Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said that the Liberal Party’s candidate Ken Chow Wing-kan must explain the incident clearly after he suddenly halted all campaigning for Sunday’s Legislative Council election. Chow stated that important people around him may get into “greater trouble or pay a price” if he did not do so.
Leung was asked by reporters on Tuesday if the incident would affect the public’s confidence in a clean election. He said Hong Kong’s elections have always been open, fair, impartial and conducted in accordance with the law and that the incident should be investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption as it has been reported to the watchdog.
“But the mystery can only be solved by the person concerned,” he said. “The one concerned should come out and explain the mysteries clearly.”
As some have linked the incident with the China Liaison Office, Leung was also asked whether he had reached out to the office to understand the situation. However, Leung did not respond to the question.
Chow made the sudden announcement during an election forum for the New Territories West constituency last Thursday. He left Hong Kong on Friday, telling his party that he will only return a day after the election on September 5 to give answers.
There is no mechanism to withdraw from the election after a candidacy is confirmed. He will still be listed as a candidate on the ballot.
Leung was also asked whether the government was “making a fuss” over the independence issue, as the Council on Professional Conduct in Education had unanimously decided that it was unnecessary to amend the Code for the Education Profession in order to include guidelines on the topic.
In response, Leung reiterated his position that educational institutes should state that Hong Kong is a part of China, and that advocacy of independence violates the Basic Law, and that there is no room for discussion on the matter.
He was also asked if he was personally responsible for sparking the city-wide debate over independence, as suggested by local pro-Beijing newspaper Sing Pao in a front page commentary on Tuesday.
“I warned of this [independence] idea and trend in last year’s policy address,” he said. “Before last year’s policy address, there were articles and books in particular, advocating independence and separatism in schools.”
Editor’s note: Digital media outlets such as Hong Kong Free Press are currently barred from attending government press conferences.