News / Asia

    Hong Kong Leader Survives No-Confidence Vote

    Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in December 2012 photoHong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in December 2012 photo
    x
    Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in December 2012 photo
    Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in December 2012 photo
    Ivan Broadhead
    Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying assumed office in July, after being maneuvered towards the city’s top political job by the Chinese central government.  As details emerge that suggest Leung ran a less-than-honest election campaign, pro-democracy legislators are calling for his impeachment.

    His election victory in March came after former Beijing favorite Henry Tang was accused of building an illegal basement in his multi-million-dollar home.

    Capitalizing on this revelation, Leung beat Tang, the former chief secretary for administration, in a vote decided by just 1,200 broadly pro-China appointees.

    According to legislator and respected lawyer Ronny Tong, it soon emerged that Leung had breached the very same planning laws in one, if not more, of his own luxury homes.    

    “He was projecting an image to the public that he was clean himself.  A lot of people think he was being totally dishonest in making such serious accusations against his opponent, yet saying nothing to the public about the presence of illegal structures at his own home,” Tong said.

    Leung appeared before the legislative council Monday at a hastily arranged question and answer session. Visibly strained, he offered a nuanced defense of the unauthorized building works (UBW), and their role in his election campaign.

    “It is a question of fact.  I did not say that I had no unauthorized building works, according to my own recollection ... There are some UBWs that I built.  But most of them were not built by me,” Leung said.

    Late Wednesday, Leung faced a motion of no-confidence.  Accused of “stealing the election” and repeatedly lying to the council, he survived a narrow vote only with undemocratically appointed, pro-Beijing legislators swaying the outcome.

    Opposition Labor Party leader C.Y. Lee told the chamber, “Integrity is one of the fundamentals of leadership”.  Next week, he said, pan-democrats would demand a special investigation into Leung’s "web of deceit" and his impeachment will then be pursued.

    “There are lots of things that need to be investigated.  People are very angered by his lack of integrity.  Apologizing is not enough.  We believe he should come clean and through the debate we can force out our concern, and force him to be accountable to the people,” Lee said.

    Public sentiment would appear to be swinging behind the pan-democrats, with the most recent opinion poll showing Leung’s popularity falling below 50 percent for the first time.  Leung supporters warn any effort to impeach the chief executive could spark a constitutional crisis in semi-autonomous Hong Kong.

    Cabinet member Jeffrey Lam adds that such a move appears disproportionate to the alleged crime.

    “It is difficult to keep everybody happy.  I think he has tried to answer most questions.  There were still some legislators who are not happy ... He has to deal with this.  Let us see the outcome after the debates,” Lam said.

    With the legislature of this former British colony weighted in favor of pro-Beijing interests, Leung is likely to avoid full impeachment.  But Ronny Tong sees the bigger picture.  

    "Effectively making an attempt to evade his responsibility and tell lies would probably qualify him as the first chief executive [capable of being] impeached in the history of Hong Kong ...  “This will raise attention not just in Hong Kong, but in the international community, and hopefully put pressure on C.Y. Leung to resign,” Tong said.

    Leung supporters argue the pan-democrats’ efforts against the chief executive only serve to incapacitate the Hong Kong government.  

    Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau had a message for the public. “We call on the Hong Kong people to march on January 1st to show their disgust and their demand for C.Y. Leung to step down immediately,” Lau said.

    Protest organizers are predicting more than 100,000 people will take to the streets, despite the prospect of political uncertainty extending into the New Year.

    You May Like

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    How Diversity Has Changed America

    Over the past four decades, the level of diversity in the United States has increased most in these four states

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.