While residents in Hong Kong are in the middle of a three-day period of city-wide mourning for the 38 victims of the Lamma Island ferry disaster, critics of the chief executive Leung Chun-ying are wasting no time in ridiculing him as the sequel to “My dad is Li Gang”. Monday, shortly after the ferry went down, Leung was seen visiting a hospital accompanied by Li Gang, the deputy head of Beijing’s Central Liaison Office in Hong Kong, and pretty much allowed him to steal the show at a press briefing, even though he had no role in the city government. In reports splashed across Hong Kong television channels (such as the one above by Apple Daily), Leung was seen standing behind Li, meekly nodding his head in agreement as “daddy” went on and on about how China was saddened about the tragedy, and how he would immediately radio Guangdong for emergency help after the briefing.
Guangdong did later send four large salvage ships to the site of the collision, but they returned back to the mainland soon afterwards because the waters were apparently too shallow for them to navigate. That, however, did not stop the China News Agency from reporting that mainland ships had rescued 95 people.
The episode has raised uncomfortable questions among Hong Kongers over the autonomy of the territory, the future of the “One Country, Two Systems” policy, and whether their nominally elected chief executive has given Beijing free rein to meddle in their internal affairs.
When confronted by the media at a later press briefing, CY Leung, defended Li Gang’s actions, saying Li had decided to visit the hospital of his own accord.
Watch: Li Gang’s performance at the press briefing, as dutifully carried by Phoenix TV