Merciless media campaign finally wears down CE
To their shame, most of Hong Kong’s media have conducted a long-standing and quite relentless campaign of virulent criticism of the current Chief Executive, climaxing in his decision not to stand for re-election. For reasons known only to their owners and CEOs, some of our biggest newspapers, aided by television critics, have seized on every opportunity to portray him as little better than a human wrecking ball masquerading as a stumbling, bungling leader warranting severe criticism. Only rarely have we seen the supposed cardinal rule of news coverage properly applied — whereby both sides of each case are given equal and impartial coverage.
On balance, Leung’s decision is particularly well-grounded — for most of his term he has been gratuitously criticized and insulted, held up to ridicule and even accused of “under-the-table deals” in the case of a contract with Australian interests from before his elevation to CE. Despite it all he has grittily stayed the course, but why indeed should he drag himself and his family through several more years of mental pain and suffering?
Not surprisingly so much mud has been flung at him that a significant amount of it has stuck, not just to him but also to members of his family. What privacy have they received over the past five years from a shameless campaign aimed at blackening his name?
The key words in Leung’s announcement were that he did not wish to place his family under still more “unbearable pressure”. This particularly nasty pressure sprang from the anti-Leung atmosphere stirred up across local society, with various outrageous events still fresh in our minds. The worst examples of such “unbearable pressure” include the insulting behavior displayed toward him with unhidden delight by some Legislative Council members, and the university graduates who stooped so low as to make a backward bow during their degree-presentation ceremony, thrusting their clothed posteriors in his direction.
More recently one of his daughters has been in hospital for extended treatment, her recovery not helped by constant media attempts to unearth every small detail of the young lady’s illness and the progress of her treatment. It is absolutely disgraceful that this campaign of pestering inquiries has been ordered by proprietors and their editors.
Then there was the snide psychological campaign, thought up by some deviousminded troublemakers, called the “Anyone but CY” election push.
Who are the masterminds actually behind the media campaign targeting the CE? Could it be that the cashed-up and highly influential “forces” backing the “pan-democratic” and pro-independence camps — and deliberately creating as much dissension and disorder as they can muster — are yet again trying to sabotage not just our administration but also Hong Kong’s economy and indeed its very future?
These provocateurs are no doubt presently rejoicing over what they presumably regard as their most important achievement in the Hong Kong SAR’s history — Leung’s shock decision based on his not wishing to place his family under still more unbearable pressure. The harmful activities of these plotters have been going on for years, and still there has been no crackdown on them. Let us trust that their good fortune is not allowed to continue by Leung’s successor.
The fact is that Leung’s administration has always been extremely tolerant and perhaps even forgiving to a fault. Despite the harm they caused to the economy and the serious disruptions to the public, illegal demonstrators have been handled with kid gloves, creating an atmosphere where the “pro-democracy” movement recently ballooned into the pro-independence offshoot.
The current imbroglio over deliberate violations in oath-taking by legislatorselect is yet another instance of the rebellious undercurrents swirling through the minds of some maturing youth. They must be made to see that our legislative body has an important role to fill, and that if they resort to various grossly disrespectful “high-jinks” they will never be seated in the LegCo chamber.
Whoever steps into Leung’s shoes will immediately be confronted by a series of significant challenges. A smooth transition will make it easier for that successor to carry Hong Kong forward and maintain its economy in these troubled times. But the most pressing problem will be to try to get the present housing shortage under control. Young families will be praying that some bold new initiatives are introduced in the public housing sector and ways found to reduce the price of flats on the market.
Leung’s decision to stand aside should become a turning point — bringing to an end not just the bitter infighting on the political scene but fostering a muchneeded attitude of respect and cooperation for the new CE.
The media in particular should act responsibly and respectfully toward the new incumbent and do its job of informing the public about oncoming developments aimed at maintaining the SAR’s prosperity.