That liberal democrats in Hong Kong would be turned off by Chief Executive C.Y. Leung‘s close relationship with the Beijing government is perhaps unsurprising. However, in an interview with the South China Morning Post, Tam Yiu Chung, leader of the the largest pro-Beijing party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), warns that Leung’s relationship with the PRC could cost him the support of even ostensibly pro-China Hong Kongers.
Leung Chun-ying’s close ties with Beijing have become his “original sin”, which makes it difficult for him to win the trust of Hongkongers, the head of the city’s biggest Beijing-friendly party has acknowledged.
“Leung is adamant that his actions, such as his visit to the central government’s office a day after his election victory in March, were reasonable and legitimate,” Tam said. “But given Leung’s close relationship with the mainland, those events may have reinforced the suspicion of him among some in Hong Kong.”
Meanwhile, the DAB leader saw no need for the Leung administration to relaunch its government restructuring plan – which was foiled by lawmakers’ delaying tactics during the Legislative Council’s previous term.
Leung has been dogged by accusations of not only holding pro-Beijing views but being a former or current member of the Chinese Communist Party, which would make him ineligible to serve as Chief Executive. Martin Lee, a pro-democracy campaigner, said during the Chief Executive Election campaign that it was unbelievable that Leung could have become Secretary General of the Basic Law Consultative Committee in 1985 at the young age of 31 without having been a member of the CCP. The People’s Daily also referred to Leung after his election victory as ‘comrade’, a term only applied to members of the Party and one never used to describe previous Chief Executives.
Since his election Leung has stirred controversy further, demonstrating a distinctly CCP-esque ham fisted grasp of PR. He appointed Chen Ran, a former member of the Communist Youth League who had resided in Hong Kong for less than seven years, to head his transitional office; and suggested Deng Xiaoping, who ordered the tanks into Tian’anmen Square, was a more deserving recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize than Liu Xiaobo (Nobel prizes cannot be awarded posthumously).
Earlier this month, Leung was harshly criticized for appearing at a press conference for the Lamma Island Ferry Disaster seemingly shadowed by Li Gang, deputy director of Beijing’s Central Liaison Office.
Image credit: @remkotanis.