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China set to punish HK lawmaker for criticising leader

[HONG KONG] A senior pro-Beijing lawmaker in Hong Kong faces being sacked from an influential Chinese government body after taking the unusual step of criticising the city's embattled leader, his brother said Wednesday.

Fellow lawmaker Michael Tien said his brother James, a prominent businessman and politician, will likely be dumped from the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) because of his perceived disloyalty to Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

The standing committee of the prestigious body, which advises the Chinese government on policy, will vote to decide Tien's fate later Wednesday.

"I believe it will be passed. The decision is definitely based on my brother's comments about CY (Leung Chun-ying)," Michael Tien told AFP.

James Tien, a senior member of the city's pro-business Liberal Party, said last week that Mr Leung should consider resigning for failing to put an end to a month of street protests by pro-democracy demonstrators.

"Residents are ignoring court injunctions (to disperse) and pan-democrats are being uncooperative. How is he going to govern?" Tien said on Friday according to the South China Morning Post.

Michael Tien said his brother's place on the CPPCC was at risk because he had appeared to have gone against a resolution passed earlier this year in which delegates of the advisory body promised to stand behind Leung.

Beijing-backed Leung's popularity has taken a nosedive since the protests began last month.

While he is something of a hate figure among protesters and the city's vocal pro-democrat lawmaker camp, it is rare for establishment politicians to voice anything other than unflinching support for Leung.

Parts of the Asian financial hub have been paralysed for more than a month by mass rallies and roadblocks. Protesters are calling on Beijing to rescind a recent decision that all candidates running for the top post in 2017 must be vetted by a loyalist committee.

Beijing has not backed down since then, with officials throwing their full support behind the local government and Leung, branding the protests as being influenced by hostile external forces.

Michael Tien said the central government authorities had little tolerance for any dissent at such a crucial time.

"President Xi (Jinping) himself has openly announced and had asked for all the support. The timing is crucial," Michael Tien said.

"If there is any change at this moment (within the city's leadership), the Occupy movement is going to turn into a severe, ugly crisis... They need CY Leung to stay here and resolve the crisis," he said.

He said that his brother may be facing the axe for not supporting the city top leader "whole-heartedly" as is expected by the Beijing leaders.