A top media aide to former chief executive Leung Chun-ying has put his name down for the city’s upcoming “patriots only” legislative election, as he donned a “I love you China” face mask and vowed to help Hongkongers “fulfil their dreams.”

Andrew Fung, former information coordinator for Leung’s administration, showed up at government headquarters on Thursday to sign up for next month’s newly-restricted Legislative Council (LegCo) election. Rather than face the public vote, he will vie for a seat in the legislature through the 1,500-member Election Committee, which will select 40 lawmakers.

Andrew Fung’s and his “I love you China” mask. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Wearing a red and yellow ombré face mask that featured the words “I love you China,” Fung said he recently “fulfilled his dream” by driving 20,000 kilometres across the Northwest region of his motherland, including Qinghai, Xinjiang and Tibet. The LegCo polls scheduled for December 19 is a chance for him to “fulfil the dreams of Hong Kong citizens,” he said, including reopening the city’s border with mainland China amid Covid-19 and purchasing a home.

If elected, Fung said he will support the government in building houses on the fringes of the city’s country park areas – a controversial policy suggested by his former boss, Leung. He also pledged to foster exchanges between young people in Hong Kong and China to reduce their “misunderstandings” of the mainland.

“I will arrange young people to follow in my footsteps, because I have walked on the roads of Xinjiang and Tibet, which proves it is safe,” said the election hopeful, who later took off his navy blazer to reveal a bright red t-shirt which accented five yellow stars, resembling those on the Chinese national flag.

Andrew Fung wears a red t-shirt featuring the five stars from the Chinese national flag. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The ex-government media relations chief said he informed Leung about his decision to join the “patriots only” polls. He said the former chief executive thought it was “good news” and told him to “work harder.” But he refused to state whether Leung was among the 11 nominations he received.

He also refused to comment on whether he supported the idea of Leung returning to the city’s top job ahead of the Chief Executive election in March next year, saying it was too early to give comment.

Controversial figure

The ex-Democratic Party member had drawn criticism from the pro-democracy camp for making controversial remarks during his time in government, including accusing the opposition parties of committing “character assassination” against Leung. He was also mocked for describing his role as “similar to a White House spokesperson.”

Andrew Fung (left) and Leung Chun-ying (right).

Fung remained vocal after leaving the government, with an article published in February this year calling Hong Kong’s administrative officers the “largest ‘anti-China’ party” in the city. He took aim at politically appointed officials again last month, saying the authorities had an “urgent” task to “rectify” its administrative officers.

Next month’s election will be Hong Kong’s first general polls under revamped electoral rules outlined by Beijing. The overhaul shrunk democratic representation in the legislature, while the national security police and the Committee on National Security will help decide a candidate’s eligibility.

Most opposition figures remain behind bars, have fled the city, have quit politics or are barred from running.

Other candidates

Liberal Party leader Felix Chung was among others who also signed up for the LegCo election race on Thursday. The lawmaker chose to submit the 16 nominations he obtained from the Election Committee on his birthday, saying his birthday wish is to win re-election in the textiles and garment functional constituency.

Liberal Party leader Felix Chung. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Chung revealed one of his nominations came from local leading microbiologist Professor Yuen Kwok-yung of the University of Hong Kong. Asked about the competition he may face in the polls next month, Chung said he was used to going against representatives from the pro-establishment camp.

“Since I joined the [LegCo] election for the first time in 2008, I have had some competitors, and they have always been from the pro-establishment camp. I’m used to their background and their ability…” he said.

Another candidate was Kenneth Leung Yuk-wai, chairman of the Hong Kong United Youth Association, who is seeking to become a legislator via the Election Committee. He told reporters that he secured 18 nominations from the powerful committee, including Kenneth Fok, who will stand in the separate sports and culture constituency.

Kenneth Leung Yuk-wai (middle). Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

He pledged to help the city’s youth “find a better future,” as well as making society more suitable for creating families.

Benson Luk from the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, on the other hand, will also throw his hat in the ring to strive for a legislative seat chosen by the Election Committee.

Benson Luk and his wife. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The candidate supported Chief Executive Carrie Lam when she ran for office in 2017. He cited his grassroots origins and said wanted to take part in politics at a young age. Luk vowed to improve the relationship between the executive and the legislative branch and the interaction between the business sector and low-income groups.

The nomination period of the LegCo election will end next Friday.

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Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.