23 April 1998

Democratic Party Members Albert Chan Wai-yip and John Tse Wing-ling Withdraw from Race

Two Democratic Party members, Albert Chan Wai-yip and John Tse Wing-ling, announced today that they would regretfully pull out of the Legislative Council elections. The former legislators, who had been nominated by the party as part of the New Territories West and East tickets, explained their inability to represent the party, their regret and their determination to continue in electoral politics. Mr. Chan and Mr. Tse take this step because the new election law passed last August by the Provisional Legislature requires that a candidate for one of the 20 democratically elected seats have "no right of abode in any country other than the People's Republic of China." Candidates for a specified 12 functional constituencies (financial services, insurance, real estate, etc.) are allowed to retain foreign passports and right of abode.

Statement by Albert Chan:

"I must apologize to Hong Kong people for my withdrawal from the May 24 elections, as I learned this week that my application to renounce my Canadian citizenship could not be completed ahead of the closing date for the registration period. Because my Canadian passport expired 7 years ago; I had informed the Canadian Government that I am a non-resident of Canada and I am a permanent resident of Hong Kong; and because over the past few years I have used my BNO passport as my travel document, I therefore assumed I did not need to formally take steps to renounce my citizenship.

Following the nomination process, I read from newspaper reports of other candidates' efforts to qualify for the election, and decided I should investigate whether I was required to renounce my citizenship under the new regulations. So, I took the initiative to check with the Registration and Electoral Office and the Canadian Consulate. When I learned I might be disqualified under the new regulations, I immediately renounced my citizenship at the Canadian Consulate. However, the citizenship renunciation process requires four months. I fully accept my mistake in not realising the need to begin this process four months ago. When I registered as a candidate, I did not understand that I needed to make a formal renunciation of my citizenship in order to no longer have right of abode in Canada. Thus, with a heavy heart, I regretfully withdraw from this race. I intend to continue in electoral politics and working for the good of Hong Kong people.

I deeply regret my mistake and accept full responsibility for this difficulty, which I hope will not affect my colleagues in the Democratic Party. I have served the Tsuen Wan District for 13 years, at all three levels of government, from the District Board to Regional Council to Legislative Council. I will not be discouraged by this setback and will continue to campaign for the Democratic Party and to serve the Tsuen Wan and NT West residents. I apologise and appreciate the public's understanding."

Statement by John Tse:

"I apologise sincerely that I will be withdrawing from the May 1998 elections. The reason for my withdrawal is that I mistakenly regarded my British Passport Scheme passport as the same as a BNO, just another travel document, which would not affect my permanent residency in Hong Kong and the qualification to run for the election, particularly as China has never accepted the validity of these passports. After I was nominated and spoke with friends, I had doubts as to whether my identity qualifies me for the election. So, I took the initiative to check with the British Consulate, and realized my passport and right to abode cannot be cancelled immediately. When I realized the situation, I have to admit honestly that I have made a mistake, to withdraw and to apologize to the public.

I wish to make it clear that this is my personal fault and I will bear any criticism for this error of judgement. Following my withdrawal from the election, I will continue to endeavour to cancel my British passport. I hope that those who support me and the Democratic Party will not lose confidence in the Democratic Party, but will continue to support democracy and to vote for my colleagues in the Democratic Party. Once again, I offer my deepest and sincerest apologies."

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