Tam Yiu-chung

Tam Yiu-chung, GBM, JP (Chinese: 譚耀宗; born 15 December 1949) is a pro-Beijing politician in Hong Kong. He is a current member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC), former member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo) and former chairman of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB).

Tam Yiu-chung

Tam Yiu-chung.jpg
Tam Yiu-chung in the Legislative Council Complex in 2015
Member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
Assumed office
18 March 2018
Preceded byRita Fan
Chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong
In office
28 August 2007 – 17 April 2015
Preceded byMa Lik
Succeeded byStarry Lee
Non-official Member of the Executive Council
In office
Appointed byTung Chee-hwa
Preceded byNew council
Member of the Legislative Council
In office
30 October 1985 – 31 July 1995
Preceded byNew constituency
Succeeded byCheng Yiu-tong
In office
21 December 1996 – 30 June 1998
(Provisional Legislative Council)
Preceded byNew parliament
Succeeded byParliament abolished
In office
2 July 1998 – 30 September 2016
Preceded byNew parliament
Succeeded byEddie Chu
ConstituencyNew Territories West
Personal details
Born (1949-12-15) 15 December 1949 (age 71)
British Hong Kong
Political partyDemocratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB)
Other political
Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU)
Spouse(s)Lai Xiang-ming
ResidenceHong Kong
Alma materAustralian National University
London Metropolitan University
OccupationLegislative Councillor
Trade unionists
Tam Yiu-chung
Traditional Chinese譚耀宗
Simplified Chinese谭耀宗

A member of the traditional left-wing Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU), Tam was a member of the Hong Kong Basic Law Drafting Committee (BLDC) and among the first elected members of the Legislative Council through the Labour functional constituency in 1985. He was the founding vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong formed in 1992 and its party chairman from 2007 to 2015.

He was elected to the Legislative Council of Hong Kong in New Territories West from 1998 until his retirement in 2016. A member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Tam was elected to the National People's Congress in 2017 and succeeded Rita Fan to become the Hong Kong representative in the NPCSC. On 15 January 2021, the United States Department of the Treasury placed sanctions on six officials, including Tam, responsible for the mass arrests of pro-democratic activists on 6 January.[1]

Early careerEdit

Tam was born in a Hakka family of Huiyang ancestry in Hong Kong on 15 December 1949. In 1968, when he was a 19-year-old window display designer, he joined a retail union. He later rose to be the union's vice-chairman in 1975 and become one of the vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU), the largest pro-Communist trade union in Hong Kong, with Cheng Yiu-tong in 1982.

After the Sino-British Joint Declaration finalised which determined the Chinese sovereignty of Hong Kong after 1997 in December 1984, Tam was appointed by the Beijing government to the Hong Kong Basic Law Drafting Committee (BLDC) which responsible for the drafting of the mini-constitution of Hong Kong after 1997 in February 1985. In September 1985, he was first elected to the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo) in the first ever Legislative Council election as one of the Labour representatives, alongside with Pang Chun-hoi, president of the pro-Kuomintang Hong Kong and Kowloon Trades Union Council (TUC).[2]

During the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, Tam and Cheng Yiu-tong joined the pro-democrats' demonstrations in support of the Tiananmen students. After the massacre on 4 June, he strongly condemned the Beijing authorities for the bloody suppression. However, he soon turned muted on the events with other pro-Beijing leftists.[3] In 1992, he co-founded the pro-Beijing party the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) with other local pro-Communist leaders. He became the founding vice-chairman of the party.

In the 1995 Legislative Council elections, he gave up his Legislative Council seat in the Labour constituency to fight in Kowloon Southeast, one of 18 geographical constituencies elected by the public at large, but narrowly defeated by the Democratic Party candidate Fred Li Wah-ming, finishing a little over 2,000 votes behind.[2]

SAR Legislative CouncilEdit

In 1996, he was elected to the Provisional Legislative Council tightly controlled by Beijing on the eve of the unification by the 400-strong Selection Committee. In the first SAR Legislative Council election, he was elected through the New Territories West.[2]

In 1997, he was appointed by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa to the Executive Council which he served until 2002. He was also appointed chairman of the Elderly Commission from 1997 to 2005.[2] In 1999, he was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star (GBS) by the government.

After the 2003 District Council election the DAB's disastrous performance, the party chairman Tsang Yok-sing resigned from his office and succeeded by Ma Lik. He was re-elected to become the vice-chairman for the second time. In 2007, after being acting chairman for the preceding three weeks, he succeeded Ma Lik who died of cancer to become the party chairman.[4]

Under his chairmanship, the DAB received electoral victories in the 2007 and 2011 District Council elections. In the 2012 Legislative Council election, he led the party to achieve the greatest victory in history, bagging 13 seats in total, by deploying two and three tickets in Hong Kong Island and New Territories West respectively and having all the tickets being elected except for Lau Kong-wah's ticket in District Council (Second).

In February 2015, he announced that he will step down as DAB chairman to open the door for a new generation of leaders.[2] On 17 April 2015, Starry Lee succeeded Tam in the party's leadership election.[5] He received Grand Bauhinia Medal (GBM), the highest award in the Hong Kong medal system, by the government on 1 July 2016.

National People's CongressEdit

He did not seek for re-election in the 2016 Legislative Council election along with three other party seniors Tsang Yok-sing, Ip Kwok-him and Chan Kam-lam.

