League of Social Democrats

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League of Social Democrats
社會民主連線
Chairman Leung Kwok-hung[1]
Founded 1 October 2006 (2006-10-01)
Headquarters Flat A, 3/F, Lee
Hang Industrial Building,
10 Cheung Yue Street,
Cheung Sha Wan,
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Ideology Social democracy[2]
Political position Left-wing
National affiliation Pan-democracy camp
Colours      Red
Legislative Council
1 / 70
District Councils
0 / 507
Website
www.lsd.org.hk
Politics of Hong Kong
Political parties
Elections

The League of Social Democrats (simplified Chinese: 社会民主连线; traditional Chinese: 社會民主連線; pinyin: Shèhuì Mínzhŭ Liánxiàn) or LSD is a centre-left social democratic political party in Hong Kong. It currently holds one seat in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, occupied by the party chairman "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung.

Party Beliefs[edit]

The LSD was considered as "radical wing" of the pan-democracy camp by its political beliefs and tactics. It was formed by legislators, social activists and grassroots residents. It aims to be a "clear-cut opposition party" and defend the interests of the grassroots. It opposes the wealth inequality created by collusions between the government and corporations. It positions itself as a social democratic party and believes that a just society can be achieved by redistribution of wealth, economic intervention and direct democracy.[2]

Tactics[edit]

Protests[edit]

Members of the party pioneered the use of theatrics and disruptive tactics in Hong Kong. Heckling and the throwing of projectiles have since become a frequent occurrence at Legislative Council and public meetings. Their members have been ejected from LegCo meetings on numerous occasions. At a Legislative council meeting on 15 October 2008, during the Policy Address given by then Chief Executive Donald Tsang, party chairman Wong Yuk-man threw a banana at Tsang in protest at the means test of "fruit money" (Old Age Allowance) for the elderly.

At the opening of an exhibition at the Museum of History on 2 March 2011, Steve Wong Chun-kit, member of the League of Social Democrats rushed at Donald Tsang. Protesters also threw cooked rice at Tsang, as a symbol of the plight of the poor, but missed him. Tsang said his chest was hit by the protestor and had a medical check at the Queen Mary Hospital afterwards. Tsang denounced the protest, saying that violence was unacceptable in Hong Kong, where civilised behaviour and the rule of law were fundamental values. However Leung Kwok-hung said he did not see any physical contact between Tsang and protesters. Steve Wong was arrested and released on bail.[3]

At CY Leung's first question-and-answer session as Chief Executive at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on 16 July 2012, "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung threw an effigy of Pinnochio at CY Leung.[4]

Leung Kwok-hung threw a cloud-shaped cushion at Financial Secretary John Tsang during his budget report in the Legislative Council on 27 February 2013 to demand for a universal retirement protection scheme.[5]

At a political forum on 7 December 2013, one member was captured by the media throwing a Lufsig, a cuddly toy wolf at CY Leung.[6]

Filibusters[edit]

In May 2012, Leung Kwok-hung, the only LSD member in the Legislative Council joined a weeks-long filibuster staged by Albert Chan and Wong Yuk-man, who were LSD legislators but defected to the People Power, submitting 1306 amendments altogether to the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 2012, by which the government attempted to forbid resigning lawmakers from participating in by-elections as the government's response to the "Five Constituency Referendum movement" launched by the LSD in 2010. On the morning of 17 May 2012, Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, President of the Legislative Council adopt Article 92 of the Standing Order, which allows the president follow foreign parliament rules for unregulated behaviors to terminate the debate. In the end, all amendments were defeated and the Bill was passed.

In May 2013, the LSD and People Power staged a month-long filibuster by moving a total of 710 amendments on the Budget Appropriation Bill debate, to press for a universal pension scheme and a HK$10,000 cash handout to be included in John Tsang's budget.[7] The government warned that the service would shut down if the budget bill do not pass. Jasper Tsang ordered to end the filibuster on 13 May after 55 hours spent to debate 17 of the 148 amendments.[8] The Appropriation Bill was passed on 21 May 2013 with 684 amendments negatived.[9]

History[edit]

Founding and early years (2006–2010)[edit]

The LSD was founded on 1 October 2006. The two Legislative Councillors, Leung Kwok-hung, activist from the April Fifth Action Group, and Albert Chan Wai-yip, former Democratic Party member, were the founding members. Famous radio host Raymond Wong Yuk-man became the first Chairman of the party.

In the participation in the 2007 Chief Executive Election of Alan Leong, the League of Social Democrats refused to cooperate with the Democratic Party and the Civic Party and criticised the two parties for nominating Leong as Chief Executive candidate, saying that they are not qualified as democrats.[10] In the 2006 Election Committee election, the League was criticized by media for refusing to name a candidate in protest at the "small-circle election".

