. Earth Science News .

Hong Kong election hinges on Chinese whispers
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) March 21, 2012

Embattled Hong Kong leadership candidate Henry Tang said Wednesday he believed he could still win this weekend's election despite reports that Beijing has switched its support to his rival.

Tang, a wealthy businessman and the city's former chief secretary, was believed to have Beijing's backing until a series of personal scandals and gaffes destroyed his standing with the general public.

The South China Morning Post daily cited unnamed sources close to Beijing saying the central government had started to privately lobby for Leung Chun-ying, Tang's chief opponent ahead of Sunday's vote.

"Every candidate has a chance to win or lose," Tang, 59, said when asked to comment on the report.

"My target is on March 25. I will work harder to gain the support from the people in the next four days," he told reporters.

A 1,200-member electoral committee packed with mainly pro-Beijing business and professional elites will choose a replacement for outgoing Chief Executive Donald Tsang, whose term expires in June.

Ordinary Hong Kongers do not have the right to elect their leader, but have made their opinion known through approval ratings showing Leung, 57, with a hefty lead over Tang and pro-democracy candidate Albert Ho.

Pro-Beijing Liberal Party chairman James Tien was quoted by the Post as saying he believed Leung had a better than 50 percent chance of winning, after Beijing started to make its intentions clear to committee members.

Despite Leung's higher popularity with ordinary citizens over his promises to boost social welfare and public housing, he is facing a parliament inquiry for conflict of interest in a government property project a decade ago.

He also faces claims of links to triad figures and of being a secret member of the Chinese Communist Party -- a claim he has repeatedly denied.

Veteran pro-democracy lawmaker Emily Lau said Beijing's reported bid to canvass support for Leung showed the central authorities' "blatant interference" in Hong Kong's political affairs.

"It seriously undermines the 'one country, two systems' model because the central government officials are directly issuing orders to the Hong Kong government and election committee members on what to do," she said.

"This election is nothing but a farce because they (Beijing) are pulling strings from behind the scene and treating the election committee members as puppets," the Democratic Party acting chairwoman told AFP.

Mainland leaders, who are in the midst of their own once-in-a-decade leadership struggle, have not openly backed any candidate.

But some analysts took Premier Wen Jiabao's comments last week that the southern financial hub's next chief would have the support of the "vast majority" of the people as a sign that Leung was now Beijing's man.

Hong Kong Baptist University political scientist Michael DeGolyer, who is on the electoral committee and supports Ho, said "for the first time" Beijing officials were paying close attention to what Hong Kong people wanted.

"Beijing officials have said repeatedly that public opinion matters more, that it needs to be listened to," he told AFP.

Pro-democracy groups meanwhile are lobbying the public to hit the streets on Sunday to protest against the "small circle" electoral system which they see as tilted in favour of China-backed tycoons.

Hong Kong reverted to Chinese control from British rule in 1997, with a semi-autonomous status that guarantees broad social freedoms under limited democracy.

Related Links
Democracy in the 21st century at TerraDaily.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Hong Kong's rowdy election 'embarrasses Beijing'
Hong Kong (AFP) March 16, 2012
Next week's leadership election has riveted Hong Kong with all the political rough-and-tumble that is typical of a thriving democracy. There's only one thing missing - the voters. Ordinary Hong Kongers will have no say in who becomes their next chief executive on March 25. Instead the "election" will be decided by a carefully selected committee of 1,200 pro-Beijing business and professional ... read more

Australia braces for cyclone, floods

China iron mine accident kills 13

Manga artist back in the frame after Japan disasters

Butterfly molecule may aid quest for nuclear clean-up technology

Overheating problem on the new iPad?

More countries start rare-earth mining

Japan, US, and EU to meet on rare earths

Nokia feels out tattoos that vibrate with incoming calls

One solution to global overfishing found

Climate to cost $2 trillion year in damage to oceans: study

The Big Blue II: free-diving with dolphins at Italian villa

Study: Good management can save fisheries

NASA's IceBridge 2012 Arctic Campaign Takes to the Skies

Greenland ice sheet may melt completely with 1.6 degrees global warming

China to conduct Arctic expedition

S. Korean, Russian scientists bid to clone mammoth

Research reveals carbon footprint caused by China's irrigation system

New antibiotic could make food safer and cows healthier

Fertilization by invasive species threatens nutrient-poor ecosystems

Carrefour forced to shut China outlet over expired meats

Powerful quake shakes southern Mexico, capital

6.7-magnitude quake strikes Papua New Guinea: USGS

Poweeful quake in Mexico, 11 injured

Panic leaves 45 injured in Philippine quake

Fed up with northern rebellion, Mali soldiers revolt

Efforts to save lives in Nigeria with clean cookstoves

War fears as Ethiopia attacks Eritrea

Guinea-Bissau army denies involvement in assassination

Did food needs put mankind on two feet?

Princeton scientists identify neural activity sequences that help form memory, decision-making

Self-centered kids? Blame their immature brains

Strong scientific evidence that eating berries benefits the brain

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement