Posts Tagged ‘Leung Chun-ying’

Hong Kong’s first female leader has Beijing’s backing but pro-independance and human rights groups call her “a nightmare for Hong Kong’s freedoms”

July 1, 2017

HONG KONG — Carrie Lam, who was sworn in as Hong Kong’s first female leader on Saturday, is a former student activist who climbed the rungs of the civil service over 36 years, and a tough, capable and possibly divisive Beijing-backed leader.

Lam, most recently Hong Kong’s number two official, has to unify the Chinese-ruled city as public resentment swells at Beijing’s growing interference in its affairs despite being promised a high degree of autonomy.

She also has to reinvigorate the economy and address growing social inequalities and high property prices, issues Chinese President Xi Jinping highlighted at her swearing-in ceremony.

Several sources who have worked with Lam say she’s intelligent, hard-working and able to push controversial government policies, earning her the trust of Beijing factions who strongly lobbied for votes on her behalf when she was chosen in March.

But her hardline and pro-Beijing tendencies, say critics and opposition democrats, risk sowing further social divisions in the former British colony that returned to China 20 years ago under a “one country, two systems” formula that guarantees it wide-ranging freedoms.

“Carrie Lam … is a nightmare for Hong Kong,” said student activist Joshua Wong in March, one of the leaders of the student-led “Umbrella Movement” protests in 2014 which blocked the streets for 79 days demanding full democracy.

“Theoretically, the chief executive is a bridge between the central government and the Hong Kong people. But Lam will be a tilted bridge. She will only tell us what Beijing wants, and won’t reflect what the people want to the communist regime.”

Lam, dubbed “the fighter” by media, was once the most popular official in the cabinet of staunchly pro-Beijing former chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, who in 2012 won a similar election restricted to just 1,200 voters.

“Picking Carrie as chief secretary was Leung’s best appointment,” said a senior government official who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media. But she could also sometimes be a “bully”, he added.


Lam’s popularity began to slip just as a younger generation of protesters rose to prominence, and tumbled further during the course of her election campaign this year.

 (AP Photo/Vincent Yu). Chief executive-elect Carrie Lam wipes her eyes as Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, right, and her husband Lam Siu-por, center, stand during the flag raising ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hong Kong handover to China

Her attempt to push through a planned Palace Museum in Hong Kong, showing artefacts from the museum in Beijing’s Forbidden City, was criticized for being presented as a done deal without public consultation, highlighting what some describe as her “autocratic” style, according to a source who knows her.

She is not well regarded by the opposition democratic camp, with most of the 300 or so democrats seen having voted for former Financial Secretary John Tsang.

The bespectacled Lam was also criticized by student leaders for being “vague” after their televised meeting failed to defuse the 2014 protests. The demonstration ran out of steam two months later and ended with police clearing the streets.

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan). Pro-democracy activists paste the words "Chinese Communist Demon Claws" on a defaced photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping before attempting to march in protest towards the venue where official ceremonies are held to mark the 20...
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan). Pro-democracy activists paste the words “Chinese Communist Demon Claws” on a defaced photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping before attempting to march in protest towards the venue where official ceremonies are held to mark the 20th Anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China

During her campaign, Lam attempted to present a softer, more populist image, but was ridiculed for gaffes including not appearing to know how to use subway turnstiles.

She was also lampooned for a late-night hunt for toilet paper which took her to her posh former home on the Peak after she failed to find any at a convenience store.

The daughter of a Shanghainese immigrant who worked on ships and a mother who had never received a formal education, Lam grew up in a cramped apartment shared by four siblings and several families.

A devout Catholic and a student of sociology at the University of Hong Kong, Lam took part in social activism before joining the government. She is married with two sons.

Lam joins a select group of female leaders who have risen to the top job in Asia in recent years including Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, hugely distrusted by China, and ousted South Korean president Park Geun-hye, who angered Beijing with her plans to deploy a U.S. missile defense system to counter the threat from North Korea.

(Reporting by Venus Wu; Editing by James Pomfret and Nick Macfie)

(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan). Pro-democracy activists try to march with a replica of a casket with the word meaning "Respect for the dead" towards the venue where official ceremonies are held to mark the 20th anniversary of Chinese rule over Hong Kong in Hon...
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan). Pro-democracy activists try to march with a replica of a casket with the word meaning “Respect for the dead” towards the venue where official ceremonies are held to mark the 20th anniversary of Chinese rule over Hong Kong.
The Latest: Xi vows no tolerance for anti-China acts

HONG KONG (AP) – The Latest on the swearing-in of Hong Kong’s new leader (all times local):

10:45 a.m.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is vowing no tolerance for any acts seen as jeopardizing Hong Kong and China’s stability and security.

