Friday, 6 February 2015

Comic Lacks Political Chops

Tsang resigned from the Jiangmen provincial CPPCC today
When you're appointed to become a delegate of the Chinese People's Consultative Conference, it's not something to be taken lightly.

While card-carrying Communists who have proven their worth are usually invited into this elite group that gives suggestions to the Central government in the hopes that they will be made into policy, there are others who get conferred these titles by merit of their celebrity status.

Such is the case with Hong Kong comedian Eric Tsang Chi-wai, who was appointed a delegate of the Jiangmen provincial CPPCC in January 2011.

But mainland Chinese media have criticized him in the last few days for failing to show up at the annual political consultative conference in Jiangmen for the fifth consecutive year. He also didn't submit any consultation proposals, according to the Southern Metropolis News.

China Youth Daily also chimed in with an editorial, urging Tsang to step down.

"To some celebrities, a local political consultative conference title is just an additional feature to them and they might not [take] it seriously. Delegate Zeng has never fulfilled his duty... and served as a poor example," the commentary said. "Those who cannot fulfill the duties should either resign or be sacked," it added.

And so today Tsang followed the editorial and resigned. "I am very sorry," he said, according to Hong Kong media. "As a delegate on both the Guangzhou and Jiangmen political consultative conferences, I could only attend the one in Guangzhou because the dates of the two annual assemblies clashed.

"I have already telephoned Jiangmen Political Consultative Conference to announce my resignation."

Despite the embarrassment, Tsang must be breathing a sigh of relief with having one responsibility taken off his shoulders.

But why was he appointed to two CPPCCs and what made him a suitable candidate to be chosen to join in the first place?

This is a similar situation to former Olympic champion hurdler Liu Xiang who is a member of the national committee of the CPPCC. He attended the annual session at the last minute after public criticism of him not showing up for two years.

He had to cut short his medical treatment in the United States to fly back to Beijing two days before the session ended, and apologized for his absence.

Athletes and celebrities may be too busy to think about recommendations to the central government, let alone be qualified, unless they really are advocates in their respective communities.

Let's not forget Tsang resigned as chair of the Hong Kong Performing Artist Guild in October 2013 after he was criticized for not speaking up on behalf of fellow actors on the television license issue.

Politics is clearly not in Tsang's blood. Let him continue cracking jokes instead on the stage where he belongs.


  1. I find Eric Tsang to be a strange choice for CPPCC delegate -- though it actually the case that he's far more than a comedian... being adept at dramatic acting and also being a film producer, director and mentor to many young(er) filmmakers. Also, he's got some controversy in his background due to his father being a former policeman who fled to Taiwan after being convicted of corruption.

    Still, he's a better choice than Jackie Chan... or don't tell me that Jackie Chan's a CCPPCC delegate too?!

  2. Hi YTSL -- Yes indeed Jackie Chan is a NATIONAL CPPCC member as of almost exactly a year ago (January 31, 2014).

    Eric Tsang is also involved in many social enterprises, but yes I agree he should not really be a member and people should be given the option to opt out, though maybe they fear their guanxi will be curtailed if they don't say yes...