HONG KONG -- Trouble is brewing in Hong Kong ahead of the vote on March 25 to choose the city’s next leader. A series of missteps have hobbled the one-time frontrunner in the race for chief executive, raising disturbing questions about whether he knows or simply ignores the laws he would be required to execute, and revealing how removed Hong Kong’s elite are from average people. The situation has put Beijing in a bind and raises the specter of a worst-case scenario involving mainland security forces deployed to restore order in the event of popular unrest following the voting.
The unlikely one-man powder keg is Henry Tang. Son of one of the city’s wealthiest men, the bland former chief secretary has long been groomed by the governing elite to carry on with the status quo. But it turns out Tang is far more colorful than he appears.
His latest gaffe: Tang will neither confirm nor deny allegations that he has an illegitimate child because "it involves an innocent third person." In nepotism-obsessed Hong Kong, it was immediately pointed out that those holding public office must declare the identities of all family members to comply with laws against hiring relatives.