Beijing urges support for Leung
The state leader in charge of Hong Kong affairs has told the city's Beijing loyalists not to attack the new government for the sake of 'scoring political points' in the Legislative Council election.
The call from Wang Guangya , director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, came during a visit to Shenzhen where he met leaders from pro-government political parties, societies and business chambers.
The meeting lasted for less than an hour, but during that time Wang (pictured) lobbied for support for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, according to a political heavyweight from the pro-establishment camp. Wang said Leung would see out his five-year term with the full support of the central government.
His remarks came as Leung and his ministers are embroiled in a series of scandals that have marked a controversial beginning for the administration, leading to speculation that Beijing has a 'Plan B' to replace Leung if he fails to revive his popularity in the near future.
A source said Wang insisted that there was no such plan and that Beijing would give full support for Leung to complete his five-year term.
'Wang also told the pro-establishment camp not to distance themselves from the government at the time of the election,' the source said.
'Don't attack the government to score political points in the election,' he quoted Wang as saying.
The scandal involving illegal structures found at Leung's homes on The Peak has drawn criticism from political heavyweights such as Chan Yuen-han, honorary president of the Federation of Trade Unions, and Starry Lee Wai-king, a vice-chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.
Chan had questioned Leung's integrity, while Lee expressed disappointment at Leung's handling of the illegal structures issue.
Chan and Lee will be contesting the newly created 'super seats' in the Legco election.
The new government has also been rocked by the resignation of Mak Chai-kwong as development minister after just 12 days in office after being arrested by the ICAC over the 'cross-leasing' of a flat with another civil servant to claim government housing allowances.
Veteran China-watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu said Wang's remarks reflected concerns that Leung could not achieve the 'great reconciliation', having failed to repair rifts within the pro-establishment camp following the chief executive election that saw intense rivalry between his supporters and those of former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen.
President Hu Jintao repeatedly called for unity and harmony and support for the new government during his three-day visit to Hong Kong for the 15th anniversary of the handover.
'Beijing is sending high-ranked officials to lobby support for Leung again because of concern Hu's calls for unity and harmony might have been ineffective. It might be worried about more difficulties between the government and the pro-establishment camp in future,' Lau said.
New People's Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who is running for a directly elected seat in the Hong Kong Island constituency, said she attended the meeting with Wang but declined to comment on his remarks.
Liberal Party chairwoman Miriam Lau Kin-yee, who is also contesting an Island seat, said she was not invited to the meeting. She said the Legco election should remain a matter of Hong Kong's internal affairs.