Top Beijing figures yesterday praised Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and his ministers for launching a street lobbying campaign for constitutional reform, despite the campaign being widely dismissed by pan-democrats as being a disaster.
Government officials also said the campaign strategy was effective, as protesters were drawn to follow Tsang and other top ministers, leaving others in the team to reach out to the people elsewhere on Sunday.
Door-to-door visits are being planned in the districts in the next two weeks ahead of the key vote in Legco on the reform package on June 23.
One official said the administration's strategy of letting the chief executive, chief secretary and financial secretary each lead a team during district visits on Sunday had borne fruit, making this street campaign better than the first.
At a press conference to back the government's reform proposal, Li Gang , a deputy director of the central government's liaison office, said the campaign and the televised debate Tsang has scheduled on June 17 with Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, demonstrated the government's sincerity.
During the 'Act Now' street canvassing campaign on Sunday, Tsang, who was mobbed by protesters, told them they were in the minority, while some of his ministers condemned protesters for disturbing the public.
Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, a member of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, praised the persistence shown by Tsang and his team.
Pan-democrats yesterday described the campaign as a complete public relations disaster. 'That was embarrassing. I've never seen government ministers taking a loudspeaker to the streets to argue with the people,' Cyd Ho Sau-lan, an independent pan-democrat, said.
Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Wing-tat said it was the worst publicity stunt he had ever seen in politics, and it had completely backfired.
The chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Tam Yiu-chung, said the chief executive was scheduled to drop in on the party's central committee meeting tonight to discuss the proposal further.
He said there was no question of his party's votes of support being in doubt, but thought it responsible for Tsang to pay a visit now that the resolutions had been formally tabled in order to 'show sincerity.'