23 October 2016
Leung Chun-ying seems intent on appointing Arthur Li  to chair the council of the University of Hong Kong. Photo: Xinhua, HKEJ
Leung Chun-ying seems intent on appointing Arthur Li to chair the council of the University of Hong Kong. Photo: Xinhua, HKEJ

Make no mistake, CY wants a fight

Well-meaning people have been warning Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying that he needs to avoid doing the sort of things he does if he wishes to avoid confrontation, but they entirely miss the point — CY really relishes a fight.

There is room for debate as to why CY Leung thinks it’s a priority to fight the democrats and anyone else who dares disagree with him, but the evidence for his approach to conducting the affairs of government is overwhelming.

In support of this claim, let us start with his current obsession, which is to purge or neutralize academics who support the democracy movement.

To drive this point home, Mr. Leung seems intent on appointing Arthur Li Kwok-cheung to chair the University of Hong Kong’s council.

There can be no shadow of a doubt that the majority of university staff and students will resist this appointment, but CY wants to make a point about who runs HKU, and he relishes the prospect of a fight to install a strong, arrogant man to put the university in its place.

In other universities, the chill winds of the Leung regime have resulted in councils being steadily filled with political appointees, promotion prospects for democrats being blocked and an increasing tendency to install loyalists in leading positions.

Meanwhile, over at the Legislative Council, one of CY’s least favorite places, he has conspired with the pro-government majority to strip democrats of the chairmanship of all its policy committees.

An important consequence of this is that he no longer needs to hold regular meetings with the democrats who once occupied these positions.

His appetite for dialogue has always been minimal, but now he has an excuse for further shrinking contact with his opponents.

Another of his Legco obsessions is the need to establish a technology bureau and install one of his “friends” to lead it.

Astonishingly, he has managed to persuade a great many gullible people that the absence of a bureaucracy to promote technology is holding back Hong Kong’s technological development.

This is palpable nonsense, and the truth is that CY is really mad about the way he is being questioned by democrats over the bureau’s establishment and prefers to have a big fight rather than answer any of the pertinent questions.

Then there is the matter of the chief executive’s fairly frequent appearances before the press.

It should be noted that he practically never holds press conferences, because they involve far too much questioning.

In fact, he only agrees to grant occasional interviews to the most sycophantic of journalists.

Yet he does appear for so-called stand-ups before and after official meetings, and, unless I have missed something, he uses every single occasion to bash his opponents and do so in a way that will inflame the political temperature.

His use of derogatory adjectives is also escalating, because he regards all questioning of his government as nothing more than obstruction and defiance.

And here lies the cause of the problem, because the Leung administration has very little to show by way of achievement, and in the chief executive’s mind, this is best explained by blaming opponents for thwarting his plans.

Mr. Leung is on a political mission to crush the democrats.

He has the full support of his masters in Beijing for this endeavor, because both they and he simply cannot understand why, after 18 years of “glorious reunification”, the stubborn and ungrateful people of Hong Kong insist on asserting their independence and fail to fall in line behind the wishes of the Motherland.

Like all dictatorships and all those with authoritarian tendencies, the Chinese regime and its Hong Kong sidekicks are quite prepared to try persuasion but quickly resort to their preferred methods of coercion when this fails.

Their view is that if this entails a bitter fight and some bloody noses, so be it.

Ironically, the government in Beijing originally had a different game plan, which was to install another hapless yes-man with a nice smile as Hong Kong’s third chief executive, but they misjudged the extent of Henry Tang Ying-yen’s stupidity and had to resort to Plan B.

This plan involved skipping over the nice-guy stage of the process and installing a hard man to do the job.

Make no mistake, Leung Chun-ying is more than happy to come out fighting and is perfectly prepared to see a bitterly divided Hong Kong, because he believes that at the end of the day, he has the resources to defeat his opponents.

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Hong Kong-based journalist, broadcaster and book author

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