【明報專訊】UNHAPPY that James Tien had openly called on Chief Executive (CE) Leung Chun-ying to consider resigning, the Central People's Government (CPG) had him expelled from the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
Given the situation in Hong Kong, the CPG may have dealt with James Tien as it did to prevent things from getting further out of hand. Evidently, other Hong Kong CPPCC members have received the message the CPG intended to send out. Furthermore, the message has not gone unnoticed by businesspeople and professionals to whom interests are a major consideration. Therefore, the thunder-like blow the CPG has dealt to James Tien may serve as a deterrent. Even if some in the pro-establishment camp have indeed made plans or taken steps to "topple" Leung, at least no other will dare to do anything that may irritate the "dragon".
Things in Hong Kong may have been such that the CPG could not but deal with James Tien as it did. However, it is worth notice whether the way it has vigorously supported Leung will have adverse repercussions in the pro-establishment camp and the community. Keen on getting votes, pro-establishment legislators often have to set themselves against the administration in the legislative chamber. Strictly speaking, pro-establishment legislators who do so may be regarded as defiant of the decision to support the SAR government and the CE in running the territory in accordance with the law. If they blindly support the SAR government's measures regardless of whether they are in citizens' interests lest they should be "punished" politically, will the legislature serve any real purpose though it is apparently operative? Such a legislature is in fact very dangerous like an active volcano about to erupt.
CPPCC members have seemed to the public political vases and are alienated from the generality of citizens. Because what James Tien has said has got him into trouble, citizens may believe CPPCC members must closely follow the CPG and must not depart from this principle even when they comment on internal affairs of Hong Kong. If all those whose actions are dictated by their concern for their interests are inclined to side with the CPG, citizens' wishes will hardly be fulfilled. Such a society cannot possibly be harmonious or stable.
It is also worth notice whether what has happened to James Tien points to any curtailment of free speech. Members of the CPPCC must in principle abide by its constitution. None would disagree with that. However, because of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong people have much greater latitude in freely expressing their views than mainlanders do. James Tien has been dealt with as if he were a mainlander just because he has commented on a Hong Kong matter. It is questionable whether that is proper. Chan Wing-kee, who sits on the Standing Committee of the National Committee of the CPPCC, has said objections should be voiced directly to the CPG rather than openly. It is not clear whether he spoke his mind or quoted a CPPCC leader when he made that comment. However, it is out of keeping with the idea that Hong Kong is truly open and pluralistic for CPPCC members not to be allowed to voice their contrary views on Hong Kong affairs.