I am probably not going to win many friends from Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters by saying this, but on Sunday, when Hong Kong holds its “election” (in heavy quotes) for its next chief executive, only one candidate should be considered: Carrie Lam.
Or CY Leung 2.0 as she is somewhat disparagingly being called (CY Leung being the current chief executive).
A quick note on the election. In a democracy, the normal way of electing a head of state is for each member of the voting population to go to the polling booth and indicate who they would like to run the country.
But – and this is important – Hong Kong’s chief executive is not a head of state. It is the most senior official in Hong Kong’s governing body, which in turn is subservient to Beijing.
Hong Kong’s chief executive is not elected by every member of the voting-age population going to the polls. It is elected by a committee of 1200 members, many of whom have been hand-picked by Beijing.
Beijing have made it clear that they want Carrie Lam to replace CY Leung as chief executive.
And they should get their their way.
If Hong Kong was an independent nation, then one person stands head and shoulders above the others: John Tsang, the former financial secretary of the administration. An eloquent individual with a rational understanding of what needs to be done to improve Hong Kong’s lot. He also has a tough streak that seemingly belies his grandfathery moustache and the fact that in every publicity shot he has to be seen clutching a child.
But Hong Kong is not an independent nation and that is important.
It is part of Beijing, and if Beijing makes it clear that they want somebody as chief executive, then they should get what they want.
Hong Kong is a small and relatively insignificant region along the south coast of China. Very few people – either in or out of the territory – are seriously entertaining the notion of independence. And nor should they.
Much more can be achieved with Beijing as an ally than a foe, and the chief executive position is too important a matter for Beijing not to have their say.
But let this one go, maintain a sort of harmony and other victories can be had along the way.