In his address during a swearing-in ceremony for Carlie Lam, the semi-autonomous Chinese region’s chief executive, Xi pledged Beijing’s support for the “one country, two systems” blueprint under which Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

However, he said Hong Kong had to do more to shore up security and boost patriotic education, apparently referencing pieces of legislation long-delayed by popular opposition.

And he warned that anyone threatening China or Hong Kong’s political stability would be crossing a red line and their actions would be considered “absolutely impermissible”- words certain to concern those already wary of tightening restrictions on political life in the city.

Xi was due to return to Beijing midday Saturday. His three-day visit aimed at stirring Chinese patriotism had prompted a massive police presence. Protesters fear Beijing’s ruling Communist Party is increasing its control over the city’s political and civil affairs, undermining a pledge to permit it retain its own legal and other institutions for 50 years.


9:15 a.m.

Carrie Lam has been sworn in as Hong Kong’s new leader on the city’s 20th anniversary of its handover from British to Chinese rule.

Lam became the semi-autonomous Chinese region’s chief executive Saturday in a ceremony presided over by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Lam and her Cabinet swore to serve China and Hong Kong and to uphold the Basic Law, the territory’s mini-constitution.

The life-long bureaucrat was selected through a process decried by critics as fundamentally undemocratic, involving just a sliver of a percent of Hong Kong’s more than 3 million voters.

A little over a kilometer (mile) away, a small group of activists linked to the pro-democracy opposition clashed with police and counter-protesters. Protesters fear Beijing’s ruling Communist Party is increasing its control over the financial center’s affairs.



HONG KONG — When crowds calling for greater democracy occupied the streets of Hong Kong three years ago, a skinny teenager led them. When voters went to the polls last year, they elected a 23-year-old legislator, the youngest in the city’s history. And when calls for Hong Kong’s independence from China gained momentum, young people were again at the forefront.

Many of the most influential voices in Hong Kong today belong to those who have little or no memory of this former British colony’s return to Chinese rule two decades ago. But this generation’s identity has been shaped by the handover.

People between the ages of 18 and 29 in Hong Kong are more likely than at any time since 1997 to see themselves broadly as Hong Kongers, according to a survey by the University of Hong Kong. Only about 3 percent now describe themselves broadly as Chinese, the lowest level since the handover.

By contrast, Carrie Lam, who will be sworn in Saturday as Hong Kong’s new chief executive, says she wants to make sure that children will learn from an early age to say, “I am Chinese.”

Read the rest:





China’s Xi sees ‘challenges’ in Hong Kong autonomy as protests gather steam — greater self-determination or even independence from China is still the goal of many in HK

June 30, 2017


Fri Jun 30, 2017 | 7:20am EDT

By Greg Torode and Venus Wu | HONG KONG

Chinese President Xi Jinping, visiting Hong Kong for the 20th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule, said on Friday the city’s “one country, two systems” formula faces “new challenges” as pro-democracy campaigners ramped up their protests.

Xi’s visit comes amid heightened tension between China and the former British colony, where many are concerned at increasing interference by Beijing in the city’s affairs, despite the promise of wide-ranging autonomy under the “two systems” agreement.

Image may contain: 6 people
Hong Kong: Protest leader Joshua Wong was dragged away by police officers

The battle for full democracy, vividly illustrated by 79 days of “Occupy” street protests in 2014, has been a defining issue for the city of 7.3 million. It has sown distrust, polarized politics and hampered governance.

“In the 20 years since Hong Kong was returned to the motherland, the success of ‘one country, two systems’ is recognized by the whole world,” Xi said in a speech.

“Of course, during the implementation, we’ve met some new situations, new issues and new challenges. On these issues, they need to be regarded correctly and analyzed rationally… Issues are not scary. The key is to think of ways to solve these issues.”

Without giving specifics, Xi said these needed to be corrected and not handled with an “emotional attitude”.

Xi earlier inspected more than 3,000 People’s Liberation Army troops on the second day of his first trip as president to the financial hub ahead of Saturday’s anniversary. The PLA said it was the largest military parade in the city since the 1997 handover.

Some analysts said the show of force was meant to address growing calls among some radical young activists for greater self-determination, or even independence from China, a red line for Communist Party rulers in Beijing.


Xi praised the Hong Kong government under Beijing-backed leader Leung Chun-ying, saying it had “effectively tackled Hong Kong independence forces and maintained social stability”.

Image result for Leung Chun-ying, photos


The presence of the PLA in the city has long been one of the most sensitive parts of the city’s reversion to Chinese rule, but the garrison, thought to number between 8,000 and 10,000, has kept a noticeably low-key presence.

