Pan-democrat lawmakers were dissatisfied with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s 2016 policy address, lamenting the absence of any mention of missing bookseller Lee Bo.

“This is the policy address, but what is in it?” said Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan who walked out during the speech with his party colleagues. “He did not mention Lee Bo at all, or the security issues or ‘One Country, Two Systems’.”

Labour Party. Photo: HKFP.
In terms of the policies, Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan described the address as “a blank page of red and nothing of substance.”

Lee described it as “completely turning Hong Kong red” with 40 instances of the phrase “Belt and Road”. “The whole policy address shows how it complements the Belt and Road Initiative, which is a betrayal of Hong Kong, and an act of kissing ass, all so that he can re-elected,” said Lee.

“I feel like I was being cheated into listening to the policy address,” Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan said. “It felt more like the policy address of the mayor of Belt and Road. The worst is the scholarship… Increasing the quota of specific places from 10 to 100, to encourage other students to come to Hong Kong to study with taxpayers money.”

Her party colleague Sin Chung-kai said that “This is CY Leung’s manifesto for running for a second term, using Hong Kong as a tool for re-election [by repeatedly mentioning Belt and Road]. Hong Kong does not only have Belt and Road… This change in focus on Hong Kong’s advantages will – in the long run – damage Hong Kong.”

“I am disappointed,” said IT sector lawmaker Charles Mok. “Other than setting up a lot of funds, it did not show what the future ideals [of tech development] are.”

DAB Party. Photo: HKFP.

Differences in the same camp

Meanwhile, members of the pro-Beijing camp also had mixed reactions.

Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress lawmaker Starry Lee Wai-king said that their party agreed with the 15 years of free education proposal.

“But the government did not respond to some warning signals in the economy, such as the stock fluctuations,” she said. “If the policies can be quickly and effectively implemented it would be great, and the executive branch should look into how to do this.”

Finance sector lawmaker Ng Leung-sing gave the policy address 85 marks out of 100.

“It’s a very good policy address… It’s very substantial in terms of content,” says Ng. “There are quite a few measures on the macro scale and they’re not just empty statements… Like it said in the address, our position as an international financial centre is still sound.”

The Liberal Party, however, did not agree the policy address wording.

“The policy address is vague and does not have a lot of good points that we can talk about,” said its leader Vincent Fang Kang.

“It talked a lot about Belt and Road, technology – these are totally correct, but these cannot be done in a short time… he ignored the difficulties the people faced,” he added.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.