22 May 2019
Chief Executive Carrie Lam stressed that the Honours List has never been intended as a tool for “political reconciliation”. Photo: AFP
Chief Executive Carrie Lam stressed that the Honours List has never been intended as a tool for “political reconciliation”. Photo: AFP

No pan-dem on this year’s Honours List

Earlier this month, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor released several online video clips summarizing her work over the past year in office.

Principal officials including Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen and Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung have followed suit and made their own videos summarizing their work over the past 12 months.

There was talk that Lam had required all policy bureaus to make their own video clips taking stock of their work and accomplishments over the past year as a sort of propaganda for the government.

When her predecessor Leung Chun-ying was in office, he used to publish a Report on the Work of the Current-Term Government every year to “remind” people of what his administration had accomplished.

When she assumed office, Lam thought it was time to introduce other gimmicks to promote the efficacy of her administration’s policies, and hence the videos.

The SAR government also announced the annual Honours List. Many of this year’s honorees are from the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. They were being honored for their contributions to Hong Kong society or dedicated public and community service.

However, not a single pan-democrat is on this year’s list. This has sparked suspicions that Lam is half-hearted in trying to mend fences with the pro-democracy camp.

To set the record straight, Lam told media on July 1 that the list has never been intended as a tool for “political reconciliation”.

Intriguingly, she went on to add that in the past some people might have used the honors list to facilitate reconciliation or to serve other purposes, but she had nothing to do with that.

Although Lam didn’t say so, everyone probably had a pretty good idea whom she was referring to.

Unlike CY Leung, who had actively offered suggestions on who should be on the list, Lam had given the Honours and Non-official Justices of the Peace Selection Committee a free hand in choosing and nominating this year’s medal recipients, according to government sources.

As such, the committee considered nominations for different honors and made recommendations purely on the basis of the candidates’ work, without giving consideration to their political background.

Besides, the sources said, the government had attempted to include pro-democracy figures in the list in the past, but they declined.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 3

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.

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