Former lawmaker Kenneth Chan Ka-lok has criticised Chief Executive CY Leung for comments he made about the Chinese flag in a spat outside the Chief Executive’s Office building.

After answering reporters’ questions ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting, Leung received a petition from the Civic Party politician opposing the privatisation of a piece of Ap Lei Chau harbourfront land.

Speaking to reporters about the incident afterwards, Chan said: “We hadn’t spoken to him yet, when Leung Chun-ying came out and said to me: this is a place flying the [Chinese] five-star red flag, what are you doing here?”

Kenneth Chan and Leung Chun-ying.

Chan, a Baptist University associate professor, said he told Leung he was there with the residents to raise their concerns, but Leung did not listen to him.

Instead, Chan said Leung turned away to greet a group of his supporters in the demonstration area, before turning back to Chan several times and repeating similar phrases to him.


Speaking to reporters shortly after the incident, Chan said Leung was “crazy” in that as a public official, the first thing he did when the residents were expressing their opinions was not to listen but to provoke him and create a confrontation.

Kenneth Chan.

“His head is full of red [propaganda], his head is full of extreme leftism – I don’t know why he got so angry when he saw me,” he said. “This person cannot be saved. He should leave as soon as possible.”

Chinese flag row

Within hours, Leung published a blog post on the incident.

Photo: GovHK.

He quoted an interview with Chan in January 2015 in which Chan said: “I often challenge the students in my class, asking them if they ever imagined that one day when they wake up, the five-star red flag will not rise…” and another article written by Chan in September 2016: “Imagine that you wake up one day, and the five-star red flag that represents the Chinese Communist regime does not rise – this regime is really finished.”

Chan is an associate professor in Eastern European politics. The interview and the article were both related to his studies of the downfall of the Soviet Union.


Leung wrote in the blog post: “I saw… Kenneth Chan whom I haven’t seen for some time. I told Kenneth Chan that the five-star red flag and the Hong Kong SAR flag rise at 8am everyday at the Chief Executive’s Office building – I told him he was welcome to come and see the flag-raising ceremony.”

Several hours later, he posted a video of the Hong Kong and China flags on his Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Chan also said that he did not wish to see Chief Secretary Carrie Lam becoming the next chief executive, as she will continue to govern with Leung’s combative style.

Chan referred to the recent controversy surrounding the Hong Kong Palace Museum, a project led by Lam which was criticised for the lack of public consultation before it was announced.

“We can see that she is only listening to one side and abusing her power,” he said.

Leung defended the plan for the museum when he spoke to reporters earlier on Tuesday.

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.