Date
23 October 2019
Chief Executive Carrie Lam has not ruled out the possibility of invoking emergency powers to address the growing unrest. Photo: Reuters
Chief Executive Carrie Lam has not ruled out the possibility of invoking emergency powers to address the growing unrest. Photo: Reuters

Martial law and Carrie Lam’s seven

Seven is not exactly a lucky number for Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

According to the latest Public Opinion Program survey of the Public Opinion Research Institute, 77 percent of the respondents were dissatisfied with Lam’s administration, while only 14 percent said they were satisfied.

Lam, nicknamed “777″ after the number of votes she got from the 1,194-member election committee over two years ago, saw her administration’s net popularity rating worsen to negative 63 percent, the lowest for the SAR government since such a poll was conducted after the 1997 handover.

Lam’s own popularity rating now stands at 24.6 marks, lower than the 27.9 she got earlier this month. Her approval rate is 17 percent while her disapproval rate is 76 percent, giving her a net popularity of negative 59 percentage points, which is also worse than the last.

All this should not come as a surprise. One only has to look at the number of people joining the protests against her administration over the past two months to get a feel of the public pulse.

The POP survey was conducted from Aug. 15 to 20 with over 1,000 respondents.

In the same survey, all sub-sectors except the economy are at a 26-year low. Specifically, the satisfaction rates for livelihood condition and political situation are the lowest since 1992.

Ditto for the net value of trust in the government, which stands at negative 37 percentage points, down six points and the lowest since record began in 1992.

Net confidence in the fundamental “one country, two systems” principle is a negative 28 percentage points, the lowest since 1993.

Things could get worse, warned Chung Kin-wah, assistant professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. 

Chung pointed to the chief executive’s remarks on Tuesday, when she did not rule out the possibility of invoking emergency powers to address the growing unrest.

Is Carrie Lam serious about this? With her administration having lost the confidence of the people, her options are clearly shrinking every day.

But is resorting to “martial law” the answer? What would happen to Hong Kong and everything that it stands for?

“Seven” could mean “stupid” in Hong Kong slang, and Carrie Lam’s got a triple.

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CG

EJ Insight writer