March 24, 2005

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Hong Kong races

Hong Kong's two major pro-Beijing parties find themselves in a curious muddle. Beijing has made it clear that Donald Tsang is the preferred candidate for Chief Exceutive (CE). So both the DAB and the Liberal Party hung their hopes on Financial Secretary Henry Tang, but he declined to run...this time. Now they find themselves teaming up with the pro-democracy camp in trying to field a candidate against The Don and make this election more than a rubber stamp.

The Standard has a thorough analysis with this line: A Beijing source said the central government is not particularly in favor of Tsang but so far there is no candidate who has proved more competent. Meanwhile James Tien of the Liberals is considering a run, according to the SCMP. China will not let another businessman become CE, either now or in 2007. It's all a desperate scramble by these parties for relevance and leverage over The Don, plus positioning for the real race in 2007. In the meantime we get to watch both the DAB and the Liberals fight two diametrically opposite forces: their desire to please Beijing and their desire for relevance. They despise The Don but they desire a claim on power and Beijing is the source of both.

It's a pleasure to watch. It hints at the beginnings of a truly party political system in this city. It's a shame that inevitably the pro-Beijing parties will bow to their master's will.

Update: ESWN looks at the various HK newspapers covering the CE race and finds yet again a curious editorial decision by the SCMP.

posted by Simon on 03.24.05 at 09:31 AM in the Hong Kong democracy/politics category.


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Well it's hard to say that the Liberal Party is really pro-Beijing.

After watching them, I'd say that the DAB is pro-Beijing as a policy. The Liberals are pro-Liberals and are willing to kiss CCP ass as long as it provides them an avenue to more power.

By the way did you see the letter to the editor in SCMP on Monday or Tuesday from the policy guru for the Liberals? Clearly laid out that they Liberals are anti-competition and are the party of the monopolists and not Hong Kong business as a whole.

posted by: Tom - Daai Tou Laam on 03.24.05 at 12:32 PM [permalink]

I agree re the Liberals.

I did see the letter and meant to highlight it. I think Jake van der Kamp today has a crack at the writer.

posted by: Simon on 03.24.05 at 01:05 PM [permalink]

There was also a letter to the editor yesterday responding asking the question... if these Hong Kong companies are so competitive worldwide, then why do they need to be protected from competition from other companies in Hong Kong?

posted by: Tom - Daai Tou Laam on 03.25.05 at 08:49 AM [permalink]

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