News / Asia

Hong Kong Leader Survives No-Confidence Vote

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in December 2012 photoHong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in December 2012 photo
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in December 2012 photo
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in December 2012 photo
Ivan Broadhead
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying assumed office in July, after being maneuvered towards the city’s top political job by the Chinese central government.  As details emerge that suggest Leung ran a less-than-honest election campaign, pro-democracy legislators are calling for his impeachment.

His election victory in March came after former Beijing favorite Henry Tang was accused of building an illegal basement in his multi-million-dollar home.

Capitalizing on this revelation, Leung beat Tang, the former chief secretary for administration, in a vote decided by just 1,200 broadly pro-China appointees.

According to legislator and respected lawyer Ronny Tong, it soon emerged that Leung had breached the very same planning laws in one, if not more, of his own luxury homes.    

“He was projecting an image to the public that he was clean himself.  A lot of people think he was being totally dishonest in making such serious accusations against his opponent, yet saying nothing to the public about the presence of illegal structures at his own home,” Tong said.

Leung appeared before the legislative council Monday at a hastily arranged question and answer session. Visibly strained, he offered a nuanced defense of the unauthorized building works (UBW), and their role in his election campaign.

“It is a question of fact.  I did not say that I had no unauthorized building works, according to my own recollection ... There are some UBWs that I built.  But most of them were not built by me,” Leung said.

Late Wednesday, Leung faced a motion of no-confidence.  Accused of “stealing the election” and repeatedly lying to the council, he survived a narrow vote only with undemocratically appointed, pro-Beijing legislators swaying the outcome.

Opposition Labor Party leader C.Y. Lee told the chamber, “Integrity is one of the fundamentals of leadership”.  Next week, he said, pan-democrats would demand a special investigation into Leung’s "web of deceit" and his impeachment will then be pursued.

“There are lots of things that need to be investigated.  People are very angered by his lack of integrity.  Apologizing is not enough.  We believe he should come clean and through the debate we can force out our concern, and force him to be accountable to the people,” Lee said.

Public sentiment would appear to be swinging behind the pan-democrats, with the most recent opinion poll showing Leung’s popularity falling below 50 percent for the first time.  Leung supporters warn any effort to impeach the chief executive could spark a constitutional crisis in semi-autonomous Hong Kong.

Cabinet member Jeffrey Lam adds that such a move appears disproportionate to the alleged crime.

“It is difficult to keep everybody happy.  I think he has tried to answer most questions.  There were still some legislators who are not happy ... He has to deal with this.  Let us see the outcome after the debates,” Lam said.

With the legislature of this former British colony weighted in favor of pro-Beijing interests, Leung is likely to avoid full impeachment.  But Ronny Tong sees the bigger picture.  

"Effectively making an attempt to evade his responsibility and tell lies would probably qualify him as the first chief executive [capable of being] impeached in the history of Hong Kong ...  “This will raise attention not just in Hong Kong, but in the international community, and hopefully put pressure on C.Y. Leung to resign,” Tong said.

Leung supporters argue the pan-democrats’ efforts against the chief executive only serve to incapacitate the Hong Kong government.  

Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau had a message for the public. “We call on the Hong Kong people to march on January 1st to show their disgust and their demand for C.Y. Leung to step down immediately,” Lau said.

Protest organizers are predicting more than 100,000 people will take to the streets, despite the prospect of political uncertainty extending into the New Year.

You May Like

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Americans Think About Strange Stuff at Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, but they’re not necessarily thinking about turkey and stuffing

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs