Some good crowd funding efforts by the popular candidate for Hong Kong’s leadership has delivered. John Tsang Chun-wah, the underdog for the post, raised more than HK$3 million (£0.31m) within 48 hours. This prompted his arch-rival and front runner, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to admit her lagging in social media campaigns. The former finance secretary has already received a donation of HK$3.37 million (£0.35 million) as of 10pm on Saturday. The donation comes from approximately 15,000 people ahead of the launch of his full election platform.
“[The money raised] is a very good amount,” Tsang said in a video on his Facebook page when it reached HK$2.6 million (£0.27 million).
“I’m very grateful to the public for support and donations. It doesn’t matter whether the amount is big or small.”
He added that he considered even HK$1 (£0.10) as “great support and encouragement”.
Former chief secretary Lam, seems to have more support than Tsang among members of the Election Committee that will pick the next chief executive in March. On Saturday, she met the city’s biggest pro-Beijing party.
Commenting on Tsang’s campaign, she conceded it was “better prepared” than hers.
“Their use of social media was more mature and better prepared … We will roll out details later on how people can donate towards my electioneering,” Lam said when asked about Tsang’s crowd funding success.
“What is most important is that any format [for raising funds] must be in line with Hong Kong’s election laws.”
Commenting on her comparatively lower, but increasing popularity, Lam said she would open her Facebook page “as soon as possible” to reach out to young people. She claimed support for her policy pledges from some members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.
Pro-establishment members who dominated the 1,200-strong Election Committee in 2012 were asked to switch their support to underdog Leung Chun-ying in that year’s election when Henry Tang Ying-yen had a tottering popularity because of the illegal basement scandal at his home. This led Leung to win the election by 689 votes.
Public support has been listed as the last of four criteria for a chief executive set out by Wang Guangya, head of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office. The other perquisites are to “love the country and Hong Kong”, show competence to govern, and to win Beijing’s trust.
After Saturday’s meeting with Lam, Starry Lee Wai-king, DAB chairwoman said, “We will assess all the candidates from a comprehensive perspective before deciding who to back”.