John Lee slams ‘baseless’ Economist editorial on HK

Chief Secretary John Lee has accused the Economist of misleading its readers about the situation in Hong Kong, in his second letter admonishing an international news outlet in as many weeks.

In its January 8 edition, the London-based publication ran an editorial headlined: “Hong Kong’s new legislature is a mockery of democracy”.

It condemned last month’s Legislative Council poll as “rigged”.

In his rebuttal, Lee called the editorial’s claim a “serious but baseless accusation”.

He said no country would allow “treasonists, traitors, foreign agents or other forms of non-patriots to take part in its political system”.

Lee continued: “If anything was ‘rigged’ it was the deliberately distorted image of Hong Kong that has been manipulated from the dark side of one’s personal internal bias”.

The chief secretary added that the rights to free speech and to run for election are enshrined in the Basic Law.

The Economist editorial also criticised a white paper issued by Beijing after the poll, which said the Communist Party of China has championed people’s democracy, and that this laid the groundwork for developing democracy in Hong Kong under One Country, Two Systems.

The publication called the white paper “the latest broadside in China’s campaign to redefine democracy and portray the party as its torchbearer and Western versions as a sham”.

Lee wrote that no country has a monopoly on democracy, that there are different models of democracy, and that the success of any model lies in how effective it is in “enabling its people to prosper in their living”.

Just over a week ago, Lee sent a letter to the Wall Street Journal, also accusing the paper of misleading readers about the situation in Hong Kong.

Last month, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang sent two letters to the Journal responding to editorials concerning the Legco elections.