Thursday, 23 February 2012

Hong Kongers Get to "Vote"

HKU's Dr Robert Chung will simulate a vote for the next CE
The race for the next chief executive of Hong Kong has become a farce.

We have gone through two of them and know the vote is decided by 1,200 people approved by Beijing.

And we were prepared to go through the motions again with former Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen, expecting him to be a shoe-in.

Then things got really interesting when former government surveyor Leung Chun-ying threw his hat into the ring and even Beijing approved of him.

But in the past week Tang's bid degenerated into a media circus when he announced to the media that the plans to develop the basement in his wife's Kowloon Tong home was her idea and he had nothing to do with it.

Lisa Kuo Yu-chin held back tears as she gave a dramatic performance as the woman who stands by her man even though he's made her liable for a criminal conviction and has cheated on her too.

The Hong Kong public saw through the Tang's attempt to clear his name and since then they have become even more disillusioned by the electoral process.

There are letters to the editor everyday calling Tang to step down from the race, saying he has lost his integrity and if he is elected he is a shameful representative of the city.

People are also frustrated by the system whereby Beijing determines the race that is played out by its favourite sector -- the tycoons.

It's reached the point where the public has had enough of the charade and want to have their voices heard.

And they will have a chance.

A professor at the University of Hong Kong has raised enough money to conduct a simulated vote for chief executive on March 23.

Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu, head of the university's public opinion program has raised over HK$482,000 in funds that have been verified. The amount pledged so far is HK$577,678, some of which has yet to be confirmed.

Chung had announced that if he was able to raise HK$500,000, the city-wide vote would go ahead. The actual election takes place on March 25.

He stresses this exercise is not to incite independence, but to give citizens "an alternative channel of expression" on the election.

With the amount of interest this "vote" has generated, there will surely be a good turnout because it will send a strong message about who the people want to lead Hong Kong.

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