
2015 52,346  3.62 
10 / 431
3 
2019 141,713  4.83 
32 / 452
20 

LeadershipEdit

Overall StructureEdit

The Civic Party operates with a dual-leadership model, with a Leader and a Chairperson. In general, the Leader is an elected legislator who leads the party within the Legislative Council, while the Chairperson is typically not a legislator so that he or she may focus on the overall development of the party.[12]

LeadersEdit

No. Name Portrait Constituency Took Office Left Office Tenure Length Higher Education
1 Audrey Eu SC
(1953– )
  Hong Kong Island 19 March 2006 8 January 2011 4 years and 296 days University of Hong Kong (LLB)
London School of Economics (LLM)
2 Alan Leong SC
(1958– )
  Kowloon East 9 January 2011 30 September 2016 5 years and 266 days University of Hong Kong (LLB, PCLL)
University of Cambridge (LLM)
3 Alvin Yeung
(1981– )
  New Territories East 1 October 2016 Incumbent 3 years and 308 days University of Western Ontario (BA)
Peking University (LLM)
University of Bristol (MA)
University of Hong Kong (PCLL)

ChairpersonsEdit

No. Name Portrait Constituency Took Office Left Office Tenure Length
1 Kuan Hsin-chi
(1940– )
  None 19 March 2006 8 January 2011 4 years and 296 days National Chengchi University (LLB)
Free University of Berlin (MA)
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (PhD)
2 Kenneth Chan
(1968– )
  None 9 January 2011 9 June 2012 1 year and 153 days Chinese University of Hong Kong (BSocSc)
University of Oxford (MPhil, DPhil)
3 Audrey Eu SC
(1953– )
  None 1 December 2012 18 November 2016 3 years and 354 days University of Hong Kong (LLB)
London School of Economics (LLM)
4 Alan Leong SC
(1958– )
  None 19 November 2016 Incumbent 3 years and 259 days University of Hong Kong (LLB, PCLL)
University of Cambridge (LLM)

Vice-Chairpersons (External Affairs)Edit

Vice-Chairpersons (Internal Affairs)Edit

Secretaries GeneralEdit

TreasuresEdit

  • Mandy Tam, 2006–2008
  • Amy Yung Wing-sheung, 2008–2011
  • Tommy Wong Wai-ming, 2011–2012
  • Choy Kai-sing, 2012–present

Deputy Secretary-GeneralEdit

RepresentativesEdit

Legislative CouncilEdit

The Civic Party has currently five seats in the Sixth Legislative Council (2016–2020):

Constituency Member
Hong Kong Island Tanya Chan
Kowloon East Jeremy Tam
New Territories West Kwok Ka-ki
New Territories East Alvin Yeung
Legal Dennis Kwok

District CouncilsEdit

The Civic Party has won 33 seats in 11 District Councils (2020–2023):

District Constituency Member District Constituency Member
Hong Kong Island & Kowloon New Territories
Central and Western Kennedy Town & Mount Davis Cherry Wong Kin-ching Tsuen Wan Tsuen Wan South Antonio Luk Ling-chung
Eastern Fei Tsui Joseph Lai Chi-keong Lei Muk Shue West Wong Ka-wa
Kam Ping Lee Yue-shun Lei Muk Shue East Sumly Chan Yuen-sum
Tanner Cheng Tat-hung Sha Tin City One Wong Man-huen
Kornhill Derek Ngai Chi-ho Chun Fung Chan Nok-hang
Kornhill Garden Leung Siu-sun Sui Wo Mak Tsz-kin
Southern South Horizons East James Yu Chun-hei Fo Tan Lui Kai-wing
Yau Tsim Mong Fu Pak Yu Tak-po Hoi Nam Chan Pui-ming
Sham Shui Po Nam Cheong North Lao Ka-hang Tai Shui Hang Michael Yung Ming-chau
Mei Foo South Chau Yuen-man Bik Woo Luk Tsz-tung
Mei Foo Central Ng Yuet-lan Kwai Tsing Lai Wah Steve Cheung Kwan-kiu
Mei Foo North Joshua Li Chun-hei On Ho Warren Tam Ka-chun
Wong Tai Sin Wang Tau Hom Lau Ka-man Wai Ying Sin Ho-fai
Tin Keung Cheng Man-kit Islands Tung Chung Central Lee Ka-ho
Kwun Tong Lai Ching Sheik Anthony Bux Discovery Bay Amy Yung Wing-sheung
Laguna City William Li Wai-lam
King Tin Wong Ka-ying
To Tai Lee Kwan-chak

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Country Risk of Hong Kong: Politics". Import–Export Solutions. Société Générale. May 2020.
  2. ^ Andrew Yu Chun-Kit (4 June 2019). "Harmony and Discord: Development of Political Parties and Social Fragmentation in Hong Kong, 1980–2017". Open Political Science. Walter de Gruyter. 2 (1): 53–63. doi:10.1515/openps-2019-0006.
  3. ^ a b "Civic Party elects new leader, chairman". Radio Television Hong Kong. 8 January 2011. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  4. ^ "Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Civic Party Limited by guarantee, and not having a share capital" (PDF). The Civic Party. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 May 2006.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "CIVIC PARTY: MOVING FROM FAN CLUB TO POLITICAL FORCE". WikiLeaks.
  6. ^ a b Lee, Francis L. F.; Chan, Joseph M. (2010). Media, Social Mobilisation and Mass Protests in Post-colonial Hong Kong: The Power of a Critical Event. Routledge.
  7. ^ Dioquino, Rose-An Jessica (8 November 2011). "Pro-domestic workers candidates lose in HK polls". GMA Network. on 5 December 2011
  8. ^ "HK Pro-Democracy Parties to Review Strategy After Election Defeats". VOA News. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  9. ^ Cheung, Gary; Lam, Jeffie; Ng, Kang-chung (22 June 2015). "Tearful Ronny Tong quits as legislator hours after resigning from Civic Party amid rift in Hong Kong's pan-democratic camp". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  10. ^ "2016 Legislative Council Geographical Constituency New Territories By-election - Election Result". Electoral Affairs Commission. 29 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Hong Kong lawmaker Claudia Mo resigns from Civic Party citing 'differences' over localism and other issues". South China Morning Post. 14 November 2016.
  12. ^ "About Us". Civic Party.

External linksEdit