The LSD won six seats its first attempt in the election in the 2007 District Council elections. In late December 2007, the Vice-Chairman of the party, Lo Wing-lok, resigned after a controversy over the lack of documentation on the lease of the party headquarters. According to Lo, the premises belonged to an alleged triad member who claimed to be a merchant.[11]

In the 2008 LegCo elections, the party emerged as the sixth largest party in the legislature by gaining over 10 percent of the vote and winning total of three seats with Chairman Wong Yuk-man wining a seat in the Kowloon West geographical constituency and Leung Kwok-hung and Albert Chan retained their seats respectively. The LSD fiercely criticised the other democratic parties during the campaign. In Kowloon East Andrew To Kwan-hang has accused the Democratic Party of wrongly backing the government's move to privatise the Link Reit Investment Trust, thus paving the way for hefty rent rises in public housing commercial and parking facilities. In Kowloon West, Chairman Wong Yuk-man lambasted the Civic Party's Claudia Mo Man-ching in the same way he did the candidates from the pro-Beijing, pro-government flagship party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), accusing the Civic Party of applying double standards in its fight for democracy, and being elitist.[12]

2010 electoral reform and splits (2010–present)[edit]

The party was member of the Alliance for Universal Suffrage which consisted of all the pro-democracy groups to strive for the 2012 universal suffrage of the Chief Executive and Legislative Council. In response to the electoral reform package proposed by the government, the party joined hand with the Civic Party to launch the "Five Constituency Referendum" by having five legislators resigning and participating in a territory-wide by-election to demand genuine universal suffrage. The claim of by-election as referendum expectedly received serve attacks from the Beijing government and the pro-Beijing camp in Hong Kong as unconstitutional.[13] The Democratic Party refused to join the movement and sought for a less confrontational way to negotiate with Beijing. The movement was considered as failure with only 17.7 percent of the registered voters voted despite all three LSD legislators successfully returned to the LegCo.[13] The LSD strongly criticised the Democratic Party for its move to negotiate with Beijing and voted for the reform package and attacked the Democratic Party in the following 2010 July 1 march.

The party was also heavily devastated from the intra-party struggles. The former Chairman Wong Yuk-man disagreed with the policies of the incumbent Chairman Andrew To including the ways of dealing with the Democratic Party. On 24 January 2011, two of the three legislators of the party, Wong Yuk-man and Albert Chan quit the party with many party's leading figures, citing disagreement with leader Andrew To and his faction. About two hundreds of their supporters joined them, leaving the LSD in disarray.[14][15] Wong and Chan formed the People Power with other defected members and radical groups which aimed at sniping Democratic Party in the upcoming 2011 District Council elections.[16]

The party lost all its seats in the District Councils in the District Council elections in November, all four of the party's seats were swept by the pro-Beijing candidates, including that of Andrew To for Chuk Yuen North constituency. Twenty-three other League candidates also failed to win. Two days later, Andrew To resigned as Chairman, to take responsibility for the loss, but pledged not to alter the League's ideology for the sake of winning elections.[17] Leung Kwok-hung replaced To as the Chairman of the LSD.

Performance in elections[edit]

Legislative Council elections[edit]

Election Number of
popular votes
 % of
popular votes
GC
seats
FC
seats
Total seats +/−
2008 153,390Steady 10.12Steady 3 0
3 / 60
1Increase
2012 87,997Decrease 4.86Decrease 1 0
1 / 70
0Steady

District Council elections[edit]

Election Number of
popular votes
 % of
popular votes
Total
elected seats
+/−
2007 28,601Steady 2.51Steady
6 / 405
6Decrease
2011 21,833Decrease 1.85Decrease
0 / 412
4Decrease

List of chairpersons[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "社會民主連線 League of Social Democrats - 社會民主連線第四屆第一次週年會員大會新聞稿︰梁國雄接任主席 堅定不移 繼續抗爭". Lsd.org.hk. Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  2. ^ a b "關於社民連". League of Social Democrats (in Chinese). 
  3. ^ Mok, Danny; Chong, Tanna (3 March 2011). "Outrage after protester attacks Donald Tsang at gallery". South China Morning Post. 
  4. ^ "Protester hurls Pinnochio effigy at Hong Kong leader". NBC News. 
  5. ^ "Ballot boxing: Politics turns into a punch-up – 1/10". The Independent. 
  6. ^ McBain, Sophie (10 December 2013). "How Lufsig the cuddly wolf became a Hong Kong protest symbol – A short lesson in the art of mistranslating names into Chinese". The New Statesman. 
  7. ^ "Filibustering continues over budget". RTHK. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Lai, Ying-kit (13 May 2013). "Legco president Jasper Tsang orders end to budget bill filibuster". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  9. ^ LegCo Reporter Council Meeting 2012-2013 Issue No. 28 (21 May 2013)
  10. ^ "社民連與民主公民兩黨割席". Sing Pao (in Chinese). 24 November 2006. 
  11. ^ "RTHK Online News". Rthk.org.hk. 2007-12-29. Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  12. ^ Yeung, Chris (3 September 2008). "Infighting threatens pro-democracy camp". South China Morning Post. 
  13. ^ a b Lee, Francis L. F.; Chan, Joseph M. (2010). Media, Social Mobilisation and Mass Protests in Post-colonial Hong Kong: The Power of a Critical Event. Routledge. 
  14. ^ "黃毓民倒戈 社民連分裂伙陳偉業牽頭退黨 長毛未有決定". Mingpao (in Chinese). 24 Jan 2011. 
  15. ^ "League on verge of collapse as heavyweights lead party exodus". South China Morning Post. 24 Jan 2011. 
  16. ^ "600支持者出席集思會 黃毓民、陳偉業率200人退出社民連". Apple Daily (in Chinese). 24 January 2011. 
  17. ^ "League head quits after poll disaster". Radio Television Hong Kong. 8 Nov 2011. 

External links[edit]