Candidates running for the Chief Executive Election Committee received emails from newspaper Sing Tao Daily on Monday asking if they would support the current Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s bid for a second term.
Jonathan Chan Ching-wa, a social worker from pro-democracy group Demo-social Front running for a seat in the social welfare sector of the election committee, told HKFP that the email he received had a link to a survey which asked for the respondent’s preferences for the upcoming Chief Executive elections.
Neither Chan nor the members of Demo-social Front completed the survey.
The Sing Tao survey included compulsory questions specific to Leung Chun-ying. It asked whether the candidate would nominate Leung and whether they would support him for a second term.
Chan told HKFP that he was concerned about the accuracy and representativeness of the survey’s results. In a question which asked for the qualities respondents looked for in a Chief Executive, options included “rallying support from the pro-establishment camp” and “rallying support from the moderate pan-democratic camp.” It did not, however, include other parts of the political spectrum, nor was the term “moderate” defined.
“Is it considered moderate if you don’t rush the [LegCo] President podium, or if you don’t throw bananas? Or is it moderate only if you are willing to enter the China Liaison Office?” Chan asked.
The survey also required the name of each respondent. Chan said he would not guess the intentions of this, but together with the compulsory questions about support for Leung, “it objectively creates pressure for respondents to express loyalty.”
Chan did not receive the survey through his publicly available email address, but instead through a private email address that was only made available to members of Demo-social Front and the Electoral Affairs Commission.
Chan, however, told HKFP that he was confident in the Electoral Affairs Commission. “I filled in a stack of forms, it is likely that such a clause [for sharing candidate information] was buried within the small print,” he said. “I do not think the Election Affairs Committee would be stupid enough to break the law at this stage.”
The sender of the email in the “from” field appeared to be an Edmond Suen from Sing Tao News. But it is unclear who Edmond Suen may be and what position he may hold.
Next Media reached out to Sing Tao for comment. Sing Tao admitted to sending the email, but said that they will only respond to further questions if the candidates themselves were the ones enquiring.