It's quite amusing to see Henry Tang Ying-yen claim that he can beat his rivals in the kickboxing ring but shies away from a verbal joust.
Two days ago he set up a photo opportunity for the media to watch him train in a kickboxing studio in Central. But the former chief secretary declined to an invitation by 12 local environmental groups to a public debate even though candidates Leung Chun-ying and Albert Ho Chun-yan were game.
According to forum organizers, including Greenpeace and WWF Hong Kong, Tang said he would attend on condition there was no direct debate with his rivals.
What kind of cowardly response is that?
The forum was expected to cover such issues as air pollution, waste management and conservation. The organizers had already begun approaching the candidates in November, and Ho and Leung agreed earlier this month.
Yesterday Tang's response was: "When everyone's platforms are released, we can have a higher-level and more in-depth debate that's more objective," he said. "There'll be a lot of chances to debate together on such occasions."
However, local media note Tang is the only one who has not unveiled a preliminary platform for public consultation.
When he was practicing kickboxing the other day, Tang claimed he could beat Leung in a bout between them. Leung replied yesterday that he dedicated his time to formulating a platform and so he didn't have time for sports.
Leung added he didn't understand why Tang was turning down invitations to a public debate. "What has been disappointing to many is that Mr Henry Tang has never been willing to [attend debates] at the same time and in the same venue, so a rather special situation has arisen in Hong Kong: that during electioneering, candidates cannot discuss policies at the same time, let alone debate."
He again criticized Tang during his time as Chief Secretary for not stopping more than 100,000 mainland mothers-to-be from giving birth in Hong Kong. And as head of a commission on poverty, "The more [Tang] helped, the poorer [Hong Kong] became."
Tang rebutted by saying he had introduced policies like transport subsidies for low-income earners and funds to help with children development.
Unwilling to take part in a public debate speaks volumes about Tang... we already know about his infidelity, his lack of understanding what average Hong Kongers go through and now we can only speculate he wouldn't stand a chance in a debate with Leung and Ho.
And Beijing is still willing to back him?