The outgoing Legislative Council president, who has hinted at a potential run for the Chief Executive post, has voiced clear opposition with the sitting Hong Kong leader regarding his political judgment.

Jasper Tsang Yok-sing explained his considerations for a possible challenge against Leung Chun-ying in an interview with Shanghai media outlet Jiemian News published on Friday. The link to the story later returned a 404 error, meaning it may have been removed.

“I have nothing personal against Leung Chun-ying, but I disagree with his actions, his views on the opposition and his judgment on Hong Kong’s political environment.”

“Maybe he is right and I am wrong. Maybe he is wrong and I am right. Many of those who I am in touch with agree with me and disagree with him,” he said.

Jasper Tsang Yok-sing
Jasper Tsang Yok-sing. Photo: Stand News.

Tsang was considered a softer figure in the pro-Beijing camp compared to Leung during his tenure as the president of the legislature and was noted for his capacity to have dialogue with the pro-democracy camp.

Last month, he said that if there were no other suitable candidates he may consider running in the Chief Executive election, as he “truly want[s] to see genuine competition.”

But in an interview published on Monday, he said that he will be “very glad” to serve in the government if Leung gets another term, though he mentioned that Leung should listen to – and work together with – opposition parties.

In the Jiemian interview, Tsang reiterated that he was willing to join the Chief Executive election to bring about more competition.

But he also brought up the issue of his age, as in previous interviews: “If someone suitable was going to run, then I would not consider it. After all I am close to 70 years old.”

interview deleted
The interview was not accessible, hours after being published. Photo: Screenshot.

On local governance, he said the “One Country, Two Systems” principle must be defended, but people need to realise the problems and contradictions that were revealed.

He added that there were issues that should be looked into, such as the role of Chief Executive, the implementation of the executive-led system and the reason behind the failure of passing a national security law according to Article 23 of the Basic Law.

On the recent hot topic of Hong Kong independence, Tsang said political issues were ultimately economic and livelihood issues.

“The best blow to independence ideas is to make the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle work well, so that our young people will be confident in it,” he said.

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.