Hong Kong’s large and well-equipped police force – dominated by Hong Kong recruits – remains responsible for routine domestic security and was protecting the streets surrounding the base on Friday.

Security has been tight ahead of the July 1 anniversary, with some 9,000 police reportedly deployed to maintain order. Protesters have been kept well away from Xi and his entourage, his hotel, and the venue for Saturday’s ceremony.

Banners critical of China have been largely absent from the streets, though a rally on Saturday could draw tens of thousands of people in an annual demand for full democracy.

Few expect anywhere near this scale of protest during Xi’s visit, but activists and civil society groups are planning a number of demonstrations. These include a pro-independence rally claiming that Hong Kong had now in effect become a repressed Chinese colony.

Other protests will demand the release of Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo and justice for victims of the Tiananmen crackdown in Beijing in 1989, that could draw thousands.

Hong Kong authorities released 26 pro-democracy protesters on Friday who were arrested before Xi’s arrival.

“Democracy Now! Now!,” they shouted on being released, including young Occupy protest leader Joshua Wong.

(Additional reporting by Donny Kwok, Susan Gao, William Ho and Jasper Ng, Doris Huang; Editing by James Pomfret and Nick Macfie)


BBC News

Hong Kong activists released after handover protest

Members of political parties Demosisto, the League of Social Democrats and People Power stand on the six-meter-high Golden Bauhinia statue during a protest in Golden Bauhinia Square in Hong Kong, China, 28 June 2017
Some protesters had chained themselves to the sculpture on Wednesday night. EPA

Hong Kong police have released several activists detained for staging a protest ahead of the territory’s handover anniversary.

The city is holding a series of lavish events to mark 20 years since it was handed back to China by Britain.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Hong Kong and inspected troops at a local garrison on Friday morning. He is expected to attend a banquet later.

Security is tight with large protests planned amid a tense political climate.

On Wednesday, pro-democracy activists including student leader Joshua Wong and legislator Nathan Law surrounded and climbed into a golden sculpture of a bauhinia flower, Hong Kong’s emblem.

Student leader Joshua Wong was dragged away by police officers

The sculpture, which sits by the city’s harbourfront, was a gift from China and an iconic landmark symbolising the handover.

Police later arrested the 26 activists, who were calling for greater political freedoms and protesting against the perceived growing influence of Beijing. They also called for the release of terminally ill Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

The political party Demosisto, founded by Mr Wong and Mr Law, said on its Twitter account on Friday morning that all its arrested members were released.

Mr Wong tweeted that he was detained for “breaking the ‘public nuisance’ law”.

Police said in a statement the activists had been released on bail and must report back to police in September. They have not been charged, reported AFP news agency.

Their protest was the second one this week at the monument – activists had earlier draped a large black flag over the sculpture and were stopped by police.

Analysis – Juliana Liu, BBC News, Hong Kong correspondent

Chinese President Xi Jinping inspects troops at the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison as part of events marking the 20th anniversary of the city's handover from British to Chinese rule, in Hong Kong, China 30 June 2017
Mr Xi inspected troops at a Hong Kong garrison on Friday morning. Reuters

It did not take long for President Xi to address the elephant in the room.

At a gathering of top Hong Kong officials, he praised the government for its handling of what he described as major political and legal issues, including effectively curbing the Hong Kong independence forces.

The movement is not mainstream.

In fact, opinion surveys show young people are less supportive of independence than they were just a year ago.

But the fact that the campaign exists at all is deeply worrying for Mr Xi.

His remarks were widely covered by Hong Kong media. Oddly though, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua’s report of this speech has omitted any mention of his reference to the independence movement.

It would seem the agency is censoring the Chinese president. The exact reason is unknown.

It is plausible that mentioning the independence movement in the context of the handover anniversary, billed as a time to revel in the success of the return of Hong Kong, would be considered highly embarrassing, at least for people in mainland China.

Several demonstrations, including the annual 1 July pro-democracy march, have been planned for this weekend.

There is growing concern that the Chinese central government is undermining Hong Kong’s more politically liberal traditions, despite its promise to give it a high degree of autonomy under the “one country, two systems” principle.

The pro-Beijing camp is also planning its own protests.

Read more about Hong Kong since the handover:

A series of official celebrations will be held this weekend, as well as the inauguration of Hong Kong’s incoming chief executive Carrie Lam.

Mr Xi gave a short speech on Thursday after his arrival where he pledged Beijing’s support for Hong Kong, and later met with the city’s outgoing leader Leung Chun-ying and other officials.

