Date
20 October 2017
Richard Li said whoever assumes Hong Kong's top post must be able to ease divisions and conflicts in society. Photo: HKEJ
Richard Li said whoever assumes Hong Kong's top post must be able to ease divisions and conflicts in society. Photo: HKEJ

Richard Li backs Carrie Lam as Hong Kong leader

Hong Kong businessman Richard Li Tzar-kai has come out in support of former chief secretary Carrie Lam in the chief executive election.

Li, chairman of telecommunications giant PCCW Ltd. (00008.HK), told the Hong Kong Economic Journal in an exclusive interview that he chose Lam based on his objective observations and serious consideration.

Li is a member of the 1,194-member Election Committee that will choose Hong Kong’s next leader.

He admitted he did not nominate any candidate because there was not enough time for him to think carefully and make a choice.

He said whoever assumes the top post must know how to and be able to ease divisions and confrontations in society.

He said such conflicts result from inequalities in income, educational opportunities and home buying capability.

One way to deal with the problems, Li suggested, is for the government to use part of its huge reserves in areas where more funding is needed.

When asked why he thinks Lam will be a better chief executive than the other two candidates – former financial chief John Tsang and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing – Li stressed all of them are social elites and have held multiple important positions.

But Lam, based on her track record, is the one who truly fits the job based on the four basic criteria listed by Beijing for the next chief executive: the candidate must love China and Hong Kong, be someone Beijing can trust, be capable of governing, and be supported by the Hong Kong people, Li said.

Hong Kong needs a leader who can steer the city in the right direction in the currently complicated and fast-changing international environment, but also one who knows how to build mutual trust with Beijing, which can make the person’s job much easier, according to Li.

While Hong Kong had been only mildly affected by major global events in the past, no one can guarantee that the city will not see major negative impact in the future, Li warned.

He said Hong Kong can enjoy greater stability if the chief executive has the full trust of Beijing.

[Chinese version 中文版]

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