Top China body axes Hong Kong's James Tien for criticism

James Tien, in a picture dated 10 September 2004. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Tien said he accepts the dismissal from the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference

Members of the top political advisory body in China have voted to kick out Hong Kong tycoon James Tien for his criticism of Chief Executive CY Leung.

Mr Tien has accepted his dismissal from the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

He also said in a press conference that he would resign as the leader of the pro-Beijing Liberal Party.

Mr Tien had publicly urged Mr Leung to quit last week for failing to end the ongoing street protests.

On Tuesday, activists marked a month of protests in response to Beijing's ruling that it will screen candidates for the upcoming 2017 chief executive election.

Hundreds of students and activists calling for full democracy in Hong Kong remain at key demonstration sites.

Out of favour

In remarks reported by the South China Morning Post, Mr Tien said last Friday that Hong Kong residents were ignoring court injunctions to disperse from key roads, and pan-democrat lawmakers were being uncooperative.

The businessman and lawmaker said Mr Leung should consider resigning, adding: "How is he going to govern?"

His remarks appeared to contravene a vote taken by the CPPCC in March to "resolutely support" Hong Kong's chief executive.

Beijing has expressed full support for Mr Leung, whose public approval ratings have fallen to their lowest point since he became Hong Kong's leader in 2012.

The Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily published a number of editorials at the height of the pro-democracy protests praising his handling of the situation.

The BBC's Juliana Liu says Mr Tien, 67, is a well-known Hong Kong businessman who has strong ties to the Chinese leadership. He chairs real estate company Manhattan Holdings.

But he was seen to have broken ranks with the establishment with his remarks, says our correspondent. He is believed to be the first delegate from Hong Kong to be sacked due to his political views.

It is not the first time Mr Tien, who is also a member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council, has come into conflict with the government.

In 2003, he withdrew his support for the government's controversial national security bill, Article 23, forcing the government to shelve the legislation and leading to the eventual resignation of the then-Chief Executive, Tung Chee-hwa.

The CPPCC does not wield any formal power in China, but plays a role in the country's affairs by advising the parliament. Membership is said to be a sign of Beijing's favour.

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