China’s Xi tells Hong Kong he seeks ‘far-reaching future’ for its autonomy — New York Times Says This Is A City In Trouble

June 29, 2017

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling

China’s President Xi Jinping (second from right) is greeted by well-wishers upon his arrival at Hong Kong’s international airport on Jun 29, 2017 as Hong Kong’s outgoing Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (third from right) and incoming leader Carrie Lam (right) follow. (Photo: AFP/Anthony Wallace)

HONG KONG: Chinese president Xi Jinping said on Thursday (Jun 29) China would work to ensure a “far-reaching future” for Hong Kong’s autonomy, but he faces a divided city with protesters angered by Beijing’s perceived interference as it marks 20 years of Chinese rule.

Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule on Jul 1, 1997, under a “one country, two systems” formula which guarantees wide-ranging freedoms and judicial independence unseen in mainland China.

Beijing has promised Hong Kong’s capitalist system will remain unchanged for “at least” 50 years until 2047, but it has not clarified what happens after that.

“Hong Kong has always tugged at my heartstrings,” Xi said on arrival at Hong Kong airport for the handover anniversary in front of flag-waving crowds at the start of a three-day visit.

“… We are willing, together with different sectors of Hong Kong society, to look back on Hong Kong’s unusual course in the past 20 years, draw conclusions from the experience, look into the future and to ensure ‘one country, two systems’ is stable and has a far-reaching future.”

Xi’s message was consistent with those of other senior Chinese leaders visiting Hong Kong, that Beijing will safeguard the city’s development and prosperity.

In reality, however, fears of the creeping influence of Communist Party leaders in Beijing have been starkly exposed in recent years by the abduction by mainland agents of some Hong Kong booksellers who specialized in politically sensitive material and Beijing’s efforts in disqualifying two pro-independence lawmakers elected to the city legislature.

Xi did not respond to journalists, including one who asked whether Liu Xiaobo, China’s Nobel Peace Laureate and jailed dissident, would be released and allowed to travel overseas to be treated for cancer.

Speaking later, Xi praised Hong Kong’s outgoing leader, Leung Chun-ying, who cracked down hard on pro-democracy Occupy protests in 2014, for his substantial contributions to the country, “especially safeguarding national security”.

“These past five years have not been easy at all,” Xi added.

He urged officials to support incoming leader Carrie Lam, who will be sworn in on Saturday, and contribute to the “China dream”.

An annual Jul 1 protest pressing social causes, including a call for full democracy, is expected to take place after Xi leaves on Saturday. On Wednesday night, police arrested several well-known pro-democracy activists, some of whom scrambled up a monument symbolizing the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule.

Among them was student leader Joshua Wong, who said on his Facebook page on Thursday his detention for more than 16 hours was highly unusual and police had yet to take his statement.


Part of the major rift under Chinese rule in Hong Kong has been a push by activists, including the 2014 street protests, to get China to live up to a constitutional promise under Hong Kong’s mini-constitution to allow universal suffrage as an “ultimate aim”.

“This promise has been shattered under the watchful eyes of the whole world,” organizers of Saturday’s planned rally wrote in a statement. “Hong Kong has been lied to for 20 years. Let’s retake Hong Kong for a real and fully fledged democracy.”

A massive security presence is expected with thousands of police deployed to maintain order as protests simmer.

At least 200 protesters sat in sweltering heat outside Hong Kong’s highest court on Thursday night to demand the release of dissident Liu.

“Xi Jinping should release Liu Xiaobo,” said Annie Tam, who watched as her six-year-old son held a candle. “I respect Liu very much. He really is sacrificing himself for democracy.”

The streets of Hong Kong have been festooned with Chinese banners and paraphernalia, including two huge harbourfront screens carrying celebratory messages. Upwards of 120,000 youngsters will join China patriotic activities at a time of growing disillusionment with Beijing among the city’s younger generation.

“We … just hope our people can live in peace and contentment,” said Lee Wing-lung, 66, a retired engineer standing opposite the hotel where Xi is staying, taking snapshots with his phone.

“I hope Hong Kong can have a good and peaceful atmosphere.”

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in London Britain hopes that Hong Kong will make more progress toward democracy.

“As we look to the future, Britain hopes that Hong Kong will make more progress toward a fully democratic and accountable system of government,” Johnson said in a statement.

“Britain’s commitment to Hong Kong – enshrined in the Joint Declaration with China – is just as strong today as it was 20 years ago.”

Many observers point out that the British did nothing to promote democracy until the dying days of more than 150 years of colonial rule. Britain, looking for new trade partners as Brexit approaches, is also keen not to upset China, the world’s second-largest economy.

Chris Patten, Hong Kong’s last governor, told the Guardian newspaper British “kowtowing” to China would become increasingly craven after Brexit.




