17 February 2019
A cartoon figure of Carrie Lam battles yellow monsters (inset). Lam has to run an inclusive campaign that caters to all Hong Kong people if she wants to win the election. 
Photo: HKEJ, Facebook/We撐林鄭
A cartoon figure of Carrie Lam battles yellow monsters (inset). Lam has to run an inclusive campaign that caters to all Hong Kong people if she wants to win the election. Photo: HKEJ, Facebook/We撐林鄭

Why Carrie Lam should distance herself from Beijing loyalists

An unofficial fan page supporting Carrie Lam has fired a shot at the opposition camp ostensibly to draw public attention to the former chief secretary as she seeks Hong Kong’s highest office.

But the move could do more harm than good.

It creates the impression that Lam is in the camp of those who refuse to make Hong Kong a harmonious society by being focused on triggering conflict with pro-democracy or pro-independence forces.

The fan page, called We Support Carrie Lam, was launched last week and starts harmlessly enough. On Tuesday, it posted Lam’s profile, introducing her as a hard-working woman who has been a “kind” and “fearless” public servant.

The story then said she abandoned her stable life as she wanted to be the guardian of Hong Kong.

Turning into the dark side, it said her decision to be Hong Kong’s guardian set off the “fat, black devil” and a group of “yellow monsters” to block her way.   

The  story is ephemeral and hard to comprehend but the black devil and yellow monsters it refers to might be the pro-democracy camp or the pro-independence camp or both.

Yellow was the color of the 2014 Occupy Central protests and black is ascribed to pro-independence and localist forces.

The pro-Beijing loyalists blame the pro-democracy camp for deepening social divisions in Hong Kong. At the same time, Beijing has eased up on the latter, for instance by reissuing home return permits to prominent opposition figures.

So what’s the point in the pro-Beijing camp not extending the same gesture to the opposition? 

While the fan page was not published officially by Lam’s campaign, it is quite clear it was founded by Beijing loyalists and aims to continue the political legacy of Leung Chun-ying after he steps down as chief executive in July.   

In fact, as a former chief secretary, Lam should understand why her boss failed to win the trust of Hong Kong people and why he continues to struggle to shore up his profile.

His administration’s hostile approach to the opposition has been at the core of Hong Kong’s social disharmony in the past four years.

Leung’s governing style has not only failed to convince Hong Kong people to bow to his rule but also firmed up their resolve to fight for their core values such as freedom of speech and of assembly.

In the Election Committee election, they gave 325 seats to the pan-democrats, making them a key player in the selection of Hong Kong’s next chief executive in March.

Now Lam appears to be following in Leung’s footsteps by catering to pro-Beijing loyalists. It can only mean she will be under the control of Beijing’s Liaison Office instead of being a genuine leader of Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the Heung Yee Kuk, which represents indigenous rural interests in the New Territories, has thrown its support behind Lam.

That could be a double-edged sword because it could turn off a section of the population that disagrees with the small house scheme the Kuk supports.

The central government reminded Hong Kong that the chief executive should be a person who is able to reflect the Hong Kong situation comprehensively, accurately and objectively.

Lam should carefully consider what it means and not pursue a line skewed toward Beijing loyalists as she seeks the 150 votes needed to garner nomination.

And if she wants to win the hearts and minds of Hongkongers, she has to run an inclusive campaign that caters to all people.

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EJ Insight writer

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