A fine line: Hong Kongers debate

A fine line: Hong Kongers debate

Candidates competing for Hong Kong’s top political position will face off in a two-hour televised debate on Tuesday. The three candidates

Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP

Candidates competing for Hong Kong’s top political position will face off in a two-hour televised debate on Tuesday. The three candidates appeared together for the first time on Sunday in a debate that featured questions from the audience but no direct sparring. Tuesday’s event is expected to be much livelier.

Former top administrator and pro-Beijing candidate Carrie Lam is by far the favourite to clinch the top job. She’s already secured 572 of the 601 Election Committee votes needed to be elected chief executive on March 26. Her challengers – John Tsang, the territory’s former finance minister, and Woo Kwok-hing, a former judge – stand little chance.

Whoever does assume the top post will have to strike a balance between appeasing local pro-democracy voices and managing the crucial mainland relationship. But Beijing’s slow-moving assault on Hong Kong’s cherished liberties has led some in the pro-democracy camp to call for independence – something the mainland cannot tolerate. Treading this fine line, all while managing a city of 7 million, is the challenge awaiting the next chief executive.