Affordable housing a distant dream for ordinary Hongkongers — Will Xiongan New Area in Hebei be good for housing? Probably not.

April 6, 2017

Michael Chugani says residents in city should blame all parties involved, including politicians, tycoons and themselves

By Michael Chugani
South China Morning Post


April 4, 2017

Leaders of 2014 protest in Hong Kong to face charges — Freedom of expression, right to peaceful assembly “under a sustained attack” in Hong Kong

March 28, 2017


Image may contain: 2 people, people on stage

Occupy Central founders (from left) Chan Kin Man, Benny Tai and Chu Yiu Ming kicking off the movement in Hong Kong on Aug 31, 2014.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG • Police have cracked down on Hong Kong democracy activists, saying they would be charged over the Umbrella Movement mass protest, a day after a pro-Beijing candidate was chosen as the city’s new leader.

The move yesterday provoked anger and disbelief among democrats, and heightened political tension in the Chinese-ruled city.

Former chief secretary Carrie Lam was on Sunday chosen by a 1,200-person committee to lead the city. She pledged in her victory speech to bridge political divisions that have hindered policymaking and legislative work.

 Carrie Lam met Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Monday morning. Photo: Handout

Yet, less than 24 hours later, several students and academics who took part in the 2014 pro-democracy movement, also known as Occupy Central, said they received phone calls from the police informing them that they faced criminal charges.

Rights group Amnesty International said the police charges showed that the city’s freedom of expression and right to peaceful assembly were “under a sustained attack”.

All nine activists reported to Wan Chai police station last night, with around 200 supporters gathering outside.

Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan said she received a call from the police yesterday morning, telling her she would be charged with causing a public nuisance, with a maximum sentence of seven years.

“They said it was related to the ‘illegal occupation’ of 2014,” she said, describing it as a “death kiss” from incumbent Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying, who will hand over the reins to Mrs Lam on July 1.

Ms Chan said she was arrested at the end of the protests, but had never been charged.

The police did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Asked by reporters about the timing, Mrs Lam said she could not intervene with prosecutions carried out by the administration of Mr Leung, who protesters say ordered the firing of tear gas on them in 2014.

“I made it very clear that I want to unite society and bridge the divide that has been causing us concern, but all these actions should not compromise the rule of law in Hong Kong and also the independent prosecution process that I have just mentioned,” said Mrs Lam.

Mrs Lam met Mr Leung earlier yesterday. They shook hands and expressed confidence in a “smooth and effective” leadership transition.

The next few months will be critical for them, with Chinese President Xi Jinping expected to pay a visit on July 1 to celebrate Hong Kong’s 20th anniversary of the handover from British rule, with large protests expected.


Hong Kong: Carrie Lam Says She Will Unify Divided City — As HK Police Round Up To Arrest Pro-Democracy Leaders

March 27, 2017

‘Obviously the government didn’t want to affect the election,’ says one leader, who faces public nuisance charge

By Chris Lau and Joyce Ng
South China Morning Post

Monday, March 27, 2017, 3:30 pm

Police cracked down on Hong Kong democracy activists after election of Carrie Lam, “Beijing’s wet nurse” — “Political persecution begins again,” democracy advocates say

March 27, 2017


© AFP | Hong Kong’s chief executive-elect Carrie Lam has refused to comment directly on the arrest of three democracy activists
HONG KONG (AFP) – Police cracked down on Hong Kong democracy activists Monday saying they would be charged over the Umbrella Movement mass protests, a day after a pro-Beijing candidate was chosen as the city’s new leader.

Carrie Lam was selected as the new chief executive Sunday by a committee dominated by pro-China voters, but promised to try to unify the deeply divided city.

The vote was dismissed as a sham by democracy campaigners who fear Beijing is tightening its grip on semi-autonomous Hong Kong and say Lam will be no different from its unpopular current leader, Leung Chun-ying.

Those concerns were heightened Monday when police informed several leading campaigners who took part in the Umbrella Movement of 2014 that they would be charged in connection with the rallies.

The protests saw tens of thousands take to the streets calling for fully free leadership elections, but failed to win concessions from Beijing.

Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan told AFP she had received a call from police Friday morning telling her she would be charged with causing a public nuisance, with a maximum sentence of seven years.

“They said it was related to the ‘illegal occupation’ of 2014,” she said, describing it as a “death kiss” from Leung, who will step down in July.

Chan said she had been arrested immediately after the protests, but had never been charged.

She will report to a police station Monday evening and will go to court Thursday.

Chan added she would take responsibility for participation in “civil disobedience activity”, but said the timing undermined Lam’s unity pledge.

Activist Raphael Wong of the League of Social Democrats told AFP he would also be charged with public nuisance and blamed Leung.

