The former chief secretary for administration of Hong Kong, John Lee Ka-chiu, officially submitted his chief executive election candidacy application earlier this month after securing 786 nominations from the Election Committee.
I have great expectations for Mr Lee’s leadership, believing that he is a suitable candidate for Hong Kong’s top post at a time when the city is struggling to cope with huge challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and a widening wealth gap threatening the city’s stability. First and foremost, Mr Lee was a prominent figure in the special administrative region government, who believably has enjoyed Beijing’s full support in his work, which suggests he is recognized as “the man who can get things done”. In his announcement speech, he has pledged to lead Hong Kong through these trying times guided by a pragmatic and results-oriented governance philosophy.
Mr Lee has also vowed to maintain Hong Kong’s status and reputation as an international financial center, which is a crucial and vital commitment. The city has long been a favored destination for international capital, and its prominence as a gateway to the Chinese mainland has expanded in recent years. If he is capable of sustaining the inflow of foreign capital into Hong Kong, the city’s economy is likely to rebound strongly after it eventually overcomes the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the central government’s endorsement for Mr Lee demonstrates Beijing’s commitment to ensuring Hong Kong’s stability. Another eruption of social upheaval in Hong Kong is the last thing the country wants to see, and conceivably, Lee can be entrusted to maintain peace in the SAR.
Mr Lee’s lack of known ties to the city’s tycoons is also a plus, and he does not appear to be beholden to any interest groups. This encourages me to believe that he will prioritize the needs of the general public if he makes it to Hong Kong’s top job. The people of Hong Kong deserve a leader who genuinely cares about their well-being, and Mr Lee appears to be a suitable candidate
Mr Lee’s lack of known ties to the city’s tycoons is also a plus, and he does not appear to be beholden to any interest groups. This encourages me to believe that he will prioritize the needs of the general public if he makes it to Hong Kong’s top job. The people of Hong Kong deserve a leader who genuinely cares about their well-being, and Mr Lee appears to be a suitable candidate.
Furthermore, Mr Lee has extensive expertise and experience in public service. He served as the undersecretary for security and then the secretary for security from 2012 to 2021, a lengthy and challenging tenure during which he dealt with crises ranging from the “Occupy Central” protests in 2014 to the political unrest in 2019. Experience in handling large-scale protests will prove to be a valuable asset for any leader.
Some have raised questions about Mr Lee’s lack of experience in the economic field. But it is worth noting that no Hong Kong chief executive has ever had much experience in managing the economy. It is not the chief executive’s role to micromanage the economy; advisers are there to assist. The chief executive’s duty is to lead a competent governing team and make the final decision. I am certain that Mr Lee possesses the capability and aptitude to assemble and lead a competent team.
Hong Kong’s immediate, pressing concerns include recuperating from the COVID-19 pandemic, resolving the deteriorating housing shortage, reducing poverty, and mending societal division. Mr Lee appears to be a good candidate for assuming the task of restoring public confidence in the government’s ability to solve these deep-seated problems.
Mr Lee’s campaign motto was “Starting a new chapter for Hong Kong together,” and he pledged to improve people’s livelihoods, bridge the wealth disparity, and make housing more affordable. All of these are serious concerns for Hong Kong residents. The general public has high expectations for Mr Lee, and I am convinced he will not disappoint.
The current chief executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, unveiled a five-year plan to address the city’s housing crisis a few months ago. The proposal calls for the construction of 926,000 public and subsidized housing units. Since Lam has announced that she will not seek reelection, Mr Lee might be obliged to make sure that such a big housing plan is implemented one way or the other to tackle the most pressing problem plaguing many Hong Kong residents. The average waiting time for public housing in Hong Kong has risen over recent years to nearly six years.
In conclusion, I firmly believe that Mr John Lee Ka-chiu is the most qualified candidate for the position of the chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. He has Beijing’s blessing, the requisite experience, the commitment to prioritizing the needs and well-being of Hong Kong residents, and, most significantly, the capability to maintain peace and stability in the city.
The author is founder of Save HK and a Central Committee member of the New People’s Party.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.