Posts Tagged ‘Leung Chun-ying’

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.

Unsolved problems hang over Hong Kong leader’s last policy address as mainland interference seen as threatening the city’s autonomy

January 18, 2017


Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying sits behind security guards before his policy address at the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, China January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
By James Pomfret and Donny Kwok | HONG KONG

Hong Kong’s leader on Wednesday delivered his last annual policy statement before stepping down, addressing longstanding problems including high property prices and stalled political reform though providing no substantial new measures to tackle them.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying took office in 2012 pledging to make housing more affordable, and to bring greater democracy to the city of 7.2 million, issues that had also stymied his predecessors.

Home prices have bucked repeated cooling measures, including a hefty new sales tax in November, to rise ever higher, putting prices on a par with those in New York and London.

Political reforms have stalled amid growing worries among democracy activists about mainland interference that they see threatening the city’s autonomy.

Demands for fully democratic city elections triggered Hong Kong’s most tumultuous protests for decades in late 2014 but Beijing refused to make any concessions.

Leung said surging property prices posed the “gravest potential hazard” to society and he reiterated a need to increase the supply of land, including through reclamation and expanding new towns.

“If the government and the community do not resolve to expedite the identification of land for housing production, the housing problem will remain a tough nut to crack,” Leung said.

Only seven percent of city land is zoned for housing and the average price per square foot of city flats is about HK$10,700 ($1,380), spawning a boom in ever smaller “mini” flats no bigger than a car parking space. [L4N1F81CQ]

In the next decade, 460,000 housing units are expected to be built, he said.


Politically, Leung has been divisive. He is viewed by many democracy activists as close to the Beijing leadership.

He stressed in his address that the city remains an inalienable part of the mainland.

“There is no room for independence or any kind of separation,” he said.

“It is the obligation of each and every Hong Kong citizen to safeguard our country’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.”

His administration used teargas against protesters during the 2014 “Umbrella Revolution” that blocked major roads in Hong Kong for 79 days.

Leung’s push to ban lawmakers advocating self-determination or independence triggered a highly contentious “interpretation” of Hong Kong’s mini constitution by China’s parliament last year, raising questions about the independence of the city’s judiciary.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” arrangement granting the city a high degree of autonomy, but worries about creeping Beijing control over the city have arisen in recent years.

Before he spoke on Wednesday, a small group of protesters threw fake money at Leung, calling him a “liar” for not keeping policy promises, while a pro-democracy lawmaker held up a effigy of Leung resembling a monkey.

Leung said recurrent expenditure on social welfare would increase to HK$66.2 billion ($8.5 billion), a nearly 55 percent rise compared with four years ago. Allowances for about half a million elderly would be increased by almost a third.

He said the government would also “progressively abolish” a controversial provision concerning retirement funds that has allowed companies to offset severance and long-service payouts by dipping into individual mandatory provident funds.

Business lobby groups fiercely oppose the government’s decision to abolish the provision.

($1 = 7.7559 Hong Kong dollars)

(Additional reporting by Twinnie Siu, Donny Kwok and Anne-marie Roantree; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Robert Birsel)


Hong Kong’s outgoing leader has issued a warning in his farewell policy speech to those advocating independence for the Chinese-controlled territory.

In his annual address to the legislature, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said Wednesday that Hong Kong is an “inalienable” part of China.

He said, “There is absolutely no room for independence or any form of separation.”

The latter part of Leung’s five-year term has been marked by growing separatist sentiment following massive 2014 pro-democracy protests that failed to sway the government’s position on restricting electoral reform.

Last year, Leung’s government took a tough stance against two newly elected lawmakers, taking legal action to disqualify them after they used their swearing-in ceremonies to mount apparent protests against China and express pro-independence views.


Image may contain: 7 people, people standing

Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung

Hong Kong finance chief John Tsang resigns — Expected to run for Chief Executive

December 12, 2016


HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s finance chief resigned Monday (Dec 12) ahead of what is widely expected to be a tilt at the city leadership.

John Tsang – nicknamed “Mr Pringles” by local media for his resemblance to the crisp brand’s mascot – is seen as a more moderate alternative to current leader Leung Chun-ying, who said Friday he would step down in July.

The city has become sharply divided under Leung, whose term has been marked by anti-Beijing protests. Opponents cast him as a puppet of the Chinese government squeezing the semi-autonomous city’s freedoms.

Tsang confirmed to reporters Monday evening that he had resigned after more than nine years, but stopped short of announcing he would run for the leadership.

“I shall think through this in the coming days and make an announcement,” he said.

He used the opportunity to thank the Chinese government for their “support and encouragement” as well as the people of Hong Kong.

Tsang recapped how he had witnessed the city returned to “our motherland” – referring to the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China in 1997.

He also said that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy had been “successfully implemented”.

