Las Vegas & HKG ExCo – What Happens Here Stays Here?

Las Vegas embraced its ‘Bad Boy’ reputation with a series of commercials under the theme – what happens here stays here. One shows an ecstatic girl kissing her new husband and saying she must get back to the convention. He doesn’t speak a word of English. My favourite is understated – it shows a mature Asian woman writing a postcard, then reading it before mailing. The smile disappears as she realises she’s shared some secrets. Watch it.

What’s good for Las Vegas is also good for ExCo – shorthand for the Executive Council of Hong Kong Government. This government body comprises 13 non-official members and 15 official members. They work as advisors to the Chief Executive. In the US this would be the President’s Cabinet.

On Friday during a debate candidate Henry Tang “dropped a bomb” by saying that rival CY Leung supported the use of tear gas in crowd control in Hong Kong back in 2003. Tang also said Leung wanted shorter broadcast licenses for commercial radio stations as a way of controlling press freedom.

The news is alarming on two levels.

First are the accusations. Hong Kong citizens take to the streets to demonstrate regularly. The anniversary of Tiananmen Square is observed with a march bringing together thousands of citizens. The recent slight by Dolce & Gabbana meant Canton Street became impassable on a Sunday as people thronged to protest in front of the store. So seeking a government ordinance that would permit the use of tear gas on its own citizens is alarming.

Second is the breach of confidence. ExCo meetings are confidential and there is no precedence for sharing internal discussions. As Henry Tang violated that protocol people question his leadership. There is also a call now that minutes of that meeting be made public. Should that happen then precedent could mean future ExCo meetings would be made public as well.

Tonight is the last debate before Sunday’s selection by the Hong Kong Election Committee. Tang is rumoured to be ready to drop another “bomb”. Everyone is keen to see if it’s another confidential missive.

For Henry Tang the strategy is working. Weekend polling show his appallingly low popularity ratings have climbed, while Teflon CY Leung slipped a few points. If Henry Tang goes the Julian Assange route and uses confidential government information to promote his own cause, we’ll all wait with interest to see what others can be share on Mr Tang himself.

Maybe he’ll wind up wishing it was all left in Vegas.

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