Jasper Tsang Yok-sing

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The Honourable
Jasper Tsang Yok-sing
Tsang Yok Sing Photo.JPG
President of the Legislative Council
Assumed office
8 October 2008
Preceded by Rita Fan
Member of the Legislative Council
Assumed office
1 October 2008
Preceded by Choy So-yuk
Constituency Hong Kong Island
In office
21 December 1996 – 30 June 1998
(Provisional Legislative Council)
In office
1 July 1998 – 30 September 2008
Preceded by New parliament
Succeeded by Starry Lee
Constituency Kowloon West
Non-official Member of the Executive Council
In office
1 July 2002 – 15 October 2008
Appointed by Tung Chee-hwa
Donald Tsang
Preceded by Tam Yiu-chung
Succeeded by Lau Kong-wah
Chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong
In office
10 July 1992 – 2 December 2003
Preceded by New party
Succeeded by Ma Lik
Personal details
Born (1947-05-17) 17 May 1947 (age 69)
Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
Nationality Hong Kong Chinese
Political party Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong
Spouse(s) Young Sun-yee (divorced)
Ng Kar-man (m. 2009)
Alma mater St Paul's College
University of Hong Kong (BA, Cert.Ed., MEd)
Profession Politician
Jasper Tsang Yok-sing
Traditional Chinese 曾鈺成
Simplified Chinese 曾钰成

Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, GBM, JP (born 17 May 1947) is the 2nd and the current President of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong. He is the founding Chairman of the largest Beijing-loyalist party the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) from 1992 to 2003. He was first elected to the Provisional Legislative Council in 1996 and had represented the Kowloon West constituency in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong from 1998 to 2008 until he ran for the Hong Kong Island constituency and subsequently elected as the President of the Legislative Council since. Being the leading figure of the pro-Beijing camp, he is considered relatively liberal-minded in the camp.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Tsang was born in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China on 17 May 1947. Tsang's father, Tsang Chiu-kan was a clerk at the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, a pro-Beijing business organisation in the colony. His younger brother, Tsang Tak-sing, is the former Secretary for Home Affairs of Hong Kong. He moved to Hong Kong when he was two years old and grew up in Sai Wan's Academic Terrace.Tsang received his primary and secondary education at St. Paul's College run by the Hong Kong Anglican Church. He studied for a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics at the University of Hong Kong and graduated with first class honours.

Tsang grew his patriotic sentiments and interest in Marxism by reading the leftist newspaper Wen Wei Po which his father brought home from work everyday and worshipped Qian Xuesen, a reowned scientist who returned to the mainland from the United States in the 1950s. In 1966, he went back to Guangzhou with his mother and was impressed by the socialist life there. He proclaimed himself a Marxist and studied works of Karl Marx and Mao Zedong with like-minded classmates at a time when the majority of the students at the University of Hong Kong supported the colonial rule and had negative views on the communist regime in China.[2]

1967 riots and teaching life[edit]

He joined several university students in making donations to the leftist unions through Wen Wei Po following the industrial dispute at the Hong Kong Artificial Flower Works in April 1967 which later escalated to large-scale riots. He joined the demonstrations in Central and founded a student journal called New HKU against Undergrad, the journal published by the Hong Kong University Students' Union which was critical of the riots.[2]

In 1969, he gave up the plans to further his studies abroad although he had been accepted by four prominent universities in the United States after his brother, Tsang Tak-sing was prosecuted for "distributing inflammatory leaflets" during the riots and was imprisoned for 18 months.[2]

After graduating from the University of Hong Kong, Tsang joined the leftist Piu Kiu Middle School. After the downfall of Gang of Four, Tsang began to question his own beliefs.[2] He obtained a Graduate Diploma of Education in 1981 and a Master of Education at the University of Hong Kong in 1983. He went on to become the principal of the Piu Kiu Middle School in 1986 until he left his position to become a full-time politician. He became the supervisor of the school and was also the supervisor of a newly established direct-subsidised school, the Pui Kiu College.

Political career[edit]

Stepping into politics[edit]

Tsang remained faithful to the Chinese Communist Party. Due to his good education background, Tsang became a high-flyer within the leftist camp. He stepped into the politics in 1976 when he was appointed a member of the Guangdong provincial committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. He became a member of the Conference's National Committee in 1993.

Chairman of the DAB[edit]

In 1992, he founded the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong with other local traditional leftists under the direction of Beijing to counter the newly emerging pro-democracy camp. Tsang became the first chairman of the party. He was subsequently appointed to the committee responsible for the preparatory work for the establishment of Hong Kong.[citation needed]

He ran for the DAB in the 1995 Legislative Council elections but was defeated by Bruce Liu from the pro-democracy Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL). He was subsequently elected to the Provisional Legislative Council in 1996 by the Beijing-controlled Selection Committee.