The finance secretary’s resignation is being seen as a signal that he will stand in the leadership elections in March. Candidates are not allowed to hold a government office if they want to stand for chief executive.


Although Tsang has a better public image than Leung, he is still an establishment figure.

Pro-democracy campaigners have warned the next city leader will simply be another Beijing yes-man as the vote system is skewed.

The chief executive is chosen by an electoral committee made up of representatives of special interest groups, weighted towards Beijing.

Mass rallies in 2014 called for fully free leadership elections, but failed to win concessions on reform.

Special interest groups voted for members of the election committee on Sunday – of almost 1,200 only around a quarter come from the pro-democracy camp.

Speculation that Tsang would run for office intensified last year after China’s President Xi Jinping shook his hand during a meeting in Beijing.

There was another handshake between the two in September at the G20 in Hangzhou.

Former security minister and current senior lawmaker Regina Ip is also expected to announce her candidacy this week.

Ip is hated by the pro-democracy camp for supporting controversial anti-subversion law Article 23 when she was minister in 2003. It was dropped after hundreds of thousands of residents protested.

However, she has a strong support group in the establishment camp – in recent legislative elections Ip was one of the most popular candidates receiving 60,000 votes.

Current government number two Carrie Lam has also said she will consider running.

Only one candidate has declared they are running for the leadership so far – retired judge Woo Kwok-hing who has said he wants to help Hong Kong overcome its divisions.

Analysts say Tsang would stand the best chance.

“John Tsang is accepted by many pan-democratic supporters and the business circle in the pro-establishment camp,” said Edmund Cheng, professor of government and international studies at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Cheng added that Tsang had outranked all other potential candidates in opinion polls.

Hong Kong’s democratic aspirations fade as new campaigns for “elections” (managed by Beijing) begin

December 12, 2016

The Wall Street Journal


Leung Chun-ying surprised Hong Kong Friday by announcing that he won’t seek reappointment next year as Chief Executive. But the unpopular leader’s departure doesn’t mean Beijing has reassessed its hard-line approach to the city’s democratic aspirations.

In office since 2012, Mr. Leung has helped China’s central government erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and liberal institutions via systematic attacks on academic freedom, the free press and judicial independence. He faced down the mass pro-democracy protests of 2014 in uncompromising fashion, insisting without evidence that the demonstrations were a foreign plot to subvert China. This earned praise from Chinese supremo Xi Jinping and further radicalized Hong Kong politics.

The election of two pro-independence candidates to the local legislature in September triggered the latest crackdown. First local prosecutors sued to keep the two lawmakers from taking their seats because they had inserted derogatory and separatist language into their oaths of office. Then Beijing bigfooted Hong Kong’s courts and disqualified the duo on its own dubious authority.

Now Mr. Leung’s government is trying to use the same irregular-oath pretext to oust four more opposition lawmakers. They and fellow democrats say the government is mounting a “coup” against them and “declaring war on voters.”

Unless the authorities drop their escalating assault on the opposition, there is no reason to believe Beijing has softened its approach on Hong Kong. Mr. Leung’s successor could work to save a once-great city, but only if Beijing starts to see the wisdom of compromise.



Globe editorial: How Hong Kong can push China for more democracy

Christopher Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, was not a democratically elected leader. But he and the British government he represented negotiated a deal with Beijing that left Hong Kong with a semi-democratic legislature, under an arrangement known as One Country, Two Systems.

Twenty years later, Lord Patten is offering sound advice to Hong Kong’s understandably frustrated democratic activists: Keep demanding more democracy – but steer clear of calling for independence from China. The communist regime in Beijing can make concessions on the former. It cannot yield on the latter.

Two young politicians elected to the Legislative Council of Hong Kong who favour independence, and who have so far not been allowed to take their seats, were present at a seminar Lord Patten took part in last month. He spoke to them sharply, in effect saying that they should drop the independence idea, and concentrate on achieving greater democracy.

For example, many of the seats in the Hong Kong legislature are elected not by voters under rep-by-pop, but by “functional constituencies.” Their voters are small numbers of business people and lobby groups. These rotten boroughs ensure that the legislature does not fully represent the wishes of Hong Kong’s people.

Turning Hong Kong into another independent Singapore might be a wonderful thing, but Beijing won’t tolerate such a move. And most residents of Hong Kong likely do not favour pure independence. Yet a number of Hong Kong’s loudest pro-democracy activists have recently been pursuing that line.

Further raising the temperature in the debate, a judge of the high court in Hong Kong recently ruled that anyone who advocates independence is disqualified from holding any public office.

This extremely dubious judgment undermines Hong Kong’s reputation for upholding the rule of law. Politically biased decisions such as this one will eat away at the island’s judiciary.

Beijing recognizes One Country, Two Systems. Hong Kong’s democracy activists stand a chance of success if they dispense with questions about the first part of that formulation, while pushing hard to enhance the practice of the latter.