Tsang Beijing's 'least favorite'

Top News | Phoenix Un 22 Feb 2017

Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office director Wang Guangya is said to have told Election Committee members that Beijing likes John Tsang Chun-wah the least among chief executive aspirants.

Wang is the latest central government official to talk about the election race after National People's Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang.

Wang reportedly told the electors at a meeting in Shenzhen that Tsang is the contender with the least support from the central government.

State leaders were unhappy with the answers Tsang gave in March last year during an "interview" for the top job on how to defend the one country, two systems principle, and that the central government had received "bad information" on Tsang.

Ex-legislator Ronny Tong Ka-wah yesterday confirmed meeting Wang last week at Bauhinia Villa in Shenzhen during which he sensed that the official supports Lam.

"I feel that he thinks Lam is more suitable as chief executive. That's my own feeling."

Tong believed what Wang did was not interfering with Hong Kong's internal affairs, adding "anybody who thinks Beijing isn't interested and has no opinions about the election doesn't really live in Hong Kong."

He also believed the meeting did not exert pressure on election committee members - though Tong is not an elector himself, and he would not quote Wang's exact words.

Ex-legislator Tik Chi-yuen, who also met Wang, said: "He stressed that Lam's ability is all-rounded, and Beijing trusts her more, while Mr Tsang is stronger in finance."

Heung Yee Kuk chairman Kenneth Lau Ip-keung, one of the Election Committee members whom Wang met in Shenzhen, said he discussed the race as well as New Territories affairs with Wang.

Lau denied that Wang had disparaged Tsang at the meeting. "I don't think such a thing happened," he said.

The Kuk, he added, officially decided yesterday to bundle all their 27 nominations for Lam.

The seven legislators of the Professionals Guild, meanwhile, slammed Wang's move, citing it as Beijing interference.

"Some contenders, especially those supported by citizens, still haven't got enough nominations to become candidates due to the interference. We are very dissatisfied that officials responsible for Hong Kong affairs still interfere," legislator Charles Mok said.

Separately, another hopeful, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, claimed she is being "sacrificed" to prevent Tsang from winning the top job.

"To prevent Tsang from being elected, only one of the two [women] can become a candidate to prevent us from seizing votes from each other, that's why they'll sacrifice me."

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