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Editorial: Cocky Lam hopes to get second term | Apple Daily HK

by Li Ping

Carrie Lam seems to have returned to her “good fighter” self after the double implementations of Hong Kong national security law and electoral system reform. Not wearing a mask, she looked at the media’s cameras, raising one corner of her lips. Lam behaved like the master of linguistic hypocrisy, questioned the reporters arrogantly why they should have prerogatives, and ridiculed the questions on whether pro-democracy camp means unpatriotic. She boasted her administration team could improve the governance effectiveness as if she is the unquestionable choice to remain as Chief Executive for the next term. Whether she could extend her tenure or not, her status in the governing history of Hong Kong has already overtaken Tung Chee-hwa. “Old man” Tung, the first Chief Executive, only represents the first returning of Hong Kong — the handover of Hong Kong’s sovereignty, and “one country, two systems.” Lam, on the other hand, has triggered the anti-ELAB movement, introduced national security law and electoral system reform, and completed the second return of Hong Kong — the handover of the governing right, and Hong Kong became “one country, one system.” Would there be anyone to become the Chief Executive to complete Hong Kong’s third return — the return of people’s hearts?

The list of potential Chief Executive candidates is getting longer around the introduction of the new electoral system. It is a no-brainer. With the ultimate weapon that is the national security law, the Chief Executive only has to follow the decisions of the CCP religiously, and an annual income of over HK$5 million (US$643,121) will be safe in the pocket. There will be no street protests, no restraints in the Legislative Council (LegCo). He/She can even ignore the U.S., Canada, UK, and Europe. There will not be any foreign visit so he/she would not be criticized and humiliated. People are, of course, attracted by such an amazing opportunity: people who are looking for a chance of revival, people who have always dreamed of being the Chief Executive, politicians who want to climb further up on the political ladder, businessmen who fancy to change lane and get into politics, those self-claimed “new talent” and those who have been labeled as the “dark horse.”

However, Lam has her natural advantage. She is the direct beneficiary of the national security law/electoral reform combo. She smugly said, “my governance team and I are the first responsible persons for Hong Kong’s governance effectiveness. It cannot be improved if we are incapable, no matter how perfect the electoral system is.” With national security law and electoral reform in place, the system is now perfect. So it is time for “my governance team and I” to show what they could do and for the CCP with its old team to prove there is no change in the “one country, two systems.”

Is Lam administration’s governance effective? Sure. From now on, whatever the CCP says, counts. All the criticism from Hong Kong’s press, digital media, and the internet to the SAR government and its officials mean nothing but a scenery board of the Hong Kong “press freedom and freedom of speech” show. Besides, anything that incites hatred against the SAR and central government will be punished severely according to the national security law. How dare do the reporters still dream of having the prerogative of investigating the politicians’ scandals and criticizing the government?

With regards to blocking the journalists from accessing the Companies Registry, Lam said, “I can’t see why reporters have to have a prerogative. Journalists requesting to see what others can’t, it’s a prerogative. In Hong Kong, no one has a prerogative.” But the reporters accessing the Companies Registry is not for their personal need or aim but to exercise the fourth power of media monitoring. It is not the prerogative of the reporters but the duty of the media. Lam chose to ignore that and deliberately mixed up the media’s role in the public and the personal identity of the reporters with evil intentions. When CY Leung was in office, and even after he left, he often instructed lawyers to issue letters to threaten the media, reporters, political commentators. It seems Lam will soon be ahead of him. She might even pull out the mighty national security law.

When being asked whether the new electoral system aims to get rid of all pro-democracy camp candidates, she teased, “the way you asked questions sounds like the pro-democracy camp must be unpatriotic. I think this is unfair to them.” Who said pro-democracy camp equates to unpatriotic? Was she blaming the reporters again? So how come has the District Council, led by the pro-democracy camp, been kicked out of the patriotic system? In an era when people calling a deer a horse, the meaning of pro-democracy camp and patriots are all being defined by the CCP. Whether the pro-democracy camp is patriotic or not, or whether the patriots are pro-democracy, depends on what the CCP needs to say at the time. The new Hong Kong people and a new pro-democracy camp have already been created for the era to fit into the new democratic electoral system with CCP Hong Kong characteristics and the new governance thinking of the Lam administration.

But the irony is, none of the three Chief Executives of Hong Kong can complete two terms (10 years) in office. Tung was re-elected but resigned due to “health problems”; Donald Tsang took over halfway, so his term got cut short of three years; during CY Leung’s term, the CCP has more than once showing its “full support,” but he gave up on pursuing the second term amid an “ABC (Anyone But CY)” campaign. Lam is now so confident and cocky that she would be re-elected. Even if she gets the crown for the second time, can she hold onto it until 2027?

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