James Tien (politician)

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James Tien Pei-chun
James Tien cut.jpg
Member of the Legislative Council
In office
1 October 2012 – 30 September 2016
Preceded by New seat
Succeeded by Baggio Leung
Constituency New Territories East
In office
1 October 2004 – 30 September 2008
Preceded by Wong Sing-chi
Succeeded by Wong Sing-chi
In office
28 June 1993 – 30 June 1997
Preceded by Stephen Cheong
Succeeded by Replaced by Provisional Legislative Council
Constituency Industrial (First)
In office
21 December 1996 – 30 June 1998
(Provisional Legislative Council)
In office
1 July 1998 – 30 September 2004
Preceded by New parliament
Succeeded by Jeffrey Lam
Constituency Commercial (First)
In office
12 October 1988 – 22 August 1991
Appointed by Sir David Wilson
Non-official Member of the Executive Council
In office
1 July 2002 – 6 July 2003
Appointed by Tung Chee-hwa
Succeeded by Selina Chow
Member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
In office
March 2003 – 29 October 2014
Chairman Jia Qinglin
Yu Zhengsheng
Leader of the Liberal Party
In office
21 May 2013 – 29 October 2014
Chairperson Selina Chow
Preceded by New post
Succeeded by Vincent Fang
Chairman of the Liberal Party
In office
5 December 1998 – 8 September 2008
Preceded by Allen Lee
Succeeded by Miriam Lau
Chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board
In office
1 April 2007 – 1 April 2013
Appointed by Donald Tsang
Preceded by Selina Chow
Succeeded by Peter Lam
Personal details
Born (1947-01-08) 8 January 1947 (age 70)
Shanghai, Republic of China
Political party Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Mary N. H.
Relations Michael Tien (brother)
Children Andrea
Parents Francis Tien
Residence Hong Kong Island
Alma mater Diocesan Boys' School
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
Occupation Politician, entrepreneur
James Tien
Chinese 田北俊

James Tien Pei-chun, GBS, OBE, JP (born 8 January 1947, Shanghai) is the former Chairman and Leader of the Liberal Party (LP) and former member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (Legco). Coming from the background of an entrepreneur, he was also a non-official member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong (Exco), member of Central and Western and Kwai Tsing District Council and Hong Kong member to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Early life and family[edit]

Tien was born in 1947 in Shanghai and moved to Hong Kong two years later with his family. His father, Francis Tien, was a successful clothing merchant, owning textile factories in Hong Kong and was appointed member of the Legislative Council and many consultative bodies for the colonial government in the 1960s and 70s. James Tien's younger brother Michael Tien owns the fashion chain G2000 and was chairman of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation before it merged with the Mass Transit Railway Corporation.

He traveled to the United States to study chemical engineering when he was 17 years old and met his wife Mary, a Vietnamese-Chinese, in the college. In 1970, the couple returned to Hong Kong and he worked for his father in the factories.

Political career[edit]

He was first appointed a District Councilor for Kwai Tsing District in 1985 as a representative of the business sector as his factories were in Kwai Tsing. He was appointed to the Hong Kong Basic Law Consultative Committee (BLCC) which oversaw the drafting of the post-1997 Hong Kong Basic Law in 1985. He was part of the Group of 89, the conservative faction of the Committee members consisting of mostly businessmen and professionals elites.

He was first appointed to the Legislative Council in 1988. In the 1991 Legislative Council elections, he was elected through the Industrial (First) functional constituency. In 1993, he co-founded the pro-business Liberal Party which was established by the business sector in the legislature countering the liberal faction of the United Democrats of Hong Kong after its landslide victory in the first direct legislative election in 1991. He became Chairman of the Liberal Party after the resignation of its first leader, Allen Lee Peng Fei, in December 1998.[citation needed]

He was also Chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, an most influential chamber of commerce in Hong Kong between 1996 and 1997. He is also a general committee member of both the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Hong Kong Industries.

