Signs hint Bei­jing shift­ing on Hong Kong leader

The Washington Times Daily - - World -

HONG KONG | Just days be­fore Hong Kong’s elite choose the south­ern Chi­nese fi­nan­cial hub’s next leader, there are signs that Bei­jing wants to dump its first choice for the win­ner as it tries to keep pace with public opin­ion.

On Sun­day, a 1,193-per­son com­mit­tee will vote on the semi­au­tonomous re­gion’s next chief ex­ec­u­tive, while the rest of Hong Kong’s 7.1 mil­lion res­i­dents have no vote. The com­mit­tee is made up of busi­ness lead­ers and other elites, most of whom are ex­pected to vote ac­cord­ing to Bei­jing’s wishes.

The man seen early on as Bei­jing’s pre­ferred can­di­date, Henry Tang, is a for­mer fi­nan­cial sec­re­tary who is deeply un­pop­u­lar be­cause of a se­ries of gaffes.

There have been hints this week that China’s lead­ers are switch­ing their back­ing to his ri­val, Le­ung Chun-ying, a for­mer Cab­i­net mem­ber.

A top Com­mu­nist Party fig­ure re­cently met with Tang sup­port­ers to per­suade them to switch sides, and other pro-bei­jing of­fi­cials re­port­edly are work­ing be­hind the scenes to do the same.

It’s a sig­nal that Bei­jing thinks it’s im­por­tant to be on the right side of public opin­ion even in a race it con­trols.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.