Tam Yiu-chung had been also a Hong Kong deputy to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) since 2003.[2] In 2017, he switched from the CPPCC to run for the National People's Congress (NPC) and succeeded Rita Fan to be the Hong Kong representative in the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC).

In March 2018, he warned of the recent constitutional amendments in China meant Hongkongers who call for an end to "one-party dictatorship" in China, a slogan of the pro-democrats and one of the five pillars of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China (HKASPDMC) might be disqualified from running for local office.[6]

In the same month, Tam condemned Occupy Central co-founder Benny Tai for his remarks on the possibility of Hong Kong independence after the end of "dictatorship" in China. Tam urged Hong Kong to urgently implement Article 23 of the Basic Law to criminalise a series of acts including sedition, treason and subversion. He also asked if it was still appropriate for Tai to keep his job at HKU.[7]

In October 2020, Tam said that discussions about Hong Kong independence should not be allowed in schools, and claimed it would violate the National Security Law.[8]

In November 2020, Tam warned that pro-democracy lawmakers in the Legislative Council who were using filibustering techniques may be disqualified from their positions.[9] In response, the pro-democracy lawmakers threatened to collectively quit if any of them were disqualified.[9] Following the disqualification of the 4 lawmakers, Tam said that he strongly supported the decision.[10]

In January 2021, following repeated calls from Tam to reform the judiciary, Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma said that the judiciary should not be reformed simply due to the pro-Beijing party being unhappy with the court's rulings.[11]

In February 2021, Tam wrote that Hong Kong's political system needed reforming, and that the NPCSC was responsible for resolving issues that the Hong Kong could not fix by itself.[12] Also in February, Tam linked the city with the CCP, asking "If you oppose the Chinese Communist Party, how can you maintain that you genuinely safeguard the interests of Hong Kong?"[13]

In March 2021, Tam led the "Sign For HK 2021 campaign," which claimed to have collected 2.38 million signatures from those in Hong Kong in support of changes to only allow "patriots" to serve in the government.[14] The deputy chief of the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI) said he was skeptical of the authenticity of the signatures, and said that it was impossible to collect so many signatures in such a short time.[14]

Also in March 2021, Tam suggested that pan-democrats could only blame themselves for the enacting of laws to ensure only "patriots" serve in the government.[15] After the NPCSC passed legislation to allow only "patriots" to serve in the government, Tam claimed that Hong Kong could continue with democratic development after normality is restored.[16]

Personal lifeEdit

Tam studied Adult Education at Australian National University and Trade Union Studies at the London Metropolitan University. He is married with two sons.[2] His sons are Australian citizens and hold Australian passports.[17][18]


  1. ^ Brunnstrom, Humeyra Pamuk, David (15 January 2021). "U.S. announces new sanctions on six linked to Hong Kong mass arrests". Reuters. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Cheung, Tony (8 February 2015). "Outgoing DAB chairman Tam Yiu-chung looks to a new generation". South China Morning Post.
  3. ^ 六•四23周年 回望當年 建制派熱血撐學運. 蘋果日報. 25 May 2012.
  4. ^ 關於我們 > 歷史 > 大事年表 > 2007. The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.
  5. ^ 民 建 聯 領 導 層 改 選   李 慧 琼 當 選 主 席. RTHK. 17 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Mainland official agrees with Hong Kong poll ban for anyone decrying 'one-party dictatorship'". South China Morning Post. 21 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Protesters call on HKU to fire Benny Tai". South China Morning Post. 3 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Yeung under fire over 'unfeasible' comment".
  9. ^ a b "All opposition lawmakers threaten to quit as filibustering showdown looms". South China Morning Post. 9 November 2020. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  10. ^ "All Hong Kong opposition lawmakers quit over Beijing resolution". South China Morning Post. 12 November 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Give us details of reforms required, Hong Kong chief justice tells critics". South China Morning Post. 5 January 2021. Retrieved 5 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Top Beijing advisers ramp up calls for Hong Kong political system overhaul". South China Morning Post. 19 February 2021. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  13. ^ "Loyalty, not love, key to 'patriots governing Hong Kong': political heavyweight". South China Morning Post. 25 February 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  14. ^ a b Ho, Kelly (22 March 2021). "Hong Kong pro-Beijing group claims over 2.38 million signatures in support of electoral changes". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Pro-Beijing heavyweight defends security law, electoral overhaul as moderate steps". South China Morning Post. 26 March 2021. Retrieved 26 March 2021.
  16. ^ "Overhaul abolishes district council presence - RTHK". news.rthk.hk. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  17. ^ "Hong Kong's ruling elite fight to extinguish freedom whilst clutching foreign passports, money and property abroad". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. 4 July 2020. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  18. ^ "Chinese Australians warn of sleeper agents". the Australian.

External linksEdit

Legislative Council of Hong Kong
New constituency Member of Legislative Council
Representative for Labour
Served alongside: Pang Chun-hoi
Succeeded by
Cheng Yiu-tong
New parliament Member of Provisional Legislative Council
Replaced by Legislative Council
Member of Legislative Council
Representative for New Territories West
Succeeded by
Eddie Chu
Preceded by
Emily Lau
Chairman of Finance Committee
Succeeded by
Emily Lau
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ma Lik
Chairman of Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Starry Lee
National People's Congress
Preceded by
Rita Fan
Member of Standing Committee
Representative for Hong Kong SAR
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Li Dak-sum
Recipients of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
Hong Kong order of precedence
Member of the Legislative Council
Succeeded by
Chan Wing-kee
Recipients of the Grand Bauhinia Medal