Tsang was first directly elected to the Legislative Council in 1998, representing the Kowloon West constituency. In 2002 he was appointed to the Executive Council by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa. In 2002 the fifth anniversary of the Special Administrative Region, he was awarded the Gold Bauhinia Star by the government.

As the ally of the Tung administration, the DAB suffered criticisms with the unpopular government. During the controversy surrounding the enactment of the national security bill in Hong Kong, Tsang drew criticism for his party's support of the government's legislative initiatives. Following the 1 July 2003 protests and disappointing performance of his party in the 2003 District Council elections, he resigned from the party's chairmanship in December 2003.

President of the Legislative Council[edit]

He gave up his seat on Kowloon West and ran in the Hong Kong Island in the 2008 LegCo election. After the election, he decided to run for the presidency of the Legislative Council, replacing retired Rita Fan. Tsang was asked about his membership in the Chinese Communist Party. He stated that "Since the foundation of the DAB, I have been asked whether I am a Communist Party member many times. And I can say frankly, I have never answered this question. The reason is, Hong Kong people's attitude to the concept of the Communist Party is very negative." This was generally regarded by the press as an admission to membership.[3][4][5] He resigned from the Executive Council after being elected the President.

Tsang has also been criticised for the manner in which he presides over Legislative Council meetings, which has led to walkout protests, though he is perceived generally as fair and accommodating and enjoys friendly relations with both pro-Beijing and pan-democratic members.[6] On the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, which he referred to as "suppressing students was surely wrong."[7]

Around the time of the 2012 Chief Executive election, he has been noted for his relatively liberal views on issues such as universal suffrage,[8][9] He had expressed interest in running for the election but later on abstained.

After the legislative vote of the 2015 Hong Kong electoral reform in which the pro-Beijing legislators made a wildly embarrassing and controversial walkout, the Oriental Daily published leaked messages which Tsang was discussing strategies with the pro-Beijing legislator in a WhatsApp group before the electoral reform package and suggesting the legislators delay their speeches so that the pan-democrats could not control the timing of the vote. The pan-democrats questioned Tsang's neutrality in the chamber, seeing the text messages as "clear evidence" that he was colluding with the rest of the government's allies and planned to mull a no-confidence vote against him. He apologised to the legislators but refused to resign.[10]

On 1 July 2015, Tsang was adwarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal (GBM), the highest honour of the SAR, in recognition of his long and distinguished public service, particularly his presidency of the Legislative Council.[11]


Tsang has been voted "Hong Kong’s most popular Legislative Councillor" for the last 13 years, in annual polls conducted by the University of Hong Kong Public Opinion Programme. In 2016, his support rating was 63.1 percent, ahead of, in order, Regina Ip with 49.6 percent, Alan Leong Kah-kit with 48.2 percent and Starry Lee Wai-king with a 45.6 percent.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ng, Joyce (14 July 2014). "Jasper Tsang: Legco middleman finds little sympathy". South China Morning Post. 
  2. ^ a b c d Cheung, Gary Ka-wai (2009). Hong Kong's Watershed: The 1967 Riots. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 162–7. 
  3. ^ "DAB's Tsang still silent on communist membership", South China Morning Post, 8 October 2008. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Not in HK, dear comrade", The Standard (Hong Kong), 8 October 2008. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  5. ^ Leung, Ambrose (9 October 2008). "DAB may press Legco president on Communist membership". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  6. ^ Lee, Colleen (14 October 2011). "Fury at 'thug, triad' barbs".[dead link] The Standard
  7. ^ Associated Press (25 February 2009). "HK pro-China politician condemns Tiananmen actions". China Post. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  8. ^ Luk, Eddie (28 February 2012). "I'm out (...at least for now)." The Standard. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  9. ^ 香港特首選舉:曾鈺成宣佈不參選 [Hong Kong Chief Executive election: Jasper Tsang Yok-sing refuses to run]. BBC. 27 February 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Cheung, Gary; Lam, Jeffie; Ng, Joyce (25 June 2015). "Legco president Jasper Tsang refuses to quit as leaked reform vote WhatsApp chat emerges". South China Morning Post. 
  11. ^ "Appendix: The citations of the award recipients of the 2015 Honours List". Hong Kong Government. 1 July 2015. 
  12. ^ LegCo Pres. Jasper Tsang retains title as most popular lawmaker for 13th consecutive poll, Hong Kong Free Press, 22 April 2016

External links[edit]

  • [ Jasper Tsang's official web site]
Legislative Council of Hong Kong
New parliament Member of Provisional Legislative Council
Replaced by Legislative Council
Member of Legislative Council
Representative for Kowloon West
Succeeded by
Starry Lee
Preceded by
Choy So-yuk
Member of Legislative Council
Representative for Hong Kong Island
Preceded by
Rita Fan
President of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong
Party political offices
New political party Chairman of Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong
Succeeded by
Ma Lik
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Rimsky Yuen
Secretary for Justice
Hong Kong order of precedence
President of the Legislative Council
Succeeded by
Lam Woon-kwong
Convenor of the Executive Council