Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is entangled in fresh controversy after suggesting President Xi Jinping supports his reelection.
Leung said Xi “fully affirmed” his work performance and expressed hope he and his government will continue to make a “persistent effort”, hinting the Chinese leader backs his re-appointment.
Leung made the remarks to the Hong Kong media after a meeting with Xi on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Manila.
State news agency Xinhua reported that Xi affirmed Leung’s work but did not mention “persistent effort” that might suggest support for his reelection, according to Ming Pao Daily.
Xinhua said Xi hopes the Hong Kong government could reach consensus on development and promote harmony.
Leung did not mention harmony in his talk with the media.
Johnny Lau, an independent political commentator, said that even if Xi had indeed told Leung to “make a persistent effort”, it does not mean he supports Leung’s reelection.
Xi affirmed Leung’s work as a gesture which is customary in China’s opaque political language, Lau said.
Ip Kowk-him of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said “persistent effort” can be interpreted in different ways.
That could mean increased efforts to unite society and strengthen the economy.
But Ip declined to comment on whether Xi supports a second Leung administration.
Civic Party leader Alan Leong said Leung made a misleading statement, adding any support by Xi for his reelection will be at odds with the sentiment of Hong Kong people.
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