Aide of losing Hong Kong leadership candidate waits for word on job with Carrie Lam
Media campaign chief does not rule out working with chief executive-elect, who praised his skills during election debate
The top aide of defeated Hong Kong leadership candidate John Tsang Chun-wah has not ruled out joining the new administration, although he says he has not been approached.
Julian Law Wing-chung did not give a flat “no” on Thursday when asked by former Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing in an interview whether he would work for chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.
“Mrs Lam did not look for me,” he said. “There are many suitable candidates out there. I don’t feel I should boast about myself.”
Lau said she had heard from a pro-establishment person that people around Lam had been persuading her to take on Law, who Lam herself had praised during a candidates debate.
Lau suggested Law could be Lam’s information co-ordinator, in charge of media liaisons.
“Whoever takes that post will have a very close relationship with the chief executive. The two have to get along,” he said. “I got along with Mr Tsang very well – that’s my luck. He gave me trust and a lot of room in my work. I dare not say I would be able to get along with Mrs Lam so well.”
He also urged the new leader to retain talented young people who were already working in the government because continuity was important for good governance.
From his experience as a political assistant, he said he realised that Hong Kong had a long way to go to develop politics as a profession and groom skills such as how to negotiate with political parties to reach a consensus.
Law, a former journalist, joined the government in 2012, serving as political assistant to Tsang, who was then financial secretary. He was Tsang’s right-hand man in his campaign, building an effective publicity and social media team that helped to make Tsang far more popular than Lam with the public.
The chief executive election on March 26 was decided by a 1,194-member Election Committee. Lam, seen as Beijing’s preferred choice, won with 777 votes compared with 365 for Tsang.
In a session with university students last week, Law said the team’s attitude was that if Tsang really had no chance of winning they wanted to make him “the most successful loser” .
Law said on Thursday he was confident of a strong “market” and votes for the beliefs represented by Tsang and his team, which would have a bearing on political parties, but neither he nor Tsang were interested in running for election at any level.
“I’d call it practical politics,” he said. “We don’t predetermine the outcome based on political leanings. We focus on how to finish the job properly.”
So when deliberating policy, discussions would concentrate on the content and little attention would be paid to which party generated the ideas or which officials were in charge.