The National People’s Conference concluded yesterday in Beijing. And to wrap up proceedings Premier Wen Jiabao held a press conference over three hours. There were far-ranging topics discussed, from economic policy to the actions of Chongqing’s Deputy Mayor.
In-between there was talk of Hong Kong. And while no definitive direction was offered, there’s a scramble to decipher each word.
“I believe that, as long as the principles of openness, justice and fairness are observed and relevant procedures are complied with, the chief executive election will result in a leader who has the support of the vast majority of the people in Hong Kong,” said Premier Wen (Source: The Standard).
As a simple American-Australian, I read this to say that citizens in Hong Kong will be happy with whoever is chosen so long as it is done in a transparent and just fashion.
But in Hong Kong the interpretations are flying. Everyone is keen to know which candidate for Chief Executive Beijing will support come the 25 March election.
Some say this is a clear nod to candidate CY Leung – as he is the candidate preferred today in opinion polls (“leader who has the support of the vast majority”).
Henry Tang chose to emphasise another portion in his web post yesterday (“principles of openness, justice and fairness”). He infers it made him the clear choice.
Sadly no one believes the third candidate – Albert Ho – was even referenced. As he is Chairman of the Democratic party he is unlikely to ever get mentioned politely among political circles in Beijing.
Thankfully my interpretation wasn’t far off base:
Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong chairman Tam Yiu-chung said Wen did not indicate which candidate Beijing favors. (Source: The Standard)
With a track record like that, maybe I have a future reading tea leaves.