Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa has dismissed criticism that he was acting at the behest of Beijing in showing support for Hong Kong’s current leader Leung Chun-ying at a high-profile press conference Tuesday.
Critics are being too imaginative in reading hidden meanings behind his initiative, Tung said, asserting that he was just expressing his views on matters concerning Hong Kong.
“I have not focused on issues in Hong Kong for quite some time until I set up a think tank to advise the government,” he said. Now, having set up the think tank last year, it is only natural that he share his views with the public on important matters, Tung said, according to a Ming Pao Daily News report.
“I love Hong Kong and want nothing but good for it,” the city’s first chief executive said. “As a Hong Kong citizen, I am entitled to freedom of speech. All I do is share my wisdom with everyone.”
Tung said he will keep expressing his views whenever Hong Kong is faced with major issues.
The comments came after some lawmakers from the pan-democratic camp criticized Tung over his Tuesday news conference, saying the former leader had seemed to be doing all he can to justify everything that Leung has done and the things the latter said in his policy address last week.
At the media briefing, Tung spent most of the time praising Leung. The recent policy address showed that Leung has a deep understanding of the society and that he has a clear perspective, Tung said.
During the Q&A session, the former leader said Leung did an incredible job in bringing the Occupy movement last year to a peaceful end.
Asked if he will back Leung to run for another term in office, Tung declined to give a direct answer, saying it is too early to talk about the matter now.
Civic Party legislator Chan Ka-lok said Tung spoke nothing of substance at the press conference, and that the exercise was all about showing support for Leung.
The move shows that the Hong Kong government has run into problems of governance after the Occupy movement and that Leung is in need of open support from all the pro-Beijing camps, Chan said, adding that he will not be surprised to hear more remarks like Tung’s in the future.
Leung, meanwhile, told reporters before the Tung press conference that it is ludicrous to suggest that Beijing has doubts about his ability to handle things and therefore has roped in Tung to offer support.
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