Politicians line up to back ‘Beijing’s man’ John Lee

John Lee was showered with praise on Wednesday after announcing his intention to stand for chief executive, with an analyst familiar with Beijing’s thinking saying Lee is probably the only person who meets the central government’s expectations.

Lau Siu-kai, the vice-president of Beijing’s top think tank on Hong Kong, said considering the current situation and the challenges the SAR will face in future, the central government probably prefers to have only one candidate in the poll and that candidate is Lee.

“But that will not be the normality,” Lau said, adding that Beijing wants to make sure there is no damage to the unity among the patriotic camp that would allow foreign forces to take advantage of the situation at the current time.

Lau also said he believes if Lee becomes the next Hong Kong leader, he will take an even tougher approach against anti-China disruptors.

Former chief secretary Henry Tang, a standing committee member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, described Lee as pragmatic and someone who has the common touch, saying this would help him forge a consensus in the community.

Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Alice Mak, who’s a member of the Election Committee that will choose the next chief executive, described Lee as a principled man who is willing to listen to other people’s views.

“He is someone willing to uphold justice and principles. My working experience with him is very good. I think he’s capable of bringing Hong Kong to new heights,” she said.

Mak said she believes Lee would be able to lead Hong Kong’s fight against the pandemic and improve the city’s economy.

Legislator Tik Chi-yuen from the Third Side said although he hopes there will be competition in the CE race, he will consider nominating Lee and voting for him, if he can be confident that Lee will bring harmony back to the community, as well as universal suffrage and a breakthrough in social welfare policies.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan, who was once tipped to run for the top job, said he was glad to learn that Lee has resigned as chief secretary in order to make a bid for the CE post.

“I wish him all the best,” Chan wrote on social media.