Hong Kong chief executive candidate Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced her policy proposals at an election rally held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai on Friday afternoon.
The rally was attended by around 600 people, including prominent pro-Beijing figures such as former secretary for justice Elsie Leung Oi-see, former Education Bureau chief Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, and lawyer Ronald Arculli, who is now her campaign manager.
The rally was opened by former Hong Kong fencing team member Ron Lee Chung-man. Lam sported a youthful image, wearing a pink turtleneck and blue t-shirt, flanked by young people upon her entrance.
The former chief secretary for administration introduced her campaign slogan as “WeConnect”, symbolising unity and progress, before recalling her school days and career experiences.
She then outlined a platform of three major policies, namely strengthening the development of land and construction of housing, the diversification of Hong Kong’s economy, and a full-scale review of the city’s education system.
In order to achieve her policy goals, she said that she would introduce a new style of governance, involving consultation with the public. She also outlined a new role for the government, as a “facilitator” and not only a public services provider and supervisor. Finally, she said she would introduce a new financial philosophy, allowing everyone in society to benefit from economic growth.
Lam made reference to earlier gaffes in her campaign: “Now whenever I’m campaigning, my public relations [staff] take away my Octopus card and cash.” She was ridiculed for appearing to not know how to use the Octopus to pay in Hong Kong’s subway system, and for giving HK$500 to a mainland Chinese beggar who was allegedly brought to Hong Kong against her wishes.
She has also recently come under fire after telling reporters that she does not have the power to prevent Beijing’s “visible hand” from campaigning for her. Several electors from both the pro-Beijing and pro-democracy camps claimed to have received telephone calls from the Central Government Liaison Office – Beijing’s government organ in Hong Kong – canvassing votes for Lam.
The three other candidates for chief executive are former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, ex-judge Woo Kwok-hing and lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee.
The small-circle election takes place on March 26. The 1,200 people sitting on the Election Committee are eligible to vote.