Yesterday, both outgoing Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and his incoming successor Carrie Lam attended the opening ceremony of a public exhibition on the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the mainland held at the Beijing National Museum.
What is interesting is that while the two were on the same flight, one went straight to the venue after getting off the plane before heading back to the hotel while the other first got to the hotel before setting off for the museum. This could be a subtle sign that they are not really on the same page.
In fact, according to sources from the pro-establishment camp, ever since Lam was elected in March, whenever pro-Beijing organizations wanted to invite both CY Leung and Lam to attend their events, they had to make sure the incumbent and the incoming CEs wouldn’t appear simultaneously at the venues. As a result, these organizers often had to specially arrange for them to show up after the other.
And on several occasions, in order to meet Lam’s special requirement, the organizers had to slash the events into halves so that one of them could show up in the first half and the other in the second half.
On one occasion, Carrie Lam’s staffers rang up the event organizer to make sure CY Leung had already left before their boss got in the car and set off for the venue.
It remains unclear why Carrie Lam has been going to great lengths trying to avoid appearing side by side with her former superior on public occasions over the past several months.
While some have suspected that she has been avoiding Leung in public in order not to create an impression that there are two Chief Executives, some have speculated that the two of them just don’t get along.
In fact, during the CE election campaign, everybody knew CY Leung was leaning toward Carrie Lam even though he didn’t officially root for her. However, it appears their relations have somewhat turned sour after she was elected.
Perhaps one can just take a look at their conflicting views on controversial issues such as whether to press ahead with the Basic Competency Assessment (BCA) test for primary 3 students, and whether to legislate for standard working hours and scrap the offsetting mechanism of the Mandatory Provident Fund, and you can tell that the once close-knit duo no longer see eye to eye on some key issues.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on June 26
Translation by Alan Lee
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