Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is under fire from religious and sports groups after saying both sectors do not contribute to the economy, Apple Daily reported Tuesday.
The Hong Kong Paralympic Committee and Sports Association for the Physically Disabled said Leung was being unfair to disabled athletes who have been trying their best to be useful and productive citizens.
Rev. Stephen Chan, a political watcher, accused Leung of ignorance of the work of religious groups.
Lew Mon-hung, a member of the election committee representing Confucianism group and a former Leung supporter, said Chinese religious groups operate famous landmarks such as Po Lin Monastery and Wong Tai Sin Temple, which bring in a lot of visitors and revenue for Hong Kong.
And famous professional boxer Rex Tso said he was distressed that Leung should consider his efforts in vain.
Tso said Leung should look at the issue from the other side.
A group of sportswriters launched an online signature campaign demanding Leung apologize. It had more than 140 signatures as of Monday.
On Tuesday, Leung said he was embarrassed by his comment and by the “public misunderstanding” it caused but stopped short of apologizing.
Pro-government legislator Ma Fung-kwok defended him, saying his comment had been taken out of context and that it meant to say religious and sports groups contribute to other areas of society.
Leung’s remarks followed withering criticism just a week earlier after he said a free election will ultimately result in poor Hong Kong people driving government policy.
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