Chief Executive CY Leung hints at re-election bid, says Hong Kong needs to ‘continue the work’ he began

City’s top official claims most of his election promises were fulfilled and fears about ‘one country, two systems’ have been ‘largely eliminated’

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 November, 2016, 9:25am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 November, 2016, 10:32am

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying dropped a hint about running for a second term during a rare interview with a TV channel under China’s official Xinhua News Agency on Sunday, claiming that he had achieved many of his election promises and that Hong Kong needed to continue with the work he had started.

During the 30-minute interview, Leung said nearly all the promises listed on his manifesto when he was running for the city’s top job four years ago had been realised, excepting a few involving long-standing issues such as the retirement protection scheme and standard working hours.

“The implementation of my electoral manifesto has gone quite well ... Basically, almost all [the objectives] that were mentioned in the manifesto were realised,” he said.

“From the experience in the last four years, it is clear that if we keep going, we will definitely make some progress. I hope everyone can be confident about Hong Kong and themselves, and we need to continue to persevere with the work and do it well.”

The relationship between the administration and the legislature had been improved during his term compared to four years ago, Leung also claimed.

This was despite the incumbent chief executive’s popularity having plunged to record lows this year according to a public opinion survey conducted Hong Kong University.

The administration had also filed a judicial review against the Legislative Council president’s decision to allow two localist lawmakers to retake their oaths last month.

During the pre-recorded interview, Leung pledged further loyalty to Beijing, saying the SAR government would not allow independence advocates to “appear in the city’s political system”, including the Legco and civil service, or spread their ideas in schools.

Leung also praised Beijing’s top officials for their vision for Hong Kong’s development.

“Last year, state leaders told me that in developing Hong Kong in the long run, I must consider the country’s needs and the city’s advantages ... As I have been working according to [this reminder] recently, I really discovered that it fits Hong Kong’s situation very well,” he said.

Despite the fierce criticism surrounding him, Leung stated that he was not afraid to take responsibility for serving the public.

The chief executive also told the state news agency that the concerns the public had before the 1997 handover over the Basic Law and the “one country, two systems” principle had been “largely eliminated” after 20 years.

These comments come amid concern that Beijing is undermining the independence of the city’s judiciary, after the National People’s Congress Standing Committee this month stepped in to clarify the definition and requirements Article 104 of the Basic Law in an interpretation which will effectively disqualify Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching from Legco. The move pre-empted a related ruling by the city’s own courts, and was seen to be putting immense pressure on local judges.

When asked to say a few words at the end of his term, Leung said: “I want to express my gratitude to the Central government, the mainland brother provinces, mainland compatriots and Hong Kong residents for their cooperation and support of my work in the past four years. To tackle the long-standing issues is not easy, but we will rise to the challenges.”