Lawmaker Lam Tai-fai asked the government why Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was not Facebook friends with members of the Executive Council, Legislative Council, District Councils and deputies of Hong Kong of the National People’s Congress at a Legislative Council session on Wednesday.
Leung launched his personal Facebook account in October, mainly sharing gardening and pet-related posts. Currently, Leung’s friend list is full, and only his Facebook friends may comment on his posts.
Lam questioned the effectiveness of the effort in improving the relationship between the executive authorities and the legislature, and whether the page helps unite different sectors of society and create a “Hong Kong Camp” as Leung had proposed.
He also asked whether Leung spending time on Facebook will affect his workload and the quality and efficiency of policy implementation by the government.
In response, Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah said “The government is still in its early stage of discovering using new media, we will keep learning when using it, we will gather experience endlessly with the Chief Executive’s Facebook, to continue establishing new platforms, to communicate with people and to make better arrangements.”
Lam asked further if Leung launched his Facebook account in order to win a second term. Lau said he has nothing to add regarding elections.
Lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki said that John Tsang’s blog was very popular: “Will the government consider learning from Tsang’s experience during the regular morning meeting, to make more friends for Leung so that he can be re-elected?”
Lau then repeated his response to Lam.
IT sector lawmaker Charles Mok said that not every member of the pro-Beijing camp supported Leung and they may not have many positive comments for him: “If their comments on Facebook offended Leung, will they be charged with using computers with dishonest intent?”
Lau said that criminal laws in Hong Kong also apply online.
Lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan joked that Leung should learn from his daughter Leung Chai-yan if he wanted more friends: “A Facebook account often reflects the person’s character. I found that he mentioned his three dogs, meeting with external forces such as Nancy Pelosi, but he did not talk about LegCo members… Does this suggest that Leung will not listen to us for his next policy address?”
Lau said that as lawmakers can meet Leung in real life, they can have face-to-face chats about the policy address to be published next January.
He added that Leung also talked about other issues on Facebook such as the Kap Shui Mun Bridge collision.