Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Centrist former lawmaker Ronny Tong named adviser to Hong Kong’s incoming leader Carrie Lam

Former pro-democracy lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah is among seven new appointments to the pro-Beijing-dominated formal advisory body to incoming chief executive Carrie Lam.

The 66-year-old barrister quit the Civic Party and resigned as a legislator two years ago to form the centrist Path of Democracy, but the new group failed to win any seats in last year’s legislative elections.

Ronny Tong

Ronny Tong. File photo: Eric Cheung/HKFP.

Among the new appointments to the Executive Council, announced on Thursday, is Regina Ip, who failed to secure enough nominations from the small-circle election committee to run against Lam in March. She rejoins the advisory body following another stint between 2012 to 2016.

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Pro-Beijing legislators Wong Kwok-kin and Horace Cheung, medical doctor Lam Ching-choi, New Territories strongman Kenneth Lau and former Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief Joseph Yam will also join the body. The latter served as an adviser to Lam’s campaign.

Familiar faces

Nine current Executive Council members will remain in their positions.

Businessman Bernard Chan, who managed Lam’s successful small-circle election campaign in March, will become the convener of the advisory body.

Bernard Chan

Bernard Chan. File Photo: Apple Daily.

The eight others remaining in the body include: Laura Cha, Arthur Li, Andrew Liao, Chow Chung-kong, Fanny Law, Jeffrey Lam, Ip Kwok-him and Tommy Cheung.

Incumbent Executive Council members who are not staying in their positions include convener Lam Woon-kwong and Cheung Chi-kong, head of pro-Beijing think tank One Country Two Systems Research Institute.

The body meets every Tuesday to advise the chief executive in policy making, though its meetings are held behind closed doors and records are not disclosed. As the chief executive cannot belong to any party, it is common to invite pro-Beijing political party heavyweights into the Council to consolidate support. However, members do not always reflect the government’s stance within the legislature.

See also: ‘New style of governance’? Democrats criticise lack of new faces in Carrie Lam’s cabinet

The Executive Council will convene on July 1. Aside from the members named in Thursday’s announcements, all 16 principal officials of the government also automatically join the advisory body.

Centrist former lawmaker Ronny Tong named adviser to Hong Kong's incoming leader Carrie Lam