“As Carrie Lam talks about unity, they are saying you don’t need it,” he told AFP.

Professor Chan Kin-man, a founding member of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central, one of the groups behind the protests, also received a call from police informing him of an impending charge and called the move “ridiculous”.

“It shows the government has no intention to heal the divisions,” Chan said.

Local media reported that police informed a total of nine activists that they would face charges.

Lam did not directly respond over whether the move would further divide Hong Kong.

“Prosecution actions are undertaken independently by the department of justice,” she told reporters.

She repeated that she wanted unity, but said her approach “should not compromise the rule of law in Hong Kong”.

Pro-democracy campaigner Joshua Wong, one of the leaders of the Umbrella Movement, described the crackdown as “political persecution”.

He was not among those who received a police notice of charges.

Wong, legislator Nathan Law and former student protester Alex Chow were all convicted last year for taking part in, or inciting others to take part in, an anti-China protest that led up to the major rallies.

They were given community service or suspended sentences.






Resolution for Hong Kong’s Future — Hongkongers themselves should decide the political status of Hong Kong

Tanya Chan Suk-chong  released a declaration entitled “Resolution for Hong Kong’s Future”. It was signed by more than 30 young individuals from various pro-democracy groups and stated that Hongkongers themselves should decide the political status of Hong Kong after 2047.

tanya chan

Tanya Chan.  Photo: Apple Daily/HKFP remix.

Chan, a co-founder of the Civic Party and former lawmaker, said: “Even though I’m in a political party myself, speaking as a signatory to the declaration I can say that we’re not releasing this for the upcoming Legislative Council elections. Some of the signatories are scholars. We’re not targeting just one or two elections,” Chan said on RTHK.

Chan also said that in light of the questions Hong Kong is facing regarding its future, it would be irresponsible to look at just these elections and then feel satisfied at having solved the problem.

hong kong's future resolution

“As a Civic Party member, this is even more so – I won’t say that [the declaration] will affect the elections. What we’re talking about here is ‘internal self-determination’ – it does not include [ideas of] Hong Kong independence. We hope that it will determine the political structure for self-rule.”

“If we can’t implement internal self-rule, then maybe we would look at external self-rule such as Hong Kong independence, but I think everyone understands that – at this point in time – we do not have the conditions to discuss this.”

Chan also said that right now, Hong Kong lacked the relevant legal basis for independence.

Hong Kong’s divisive new leader faces tough task — Lam is nicknamed “lai-ma” or “wet-nurse” by pro-democracy groups

March 26, 2017


© AFP | Carrie Lam is seen as tough and capable by supporters, but hated by the pro-democracy camp
HONG KONG (AFP) – Hong Kong’s new leader Carrie Lam, seen as tough and capable by supporters but hated by the pro-democracy camp, faces a difficult task in calming political tensions in the divided city.

Voted in as chief executive Sunday by a committee weighted towards Beijing, critics say she will only further polarise a society riven by protests two years ago that centred on fears of China’s growing influence.

Lam, who will be the first woman to run Hong Kong, rose through the ranks as a career civil servant before taking public office.

She served as deputy to Hong Kong’s outgoing leader Leung Chun-ying and is tainted by her association with an unpopular figure who was criticised for doing Beijing’s bidding while in office.

Lam is nicknamed “lai-ma” or “wet-nurse” by opponents in a jibe over what they say was fawning loyalty towards her former boss.

Her negative image among activists was sealed when she promoted a Beijing-backed reform package rejected as “fake democracy” by opponents.

The plan triggered mass street protests in 2014 that paralysed the city for more than two months but failed to win concessions from Beijing on fully free leadership elections.

Lam has made no commitment to revisit the political reform debate, instead trying to connect with the public on livelihood issues.

The 59-year-old cast herself as a force for change on the campaign trail, focusing on issues such as poverty and housing which have also fuelled unrest.

Although she was well behind main rival John Tsang in most opinion polls before the vote, she had strong support among older residents.

Ex-finance minister Tsang, seen as a more moderate establishment figure, garnered backing from young people.

Lam was widely perceived as Beijing’s favoured candidate throughout the race and was viewed as the most likely winner.

Her resignation from her position as deputy leader in January, a move that signalled her candidacy, was quickly endorsed by Beijing.

In contrast, Tsang’s resignation took more than a month to be approved by Chinese authorities.

Lam has promised to try to build consensus and “restore faith and hope” in Hong Kong. But she has also said she would “strengthen the relationship between Hong Kong and China”.

“Hong Kong, our home, is suffering from quite a serious divisiveness and has accumulated a lot of frustrations. My priority will be to heal the divide,” she said in a victory speech.

