Changing chief executive every five years may not be good for the city, Hong Kong deputy in the National People’s Congress (NPC) Maria Tam Wai-chu has said. Though Tam did not directly answer questions about the possible re-election of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, she questioned whether having another chief executive would mean “there would be no demonstrations”.

“In terms of [the] system, changing personnel, changing teams, and changing policies every five years – it may not be good for Hong Kong.” she said.

Maria Lam Wai-chu speaking to the press on Wednesday. Photo: TVB screencap.

“I don’t know whether the political disputes at the moment are due to one person, or to several sides unwilling to compromise and communicate because of their ideals,” she added.

When asked about Leung’s weaknesses, Tam did not respond directly but said that no politician is without flaws. She also said that, compared with other chief executives, Leung cares about the grassroots and elderly the most.

Tam is currently in Beijing for the commencement of the NPC and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference meetings.

Article 23 – ‘better than nothing’

“If Article 23 is legislated and, for example, there is a more serious situation than the Mong Kok riot, or [something] really affects the security of the country, Hong Kong would have its own laws, law enforcement basis and judicial power to handle [it]. This is better than nothing,” Tam said.

She added that the Public Order Ordinance is completely sufficient in dealing with the unrest that broke out in Mong Kok last month over the clearing of street hawkers. She said that she did not think Beijing would interfere.

Protest against Article 23 on July 1, 2003.

Article 23 is the basis of a security law in the Hong Kong Basic Law. If the bill is ever passed, the government can enact laws “to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government“. Its tabling in 2002 caused a public outcry, bringing an estimated 500,000 people onto the streets in protest.

Hermina Wong

Hermina is a Hong Kong writer and journalist. She graduated with a degree in politics from Cambridge, and is interested in international affairs, particularly those related to China, the EU and the Middle East. She also enjoys political satire.