The president of the Legislative Council says that he has some “insight” into the coming Chief Executive election through an eight-character riddle.

Pro-Beijing camp veteran Jasper Tsang Yok-sing used most of the space in his latest column in AM730 newspaper to introduce a historical Chinese riddle. He provided eight characters that can be condensed into four in order to reveal the riddle’s hidden meaning.

“Wide hands, colourful silk, no wealth, dark divination – guess the four characters,” he wrote. “Believe it or not, these four words will provide insight into the next Chief Executive election.”

Leung Chun-ying Jasper Tsang
Leung Chun-ying and Jasper Tsang. Photo: LegCo.

Soon after the column was published on Monday, netizens had found the hidden meaning.

Wide hands would be 拒, with the components of characters hand and big; Colourful silk would be 絕, with the same components; No wealth would be 欽, a character with components gold and “lack”; and dark divination would 點, a character with the same components.

Combining the four, it would be 拒絕欽點 – meaning refusal of a chief executive preordained by Beijing.


As the government’s political reform package was voted down by lawmakers last year, the chief executive election set on March 26 next year will be conducted by a poll of a 1,200-member committee, which is mostly controlled by the pro-Beijing camp.

Pan-democrats, meanwhile, usually control some 100 seats in the committee. A vote is required if there is more than one candidate, and one must obtain at least 600 to win, meaning the pan-democrats have no power to veto a candidate.

Tsang has recently covered political topics in the column in riddles and conversations between two random men, without directly stating his own opinion, including ones hinting at criticism of chief executive Leung Chun-ying’s governance.

Mr Leung has not yet said whether he will run for re-election.

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.