Thursday, 13 June 2013

Tough Interviewee

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is in New York trying to drum up business in the Big Apple, but all everyone wants to talk to him about is Edward Snowden who is holed up somewhere in the Fragrant Harbour.

Bloomberg Television's Sara Eisen tried to pepper him with questions about Snowden, but he kept replying he would not comment on individual cases. She then changed tack and tried to get him to explain how Hong Kong would deal with cases like Snowden's, but again he would not talk about generalities at all, or explain that the city follows rule of law.

She tried to get him to explain "one country, two systems" and all he would say was that Hong Kong follows Basic Law. No one outside of Hong Kong knows what that is.

Giving up temporarily, she then asked him about currency markets and Hong Kong's economy, the globalization of the renminbi. Here he talked, but all his answers were so general that they gave no insight into the city and how it is a financial centre.

His responses also indicated he was not at all prepared for the interview and was not informed enough on the above financial topics to demonstrate his knowledge but also why people should invest in Hong Kong.

One of Eisen's last questions was whether Hong Kong should un-peg from the US dollar. Leung's reply? He said, "We don't even talk about it" which is ridiculous and financial columnists were probably choking on their drinks listening to him. They are going to pounce on this because there have always been some murmurs here and there about de-pegging from the greenback.

In fact people are wondering why we are still pegged to the US dollar now...

Eisen tried one more time to get Leung to make some kind of statement about Snowden, or to clear up any kind of misunderstandings out there about Hong Kong, but he didn't take the opportunity and again shut it down.

He could have said Hong Kong is a city that follows the rule of law, or Hong Kong values freedom of speech and these are core values that make the city special from the mainland, or that Hong Kong will follow due process with respect to any case in the city.

In the end he gave an impression of someone who was hiding something; while it is true he cannot discuss individual cases, he also didn't want to say anything that could be used against him later which may indicate Beijing had instructed him to keep quiet.

But was his forcefulness in which he refused to comment speaks volumes.


  1. I wonder why CY Leung accepted the interview invitation in the first place...?

  2. He probably didn't know what he was getting himself into!!