Tien was a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference from 2003 until 2014. Tien joined the Executive Council, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's cabinet, in July 2002 as Chairman of the Liberal Party, following the reorganisation of the Council under the new Principal Officials Accountability System of the Chief Executive.[citation needed]

After one year, on 6 July 2003, Tien announced his resignation from the Executive Council, when his calls to delay the controversial legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law were rejected. His resignation ultimately led to the withdrawal of the legislation and break-up of the "ruling alliance" of the Chief Executive, causing his popularity and that of Liberal Party to surge. Until 2004, he held the seat of the Commercial (First) Functional Constituency in Legco, representing the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce's approximately 4,000 members. He then was elected to the New Territories East geographical constituency direct elections for the first time in the 2004 Legislative Council elections. In the 2005 Chief Executive election, the announcement that his ally Henry Tang had dropped out of the race was further bad news about for party. He initially said that he might stand for selection as Chief Executive, but ultimately did not.[citation needed]

Tien lost his seat in the 2008 Legislative Council elections, when the Liberal Party lost all its geographical constituency seats, and he subsequently announced that he would not stand again for Legco. He also resigned as Chairman of the Liberal Party.[1][2]

In 2010, Tien resumed his involvement with the Liberal Party in the capacity of Honorary Chairman. He threw his weight behind Henry Tang in the 2012 Chief Executive election. In 2012, Tien went back on his previous undertaking and successfully re-claimed the New Territories East seat in the 2012 Legislative Council elections.

During the 2014 Hong Kong protests, Tien called on Chief Executive CY Leung to resign, leading to the CPPCC hearing a call to eject him as a member.[3] Tien was formally stripped of his post at the meeting on 29 October, making him the first person in history to have received this sanction. Tien stepped down from his position as the leader of the Liberal Party after the removal.[4]

In the 2016 Legislative Council election, James Tien ran a campaign against the second term of the Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. He stood as a second candidate on his young party colleague Dominic Lee's ticket. The ticket gained 20,031 votes, around 3 per cent of the vote share and both of them were not elected.


On 11 October 2007, it was reported that Tien had accepted MTRC CEO Chow Chung-kong's sincere apology after the latter backed Civic Party barrister Tanya Chan Suk-chong against Liberal Party lawyer and incumbent Mark Lin Man-kit in the district council election for the Peak district.[5]

Tien explained that Chow would have to bear all the political consequences for his choice of backing a rival party's candidate. Tien made clear that he was personally infuriated by Chow's unfriendly act despite the Liberal Party's loyalty and consistent support for the rail company.[5] Tien further stated that the MTRC would face probable dissent from Liberal members in future matters involving MTRC inside district councils.[6][7]

Tien backed down on 12 October 2007 by sincerely apologising to both Chow and the public.[8][9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Liberal Chairman James Tien steps downRTHK, 8 September 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2008.
  2. ^ Pan Democrats Takes 19 Seats Tien Losses and Resigns As Chairman – RTHK, 8 September 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2008. (in Chinese)
  3. ^ James Tien faces CPPCC expulsion, RTHK, 28 October 2014
  4. ^ "Politician Who Called for Hong Kong Leader's Resignation Is Formally Penalized". The New York Times. 29 October 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Democratic Party eyes legal action over Tien `threats'". The Standard. Hong Kong. Retrieved 12 October 2007. 
  6. ^ Chow's Apology Accepted – Tien – RTHK news (in Chinese)
  7. ^ When Personal & Political Gains Become Paramount, Public Interest Goes Out The Window – Mingpao News (in Chinese)
  8. ^ Tien Withdraws Comments Against Chow's District Council Nomination – RTHK news (in Chinese)
  9. ^ Cable TV Hong Kong, 12 October 2007
  10. ^ "Tien apologises for comments about MTRC chief". RTHK news. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2007. 
Legislative Council of Hong Kong
Preceded by
Stephen Cheong
Member of Legislative Council
Representative for Industrial (First)
Replaced by Provisional Legislative Council
New parliament Member of Provisional Legislative Council
Replaced by Legislative Council
Member of Legislative Council
Representative for Commercial (First)
Succeeded by
Jeffrey Lam
Preceded by
Wong Sing-chi
Member of Legislative Council
Representative for New Territories East
Succeeded by
Wong Sing-chi
New seat Member of Legislative Council
Representative for New Territories East
Succeeded by
Baggio Leung
Business positions
Preceded by
William Fung
Chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce
Succeeded by
Peter Sutch
Party political offices
Preceded by
Allen Lee
Chairperson of the Liberal Party
Succeeded by
Miriam Lau
New office Leader of the Liberal Party
Title next held by
Vincent Fang
Political offices
Preceded by
Louis Leung Wing-on
Member of Central and Western District Council
Representative for Peak
Succeeded by
Mark Lin
Preceded by
Selina Chow
Chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board
Succeeded by
Peter Lam
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Stephen Ip
Recipients of the Gold Bauhinia Star
Hong Kong order of precedence
Recipients of the Gold Bauhinia Star
Succeeded by
Ambrose Lau
Recipients of the Gold Bauhinia Star