Chief Secretary Carrie Lam is to visit Beijing for a business trip this week, leading to speculation that she may meet Chinese officials to pave the way for her bid for Hong Kong’s leadership position.

Lam is scheduled to attend an event in Beijing on Thursday and Friday, after which she will take six days off to spend the holidays with her husband and son, who are based in Beijing. Some speculate that she may take the opportunity to meet Chinese officials during her stay in the city.

Carrie Lam declined to comment on her bid for chief executive at Sunday’s event. Photo: GovHK.

Lam declined to comment on Sunday as to whether she would inform Beijing of her intention to run for the top job.

Lam said more than a week ago that she might consider joining the race in light of Leung’s surprise announcement that he is not seeking a second term. She previously said she would retire after this term.

See also: Video: Did Chief Sec. Carrie Lam receive a ‘symbolic’ hug from ex-leader Tung Chee-hwa?

Lawmaker Regina Ip, who announced her candidacy for the race, said anyone is free to visit Beijing and that it is a “good thing” for Lam to go on a business trip to Beijing and visit her family there. Ip did not indicate whether she had plans to visit Beijing in the near future.

Hair cut show

Meanwhile, Lam’s colleague Finance Secretary John Tsang, who is tipped to run, posted on social media on Sunday about an old-fashioned barber shop that he has frequented since the 1990s.

John Tsang. Photo: John Tsang, via Facebook.

Tsang, whose popularity comes partly from his tendency to show support for the local culture, said he treasures his haircut routine as he and the barbers would discuss anything from current affairs to global economy, keeping him in touch with the grassroots society.

The post was well received by internet users. A user wrote: “Real quality is found inside you” – a motto of Tsang’s alma mater La Salle College. Another said: “I believe as long as something is qualified – whether it is new or old – it will be loved by the people in any society and at any time.”

In another post, Tsang wrote hashtags such as “never say die,” “be calm,” and “do your best.” The post was on his attendance of an alumni event of La Salle College. Local media highlighted Tsang’s hashtags, speculating if they referred to his bid for chief executive.

Tsang handed in his resignation as finance secretary last week. However, Beijing has not approved Tsang’s departure, leading to the speculation that he might not be given the “green light” to join the race.

Only Ip and ex-judge Woo Kwok-hing have announced their candidacy for the chief executive election, which is scheduled for March 26. Ip says she is confident that she will secure the minimum requirement of 150 nominations this time around, after receiving only 40 nominations in the previous election.

Ellie Ng

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.