While suggesting that it’s too early to announce his plans to seek re-election, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is busy trumpeting his leadership qualities and performance in office.
He is making it clear to everyone that securing a second term is foremost in his mind.
But first things first. Why doesn’t he tell his officials and staff to stop making ridiculous statements and remarks about the opposition camp, which are not helping him any in winning popular support or getting Beijing’s endorsement?
Take the case of his information co-ordinator Andrew Fung, who used his column in a free sheet to assail the opposition for raising the possibility of Hong Kong independence.
Writing in his column in Metro Daily on Tuesday, Fung said independence advocates are spreading the fallacy that Beijing’s commitment to “one country, two systems” is going to expire in 2047, providing them the opportunity to make Hong Kong an independent state.
Fung argued that independent advocates were wrong to assume that the Basic Law would expire in 2047, noting that the city’s charter has no expiration date.
And any amendment to the Basic Law won’t change the fact that Hong Kong is part of China, he said.
Fung also cited Article 5 of the Basic Law: “The socialist system and policies shall not be practiced in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years.”
He then asserted that Hong Kong people should realize that the year 2047 will mark the end of Hong Kong capitalism, but there will be no change to the fact that Hong Kong will always be a part of China.
We don’t know how Fung arrived at the conclusion that capitalism will no longer work in the territory after 2047, even when some government officials are giving assurances that there will be no basic changes to Hong Kong’s system 50 years after the handover.
In fact, even Article 5 which he cited states quite clearly that the socialist system and policies will not be implemented in the territory.
It’s clear that Fung’s interpretation of the Basic Law doesn’t reflect the thinking of the central government at all.
It is highly likely that the chief executive’s press officer is voicing such views to support his boss’s pro-Beijing stance and, by doing so, help his boss stay in office for five more years.
Needless to say, a second term for his boss means that he himself may keep his job as well.
On Monday Fung took issue with the results of a Now News survey, which showed that CY Leung had received more negative comments on social media than his potential rivals for chief executive.
Fung apparently can’t accept the survey results and said many of those “angry” comments on Facebook were fake or bought. They don’t reflect the actual support from the public that Leung enjoys, he asserted.
We believe that Fung’s main duty is to see to it that government policies are clearly communicated to the public through all available channels.
But it seems that the CY Leung administration wants to use these channels to attack critics instead.
Such attacks on the opposition have been escalating in recent months as the chief executive election draws nearer.
Last week, during a Legislative Council meeting, lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung grabbed some papers from the desk of a government official and gave them to a fellow legislator to read.
Two days after the incident, the official, Undersecretary for Development Eric Ma Siu-cheung, reported the case to the police, accusing Long Hair of taking confidential documents without permission.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, also a potential chief executive candidate, jumped into the fray, and accused the radical lawmaker of “uncivilized” behavior, adding that his action “damaged the image of the council”.
Administration officials may want to criticize legislators for their behavior or public statements, but they should not forget that the lawmakers were elected by their constituents, while appointed officials were not.
In Long Hair’s case, the Legco has its own mechanisms to deal with the actions and actuations of its members.
There is no need for the court or the administration to take action against a lawmaker for their behavior in their own turf.
Doing so may damage the separation of powers in the Hong Kong government.
President Xi Jinping has urged CY Leung to help in reaching consensus among Hong Kong people.
It is clear that Beijing does not like the social and political divisions in society.
And as such, CY Leung’s officials could help their boss by not adding to the belligerent atmosphere prevailing in Hong Kong at present.
– Contact us at [email protected]