20 January 2019
Leung Chun-ying (center) has criticized Kenneth Chan (left) and Chan Kin-man (right) for their negative comments about China's future. Photos: AFP, HKEJ
Leung Chun-ying (center) has criticized Kenneth Chan (left) and Chan Kin-man (right) for their negative comments about China's future. Photos: AFP, HKEJ

Why CY Leung doesn’t want negative views about China’s future

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is no doubt the city’s most powerful person, although his popularity among the people is another matter, of course.

But all the more so, Leung, in the discharge of his duties as the city’s leader, should respect all views and show no bias toward a particular side or group of people.

However, his closed-door meeting with pro-Beijing politicians, which he hosted at the Government House over the weekend, shows that he is clearly against the pro-democracy camp, which, by the way, represents more than half of the Hong Kong people.

He used the occasion to heap blame on the pan-democrats for all the hurdles the government encounters in implementing its policies, rather than focus on urgent issues, such as the debate over the construction of a third airport runway with a HK$141 billion price tag.

The chief executive is a master of political combat. He has proven his skills in 2012, when he was able to swing Beijing’s blessing in his favor and beat Henry Tang by grabbing 689 votes from the 1,200-member election committee.

And now, showing his contempt at the pan-democrats, Leung decided to just meet with the Beijing loyalists. The biggest topic of the meeting, however, was about the pro-democracy camp, particularly their prediction about the decline of China, that there will be a big change in the country in the near future.

Leung told the pro-establishment group that there is a rising tide of comments about the coming collapse of China, and said such views do not follow the “one country” concept.

In particular, he targeted Occupy Central co-founder Chan Kin-man for saying that China would experience a great change in a decade if its current development model remains unchanged.

Leung reportedly said Chan’s dangerous thoughts called for a cautious response.

Chan said Leung had “over-interpreted” his words as he was merely pointing out that China is at a crossroads in its anti-corruption campaign, and he was not saying that the country would be overthrown by foreign forces.

In an article published in Ming Pao Daily on Monday, Chan said China’s current model may not be able to sustain growth in the next decade. In fact, the country is now facing a slower economic growth.

He said people are getting rich and are now focusing more on the quality of life, rather than just the money they can get from their jobs.

China should undertake political reform in response to the public clamor for a fair and just society, Chan said.

He said such an opening up will not lead to the overthrow of the central government or undermine the legitimacy of Communist Party’s rule in China.

Chan criticized Leung for exaggerating his comments in order to make Hong Kong seem like it was under threat from foreign and local forces. He said Leung was trying to win Beijing’s continued support and secure his power.

Aside from Chan, Civic Party’s lawmaker Kenneth Chan also became Leung’s target after he wrote, “Have you ever thought that when you wake up one morning, the red, five-star flag will no longer be there?”

Why can’t a scholar raise such a question? Kenneth Chan is simply asking students, and the public in general, to think about China’s development without the Communist Party.

Again, it has nothing to do with intervention by external forces in Hong Kong and China affairs.

It’s no surprise that Leung would condemn people for harboring a negative outlook toward China.

But why doesn’t he criticize the scholars in front of news cameras if he thinks his anger at their views makes sense?

Or does he lack the confidence to tell the public that they are not allowed to discuss any issue that is negative to the Communist Party, considering that Hong Kong people know the history of the ruling regime?

Hong Kong people know that what Leung said is far from being Beijing’s stance on the issue. After all, the central government is keen on winning the support of the pro-democracy camp with regard to the political reform package for the 2017 chief executive election.

Leung’s criticism is simply an extension of his personal desire to win a second term as chief executive. He wants to condemn every action of the pro-democracy camp in order to win the continued support of Beijing and the pro-establishment side.

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EJ Insight writer

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