Most political commentators have referred to Leung Chun-ying’s sudden withdrawal from the CE race as “he had it coming” given his confrontational and belligerent style of governance which has exacerbated divisions and polarization of society in the past four years.
On the surface, CY Leung might be getting all the blame for throwing our society into disarray.
However, the truth is Beijing was behind every provocative move by Leung, from strongly criticizing a periodical of the Hong Kong University Student Union for advocating Hong Kong independence to filing judicial review applications against localist lawmakers regardless of public opposition.
What Leung did was merely carry out Beijing’s orders.
In fact, Beijing has been increasingly involved in our internal affairs since the July 1 rally in 2003. Beijing’s increasing interference in our affairs perhaps largely stems from its growing impatience with our defiance.
To put the people in their place and teach them a lesson, Beijing is determined to take its gloves off and let them know who the real boss is, hence the recent National Peoples’ Congress Standing Committee interpretation of the Basic Law, which disqualified the Youngspiration duo from office.
So, Beijing might not be all that dissatisfied with Leung Chun-ying as some commentators claim. Rather, it might have a rather high opinion of Leung and see him as a steadfast servant.
Anyway, now that Leung is out of the race, what would Beijing’s strategy be?
I believe one of the key determinants is whether the pan-democrats, who are holding 325 seats on the Election Committee, can stay unified and agree on a single nominee they will support wholeheartedly.
If the answer is yes, then Beijing is likely to divert all the pro-establishment votes into one single candidate in order to make sure he or she will win.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec. 13
Translation by Alan Lee with additional reporting
[Chinese version 中文版]
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