Lam has also emphasised there is no room for independence for the city, responding to a rise in calls for a direct split from China by some young activists — a sentiment views as unthinkable just a few years ago.

Her bid to be seen as a woman of the people hit stumbling blocks as she sought the leadership.

While using the city’s underground rail network as part of campaigning, she appeared unfamiliar with how to use the ubiquitous “Octopus” travel card to get through barriers.

She was also mocked for a lack of common sense after an anecdote related to reporters — about a late-night hunt for toilet paper — revealed she didn’t know where to buy essentials in a city packed with convenience stores.

However in an election decided by a committee heavily weighted towards Beijing and branded unrepresentative by many campaigners, she eventually won by 777 votes, against Tsang’s 365, and with former judge Woo Kwok-hing gaining 21.



Hong Kong Looks To Pick a New Leader — But China May Have The Biggest Vote

March 1, 2017

HONG KONG — Two former officials and a retired judge on Wednesday won the right to compete to become the next leader of Hong Kong, a job that requires balancing the demands of Communist Party rulers in Beijing and growing calls for democracy at home.

The next chief executive, the fourth since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule 20 years ago, must restore the public’s faith in the “one country, two systems” formula that promises extensive autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland.

Former Chief Secretary Carrie Lam meets journalists after delivering nomination forms to take part in the upcoming Chief Executive election in Hong Kong, China February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

That principle has come under strain with what many residents see as creeping interference by China in the financial hub’s legal affairs and freedom of speech, not least with the shadowy detention of five Hong Kong booksellers in late 2015.

The contest for the five-year term is the first since mass pro-democracy street protests rocked Hong Kong in late 2014, ending with the streets being cleared and no concession by the government, denting the popularity of incumbent leader Leung Chun-ying, who is not seeking a second term.

“I hear clear and loud the people want the society to be unified again. People want to restore social harmony, so Hong Kong can move on with the many issues we need to tackle,” former civil service chief and election frontrunner Carrie Lam told reporters on Monday.

Former Hong Kong chief secretary Carrie Lam, Judge Woo Kwok-hing and former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah (from left). Photo: Reuters

Former Hong Kong chief secretary Carrie Lam, Judge Woo Kwok-hing and former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah (from left). Photo: Reuters

Lam, 59, grabbed the most nominations out of a 1,200-strong committee stacked mostly with Beijing loyalists. The same committee will pick the next leader in a secret ballot on March 26.

Lam, who if elected would become Hong Kong’s first female leader, said she would not rush into “extremely controversial” issues like reforming Hong Kong’s largely undemocratic system.

She was the flag-bearer for a contentious Beijing-backed political reform package that was rejected by pro-democracy lawmakers and seen as a trigger for the months-long, sometimes violent “Umbrella Movement” protests in 2014.


Former Financial Secretary John Tsang, who leads public popularity polls, and outspoken retired judge Woo Kwok-hing, also made it on the ballot after nominations closed on Wednesday.

They are competing over a divided city.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has spoken against a nascent independence movement in Hong Kong, warnings echoed by many establishment figures.

But many local people were alarmed by the detention of the five Hong Kong-based booksellers by mainland Chinese agents, sparking an outcry over Beijing’s encroachment in the city.

The winner of the race will likely be sworn in by Xi on the day of the 20th anniversary of the 1997 handover on July 1.

Although most in the public have no votes, the “election” has been the talk of the city for months, with the candidates’ photos and caricatures dominating newspaper frontpages and Facebook walls.

Lam, nicknamed “fighter”, is widely rumored to be the preferred candidate of Beijing. Multiple media outlets, citing sources, reported Beijing’s number three official, Zhang Dejiang, in early February called her the “only candidate supported by the central government”.

She also received backing from many of the city’s powerful property tycoons, but the richest of them all, Li Ka-shing, has refrained from publicly throwing his support behind any candidate so far.

However Beijing’s perceived warm embrace of Lam could backfire in her popularity polls. Her promise to eventually continue political reform but only under a Beijing framework irked the democrats. Out of the 579 nominations she received, none came from them.

Her major contender, Tsang, 65, received just enough nominations, mostly from democrats, to get on the ballot.

Affectionately called “Uncle Pringles” for his resemblance to the crisps brand icon, Tsang presents a softer image more in touch with the city’s youth, even doing a Facebook live interview.

But Tsang has flip-flopped on Beijing’s framework for political reform, and his U.S. education and former post as the last British governor’s secretary have raised concerns among some pro-establishment figures.

