Maria Tam

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Maria Tam Wai-chu
Maria Tam Wai-Chu 2010 Enlarged.jpg
Deputy of Hong Kong to National People's Congress
Assumed office
8 December 1997
9th National People's Congress
10th National People's Congress
11th National People's Congress
Congress chairman Li Peng
Wu Bangguo
Zhang Dejiang
Unofficial Member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong
In office
Appointed by Sir Edward Youde
Sir David Wilson
Unofficial Member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong
In office
1 September 1981 – 22 August 1991
Appointed by Sir Murray MacLehose
Sir Edward Youde
Sir David Wilson
In office
21 December 1996 – 27 June 1997
(Provisional Legislative Council)
Personal details
Born (1945-11-02) 2 November 1945 (age 69)
Hong Kong
Political party LDF (1990–97)
HKPA (1997–2005)
DAB (2005–15)
Other political
PHKS (1985–90s)
Alma mater St. Paul's Co-educational College
University of London
Gray’s Inn
Occupation Barrister
Maria Tam
Traditional Chinese 譚惠珠

Maria Tam Wai-chu CBE GBM GBS JP (Traditional Chinese: 譚惠珠) is a barrister by profession and a politician of Hong Kong.


Tam entered into politics when she ran in the 1979 Urban Council election as the advocate for women's rights. In the 1980s she was a member of four different levels councils in Hong Kong, namely the Executive and Legislative Councils, the Urban Council and the Central and Western District Board. During her office in the colonial government, she witnessed the Sino-British negotiations on the political status of Hong Kong after 1997 and the Sino-British Joint Declaration. She was appointed to many positions by Beijing during the transition period, such as member of the Preparatory Committee for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (PRC) and Hong Kong Affairs Advisor (PRC). She is also a former Chairman of the Transport Advisory Committee.

Tam was co-opted into the colonial government and "quickly became one of its most loyal mouthpieces". Before the handover of Hong Kong, she helped to form a less than successful pro-Beijing party and was "among a group of prominent turncoats that switched from being cheerleaders for the colonial regime to supporters of the new order."[1]

Tam is a member of the Board of the Airport Authority Hong Kong, a member of the Advisory Committee on Corruption of the ICAC. After the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong she became deputy to the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and a member of the Committee for the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR under the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.

In February 2006, Tam joined the board of subsequently Hong Kong-listed mainland Nine Dragons Paper Holdings Limited, one of the world's largest paperboard manufacturers, whose conditions for workers at its plants were sharply criticised in the 2008 human rights report by the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China and by Hong Kong's Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (SACOM).[2]

As the member of the Basic Law committee, she became a spokeswoman for the Beijing authority on the issues of Basic Law and constitutional reform. In 2013 on the matter of the universal suffrage of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, she said the United Nations' International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights indicated that the right to be elected is not universal. She also suggested that an interpretation of the Basic Law by Beijing could be the last option for determining how universal suffrage could be implemented for the 2017 chief executive election.[3]


An alumna of St. Paul's Co-educational College, she received her legal education at the University of London and subsequently became a member of Gray’s Inn, London.[4]


She received the Grand Bauhinia Medal on 1 July 2013.[5]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Henry H. O. Luk
Member of Urban Council
Succeeded by
Chow Wai-keung
Legislative Council of Hong Kong
New parliament Member of Provisional Legislative Council
Succeeded by
Choy So-yuk
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Lui Che Woo
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
Hong Kong order of precedence
Recipient of the Grand Bauhinia Medal
Succeeded by
Kuo Way
President of the City University of Hong Kong