19 April 2019
Will Government House be the next target of protesters? Photo: Xinhua
Will Government House be the next target of protesters? Photo: Xinhua

Will more protests improve chances of second term for Leung?

So, where next for the anti-parallel-trading protesters after hundreds of them rallied Sunday in Tuen Mun, Sheung Shui and Tsim Sha Tsui?

Try Government House, which is holding an open day this coming Sunday.

The chief executive’s residence would seem to be an appropriate place for them to vent their anger after he (again!) failed to speak up for the people of Hong Kong in Beijing last week.

Netizens are already joking that they have a “proper” activity scheduled for next week – and it is not related to “Action Recover” nor gouwu (shopping) but more to do with appreciating azaleas and strolling around a garden.

Some joke about taking pictures for a competition featuring photos of weird mainland tourists in Hong Kong.

That, along with the idea of protesting at the People’s Liberation Army garrison’s open day with an anti-smuggler T-shirt, is probably a crazy idea people only dare to dream about.

But what does not sound like a joke is the direct relationship between protests in the city and the chance of Leung Chun-ying winning a second term as chief executive. In other words, if there are more protests, CY will have a higher chance of staying in Government House until 2022.

According to a certain heavyweight in the pro-Beijing camp, CY secured Beijing’s support as a result of the Occupy movement and will have a higher chance of his contract being renewed should the official proposal for electoral reform be vetoed in the Legislative Council.

In a tea gathering with media, the heavyweight said Beijing has always wanted to groom a leader for the city for a 10 year-term. If the reform fails to pass, Beijing will want the existing 1,200 election committee to produce the same result as before.

Although he is not popular with Hongkongers, Beijing understands CY has a tough job to do and endorses his handling of Occupy and increasingly trusts him, the pro-Beijinger said.

This theory reinforces the deepest fear of democrats, whose filibustering and refusal to cooperate with CY would prove futile.

What could be more painful than saying the trio of Occupy Central leaders have ended up paving the way for CY’s second term, with a mandate to pass the national security legislation proposed in Article 23 of the Basic Law and please his bosses?

Well, while this theory is aimed at discrediting the pan-democrats, it also serves to allow some moderate democrats to switch their stance in favor of passing the reform, the second public consultation on which ended Saturday. It is totally illogical.

There is no doubt that Beijing wants the ‘fake’ universal suffrage proposal to be passed by Legco, as this outcome will help China gain face in front of the western powers, showing that it manages “one country, two systems” very well. 

But at the end of the day, Beijing has to make a decision whether having an unpopular chief executive is the best way to run Hong Kong. 

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EJ Insight writer

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