Ricky Wong is not holding back. He wants to let it be known that he is running for the Legislative Council with a single-minded purpose — topple CY Leung.
Wong launched his election campaign on Monday with an “Oust CY” theme, quickly contrasting himself with Leung Chun-ying’s allies.
But it appears the founder and chairman of Hong Kong Television Network (HKTV) is not interested in unifying anti-establishment forces, raising concern among pan-democrats and young voters about his commitment to democratic reform.
Wong published a 100-page election platform on his website on Monday, formally launching his bid for a seat in Hong Kong Island.
As many as 10 candidates are expected to contest six seats in September in the second biggest geographical constituency.
Wong has an axe to grind against Leung, whom he blames for HKTV’s failure to win a free-to-air license in 2012.
He is aiming for no less than his ouster if enough anti-CY candidates win to force a no-confidence motion.
Wong puts the magic number at 35.
That’s the closest he has come to answering critics who question his anti-establishment credentials, albeit indirectly.
Wong is trying to present himself as a fresh wind in traditional Legco politics, not merely a businessman with vested interests.
On the other hand, Leung is staking his political career on the election results, with a potential second five-year term on the line.
The lines are clearly drawn. Wong should appeal to independent voters or those that have no firm political stance.
But it’s worth noting that he comes from a business background.
His early views on everything from the cross-border high-speed rail, the airport runway and the copyright amendment bill to internet censorship and country park development reflect that mindset.
These also make him no different from traditional pro-Beijing loyalists.
Wong backs the high-speed rail and a third airport runway, saying these will benefit the Hong Kong economy.
These views put him at odds with many Hong Kong people who see these projects as white elephants.
The most controversial in Wong’s election platform is his support for a “take it first” approach to universal suffrage.
Clearly, Wong is pushing a moderate agenda, hoping to win votes from the so-called “silent majority”.
If it looks like a leaf out of the playbook of Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, it might well be.
On Saturday, Lam told a forum that the next government should restart political reform toward true democracy after last year’s embarassing defeat of the Beijing-backed election bill.
Lam famously headed the “pocket it first” campaign to get Hongkongers behind the proposal.
There is no sign Lam is making these political statements with the 2017 chief executive election in mind but no one is ruling out a contest with her boss.
On that note, Wong may be more help to her than to himself.
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