Chief executive contender Carrie Lam has said she was very late in launching her campaign, when asked why she appeared to have lower popularity ratings than rival John Tsang.

The two were the highest rated in a survey conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and commissioned by the Hong Kong Economic Journal. Tsang enjoyed 33.5 per cent support and Lam received 30.9 per cent.

However, in another survey question which asked for preferences if Tsang and Lam were the only candidates, Tsang received 48.7 per cent approval whilst Lam received 39.9 per cent.

Carrie Lam. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

Asked about the poll during a trip to Sai Kung, Lam said she will continue to work hard.

“You know that I started my campaign very late – my campaign team and I will carry on,” she said, adding that she will continue to seek support from the public during the Lunar New Year holidays.

“We will also do more policy research work, because this election is not only an election of public relations, it is also a competition between the actual manifestos,” she said.

Lam, the former chief secretary, in fact officially launched her campaign earlier than Tsang, the former financial secretary.

Tsang submitted his resignation on December 12 last year but it was approved by Beijing more than a month later. Tsang was on leave during the period but could not announce his run.

Photo: carrielam2017.hk

Lam resigned on January 12 and was approved on January 16, the same time as Tsang. Lam then announced her candidacy hours after her resignation was approved, whilst Tsang only did so days later – on January 19.

Digital disparity 

Another aspect relates to their campaign websites. Lam’s aides purchased her the domain name on January 6 – six days before her resignation – but the website was only online from this Wednesday.

However, Tsang’s aides only purchased the johntsang2017.hk domain on January 16, on the day his resignation was approved.

Carrie Lam committed several gaffes recently in which she went to the wrong funeral centre for the service of singer Barbara Fei Ming-yi, appeared to have no knowledge of using an Octopus card and revealed that she had difficulties in buying toilet paper. She was also in the Hong Kong Palace Museum controversy.

Meanwhile, Lam’s campaign office denied a report that said she tried to arrange meetings with pro-democracy camp electors through the China Liaison Office. The office said the report was irresponsible and untrue.

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.