Chief executive candidate and lawmaker Regina Ip said Tuesday that she finally understood why some people took part in the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests – a controversial event that she had long voiced opposition to.

“I’ve met with nine doctors who sit on the Election Committee, including a female doctor who took part in the Occupy protests. I finally understand why some people joined the protests. [The meeting] was a valuable experience to me,” Ip said during a Commercial Radio show.

regina ip
Regina Ip. File Photo: Regina Ip, via Facebook.

She said after meeting with various sectors such as social workers, she finally “understood how backward Hong Kong’s public services in areas like children’s rights and public health are, and how angry society is.”

Struggle for nominations

Ip also lamented that she had enjoyed little success in securing nominations for the chief executive race from both the pro-Beijing and the pro-democracy camps.

“I’ve met with the higher education subsector twice, and they were very nice to me, but they later told me that they would vote for either John Tsang or Woo Kwok-hing for reasons such as not hoping to ‘waste’ their votes,” she said.

“But I understand why they did that. We respect each other.”

Meanwhile, she said many pro-establishment Election Committee members praised her for her capabilities. “Many in the finance industry said they didn’t know I am knowledgeable in finance.”

Carrie Lam. Photo:

But the lawmaker acknowledged the fact that it was unlikely the pro-Beijing camp would vote for her. “I know they were nice to me out of courtesy. I know they have already nominated [Carrie Lam].”

Asked if she had secured more than 20 nominations, Ip said she could not be sure as she is still working to rally support from many other sectors.

In order to officially stand in the leadership race, Ip needs at least 150 nominations from the 1,200-member Election Committee.

‘Last-ditch effort’

Activist Derek Lam, formerly with the now-defunct student group Scholarism, said Ip’s remarks can be understood as a “last-ditch effort to seek help from the pan-democrats,” whom he described as Ip’s longtime enemies.

“Ip is destined to be an underdog… with no chance of getting enough nominations to officially stand in the chief executive election,” Lam wrote on social media.

derek lam
Derek Lam. File Photo: Stand News.

See also: Hong Kong leadership race: Carrie Lam has hundreds of nominations, John Tsang dozens

“After meeting with a few sectors of the Election Committee, Mrs. Ip… finally understands how angry society is, and why people joined the Occupy protests. I’m quite sure that, at this moment, Mrs. Ip is the one who wants to occupy the streets the most.”

“She finally gets how desperate this city is,” he added. “No matter how hard you try, you will never be appointed by Beijing.”

The nomination period for the small-circle chief executive race runs from February 14 to March 1. The main contenders include Ip, former chief secretary Carrie Lam, ex-judge Woo Kwok-hing and former finance chief John Tsang. The election takes place on March 26.

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Ellie Ng

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