Hong Kong electoral overhaul: Beijing loyalist hopes to be voice for city’s young on powerful new Election Committee

Ng Kang-chung
·3-min read

Beijing loyalist Kenneth Fok Kai-kong has hailed a “new force” representing young Hongkongers on a reformed body that will wield significant power over major polls under an electoral overhaul, in remarks made on the first television talk show hosted by the city’s leader.

The 41-year-old businessman, who is a grandson of late tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung, was a guest on a Thursday episode of RTHK programme Get to Know the Election Committee Subsectors.

Fok is vice-chairman of the All-China Youth Federation, which, along with other designated national associations, will be allowed to elect a total of 110 representatives to the restructured 1,500-member Election Committee.

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“With the new force [of young patriots] under the new framework, we hope they can enhance communication with the legislature and the government in the future,” he said. “More importantly, we also hope to act as a bridge for Hong Kong’s young people to bring their voices to the Election Committee.”

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the first sitting Hong Kong leader to host a talk show, also urged Fok to help raise young people’s awareness of the development of the country.

Also appearing on the show was Sunny Chai Ngai-chiu, deputy chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries. The federation can vote for 17 members to the Election Committee.

In the episode, Chai also thanked the government for its support in pushing for a “re-industrialisation” policy in recent years, saying he was hopeful of a bright future for Hong Kong’s industrial development.

Lam’s programme debuted on Wednesday on RTHK TV31 channel. It has a total of 40 episodes, with two new ones aired each day. The Chinese-language series will run until May 17, according to the public broadcaster.

Carrie Lam heaps praise on Hong Kong electoral overhaul on debut TV talk show

Last month, Beijing endorsed an overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system to ensure only patriots governed the city. The amendments will reduce directly elected seats in the Legislative Council, and give new power to the Election Committee to vet and elect candidates to the legislature.

The Chief Executive’s Office said Lam’s television show was part of the government publicity drive to enhance public understanding of the reforms. It was produced by the Information Services Department. The episodes will also be uploaded to relevant government websites after they have been aired.

Veteran political consultant Peter Lam Yuk-wah said the subject matter was a bit “too dry and too complicated” for the average audience.

“They should have used more graphics to illustrate or insert clips of news,” he said. “It is a television show and television is a medium of visual communication. Perhaps for the first time, viewers are wishing there will be more commercials.”

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