Government policy unit plans pro-Leung Chun-ying charity soccer event
Soccer event organised by taxpayer-funded policy unit aims to boost C.Y.’s popularity
Supporters of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying are planning a charity soccer tournament, organised by a taxpayer-funded government think tank, in the latest effort to rally the community and boost his ailing popularity.
The Chief Executive's Trophy will be contested by teams assembled from corporations and the wider community, the South China Morning Post has learned from a source close to the chief executive's camp.
Ten influential figures - all strong Leung supporters - have formed a committee to organise the event.
Details of the event have not been released.
"The trophy aims to spread positive energy to society and also boost Leung's declining popularity," the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"Hong Kong: Our Home" - the official campaign aimed at unifying the city - does not appear to have met its objective some five months after it began.
But Leung's backers still believe a round of sports events might help.
Organisers plan to present the tournament as a non-governmental event, but the source said it had been initiated by Shiu Sin-por, the head of the Central Policy Unit (CPU), the government's top think tank.
"Shiu has participated in several meetings of the organising committee, though it is clear that the trophy would not give any credit to the CPU," the source said.
A spokesman for the policy unit said the proposed tournament "is not a CPU event" but refused to say whether Shiu had participated in its planning.
Leung supporter Dr Eugene Chan Kin-keung, chairman of the Association of Hong Kong Professionals, confirmed the plans for the trophy but refused to offer any further details.
The Central Policy Unit conducts research, drafts the government's annual policy address, analyses and assesses community concerns, and also provides support for the Commission on Strategic Development.
Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah said he would be disappointed if the think tank was involved in the event as it would "completely twist the objectives of the unit".
"The Central Policy Unit is set up to provide objective data to facilitate policy implementation but not organise propaganda," Tong said.
"The unit is subsidised by taxpayers' money and should not be used in this way."
Tong also questioned whether the tournament would indeed boost Leung's popularity.
The committee has registered itself as a company and plans to organise further big events.