(Reporting by Venus Wu; Editing by Greg Torode and Nick Macfie)



Carrie Lam, John Tsang, Woo Kwok-hing run for HK’s top job

Election Committee will choose Hong Kong’s next leader on March 26

FEBRUARY 28, 2017 2:22 PM (UTC+8)

Former Hong Kong chief secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing have gathered enough nominations from the Election Committee to run for the post of Chief Executive.

Lam said on Tuesday that she has secured backing from 579 of the 1,194 Election Committee members, RTHK reported. She is the third person to submit her nominations to become an official candidate in the upcoming poll, following Tsang and Woo.

Lam failed to get any nominations from the 326 pro-democracy committee members.

Tsang was declared an official candidate on Sunday, after he submitted his application with 160 nominations a day earlier. Among his nominators, 35 were from the pro-establishment camp while the remainder were pan-democrats.

Woo was also confirmed as a candidate with 179 nominations on Monday, all from the pan-democratic camp. He said Monday that he will try his best to stop Lam from winning the election as she is more of an autocrat than the current Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

A minimum of 150 nominations are needed to join the election. The Election Committee will choose from the candidates on March 26. Candidates need more than 600 votes to win. 

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, a Legislative Council member and a co-founder of the New People’s Party, is unlikely to be able to secure enough nominations before the Wednesday deadline.

Leung Kwok-hung, known as Long Hair, a lawmaker of the League of Social Democrats, said Saturday he will not run as he failed to get enough public support from an informal civil nomination process.

Hong Kong: Pan-democrats could be the “kingmakers” in a tight political race

February 17, 2017

By Joyce Lim
Hong Kong Correspondent
The Straits Times

Holding over 25% of the votes, they aim to stop Beijing’s preferred candidate Carrie Lam

On March 26, Hong Kong’s next leader will be voted in by an Election Committee of 1,194 members. That only so few have a say reflects the failure of the 2014 Occupy Protests, where protesters demanded “one man, one vote” in choosing the chief executive.

But the experience has galvanised the pan-democratic, or pro-democracy camp, to be more pragmatic. Previously, they would cast blank votes to show that they do not support pro-establishment contenders. This time, they hold 326 votes – which is more than a quarter of the votes in the Election Committee – and are determined to make them count.

With the election featuring three pro-establishment figures – Mrs Carrie Lam, Mr John Tsang and Ms Regina Ip – for the first time, the pan-democrats could be the “kingmakers” in a tight race.

Former security chief Ip, 66, who won the most votes for a female lawmaker in last September’s Legislative Council Election, was the first among the three to announce her candidacy, followed by Mr Tsang, 65, a former finance chief, and Mrs Lam, 59, a former chief secretary. Others include retired judge Woo Kwok Hing, 70, and radical pan-democrat Leung Kwok Hung, 60.

To become the next chief executive, at least 601 votes are needed. To qualify, each contender needs at least 150 nominations from the Election Committee made up of mostly pro-Beijing property tycoons, lawmakers as well as representatives of professional bodies and trade associations.

That’s the challenge for all but Mrs Lam, who has been endorsed by Beijing. She has reportedly secured 300 to 400 nominations while Mr Tsang has 24 nominations from pan-democrats.

Mr Tsang, who is leading in popularity polls, is seen as the strongest contender to Mrs Lam.

Some see Beijing’s move to name its preferred candidate as its bid to control the election, said Professor Lau Siu Kai, vice-chairman of the Beijing-backed Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies. And it is the pan-democrats’ aim to stop Beijing’s choice candidate from becoming the next chief executive.

“If John Tsang and Woo Kwok Hing are able to join the race, there may be unexpected results,” said Prof Lau, referring to the duo deemed acceptable by the pan-democrats. That is because the next leader would be picked by a secret ballot system, which could see Mrs Lam’s supporters switching sides.

Still, if Beijing had not declared its preferred candidate, it is unlikely that any contender would be able to win enough votes.

Last week, radical lawmaker Leung, better known as “Long Hair”, declared his intention to run and urged pan-democrats not to vote for the other four contenders who “do not represent (the) pro-democracy camp”.

But lawmaker Dennis Kwok, who is coordinating votes from the pan-democrats, told reporters the bloc is considering voting for Mr Tsang, Mr Woo and a third nominee picked from a mock online poll.

With nomination closing on March 1, pan-democrats should decide by next week, he said.

Critics have said Mr Leung’s intention to run has further split the pan-democratic camp already faced with the dilemma of whether to support Mr Tsang. Some worry about the possible backlash from endorsing someone who wants to enact the unpopular national security law.

But with Mr Tsang having a huge lead in popularity polls, even if he turns out to be like incumbent Leung Chun Ying, whose policies are unpopular with Hong Kongers, the pan-democrats could say that the candidate they have endorsed was the people’s choice.