Beijing: China today sacked a senior Hong Kong lawmaker from its top advisory legislature for making improper remarks against the territory's Chief Executive, giving a strong message that Beijing will not tolerate dissent over pro-democracy protests in one of Asia's financial hubs.
Hong Kong's Liberal Party leader James Tien Pei-chun was voted out of China's top political advisory body today for improper remarks against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
"James Tien was deaf to persuasion and made public remarks against HK Chief Executive and the HK government's governing in line with law, which has seriously violated the constitution of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), an advisory body in which he along with Hollywood actor Jackie Chan were members.
CPPCC members from various walks of life are appointed by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).
The move is seen as part of Beijing's defence of Leung in the face of students' demands for him to step down, Hong Kong based South China Morning Post reported.
It is the first time a CPPCC delegate from Hong Kong has been sacked before their term expired because of their political views.
In response to the decision, Tien told reporters in Hong Kong that he will resign as leader of the Liberal Party at a meeting of members tonight.
"If I step down, I can work for the people as a lawmaker in the next two years and speak up on behalf of Hong Kong people," he said.
This is also the first time a mainstream politician came in support of over month long agitation mainly spearheaded by students by occupying key commercial and famous roads in Hong Kong.
They were opposing the rule brought in by China to screen the candidates to contest the first direct polls to elect the Chief Executive of the former British Colony which merged with China in 1997 under one country two systems formula.
Tien said he accepted the CPPCC decision because it was "incorrect" for him to have "called, or rather urged, Chief Executive CY Leung to resign because Hong Kong is getting a bit ungovernable".
When he asked Leung to consider stepping down, he "wasn't aware of his role as a CPPCC delegate", he said.
"Over the years, when I am in Legco, I only remember that I am a lawmaker, and the Liberal Party's leader, and I omitted my role as a CPPCC delegate ? [Though] I was aware that I am a CPPCC delegate when I am having meetings in Beijing.
This might be what I have done wrong," Tien said.
Defending the move to remove Tien, CPPCC Chairman Yu Zhengsheng said Hong Kong delegates can "say freely whatever they want" but they must not call for Leung to resign or criticise the local government in a manner that is not "constructive".
"Oppositional voices shouldn't be made public If there are dissenting voices, they should be reflected to the central government directly," Xinhua quoted Yu as saying.