With the high-profile territory’s fiercely fought election only a month away, the Hong Kong government denies trying to damage the chances of Leung Chun-ying to be elected chief executive, the top governmental job. The South China Morning Post, the influential and delightfully aggressive English-language Hong Kong newspaper, has been all over this emerging story.
For starters, after Leung’s character was scrutinized by the media in early February, the government stated in a press release on February 15th that “his integrity was never in doubt”. But the newspaper sagaciously noted that the government helped fuel just such doubts: In 2001, Leung served as a juror for an architectural design competition for the West Kowloon Cultural District. According to SCMP, on February 8th “the government released a press release saying Leung had business connections with a contestant” for the design contract.
Following its February 15th backpedaling on the “integrity” issue, the government is now debating whether or not to release the official records of the competition. The vice-president of the Federation of Trade Unions, Chan Yuen-han, argues that, while the records should be released, “the government shouldn’t have disclosed [information] before the election nomination period”.
Well, it’s too late for that! And with an array of inconsistent information coming from government press releases, responses from the jurors of the competition, anonymous government sources, and comments from Leung, critics have speculated that the government may – perhaps even intentionally — be helping rival Henry Tang Ying-yen.
For his part, Leung is urging that the entire record of the vetting process from the design competition be made public. What else can he say?
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