My Take

'Rich and powerful' have their defender

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 May, 2015, 2:38am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 May, 2015, 2:38am

If there is a public relations practice for Leung Chun-ying that departs significantly from previous administrations, it is the aggressive manner in which the chief executive has allowed himself - and authorised his staff - to take on their critics publicly.

I do not reproach officials for trying to set the record straight when facts are being presented wrongly by the news media or when they themselves are being unfairly criticised. On the other hand, such rebuttals should be carried out with discretion and judiciousness.

It rather defies belief that Andrew Fung Wai-kwong, the government's information coordinator, has written a lengthy and impassioned letter to the Post today taking on one of our columnists - not me - for rounding on "the rich and powerful" as well as their offspring.

While the SAR government has long been accused of being friendly to tycoons, I hardly think it is its PR chief's job to confirm it for the rest of us.

Fung, a former senior member of the Democratic Party, sounds positively indignant.

"Stephen Vines questions 'the loyalty to the Chinese state' of these [rich and powerful] people," writes Fung.

"Interestingly, most of the Hong Kong real estate developers and other investors who Vines must have counted among 'the rich and powerful' are investing heavily in mainland Chinese markets. A quick scan of their annual reports will show that ..."

Fung then defended their offspring: "Why should 'the rich and powerful' send their children away [from Hong Kong]? One simple reason is to get away from the press and its paparazzi ... Why should the children of the 'rich and powerful' suffer such nonsense?"

I have nothing against them, but I should think it's hardly the government's job to defend the honour of "the rich and powerful" and their children.What Fung wrote may or may not be true, but I am sure the rich and powerful have ample means to defend themselves besides acquiring the service of the government's PR chief.

Fung is unlikely to have written such a passionate letter unless he had been authorised by the chief executive himself.

So I can only ask: What was Leung thinking?