Mystery surrounds Tsang's domineering spin wizard

Updated: 2017-04-13 07:08

By Lau Nai-keung(HK Edition)

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Lau Nai-keung wonders why Julian Law, a former journalist, stepped down into a lowly assistant position in the first place

After former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah failed to win the Chief Executive ticket, it is his campaign team's turn to make their pitch. Poor souls! These young men and women are now looking for work.

When the CE election was over, Tsang's team members were busy holding seminars and giving interviews allowing us a peek into the mechanics of the campaign. In fact, in the middle of his campaign, Tsang began promoting his team, asking Hong Kong citizens to place their trust on a team instead of a person. Looking back, this was the moment when he knew there was no chance that he could ever win this race, and the focus was quietly shifted to his team.

Is this Tsang's idea? Nobody knows for sure. But anybody who had closer contact with this CE candidate would never mistake who was really in charge of his campaign. It was Julian Law Wing-chung, the former political assistant of Tsang. He openly contradicted his boss in front of visitors, and dressed him down in private. During intervals in between debates, he read out scripts and soundbites for Tsang to remember and utter in the next round.

Mystery surrounds Tsang's domineering spin wizard

In the entire campaign Law was like a film director and Tsang an actor who could be pushed around. Changing the story line at half time could only have been Law's idea. The film director then became the leading actor in the movie and its theme was then switched to how Law and his gang saved the day.

During a television debate Carrie Lam-Cheng Yuet-ngor, now Chief Executive-elect, sarcastically praised Law and said she would love to have an assistant like him, hinting that Tsang was lazy and doing nothing. This episode was blown up by Law's friends.

For example Ben Kwok of ejinsight, the internet sibling of Hong Kong Economic Journal (HKEJ), wrote: "If there's one clear winner from last night's debate between the Chief Executive hopefuls, it's not any of the three contenders themselves but rather someone else. It's Julian Law Wing-chung, the relatively young personal assistant of John Tsang.

"Now, we all know that Law is a tremendous asset to Tsang and that his skills come in for praise from various quarters.

"But would you believe that he has been lauded by none other than the chief rival of his boss?"

Now you know who the real star of the show is, a little more background will make the picture crystal clear.

According to Wikipedia, Law was news editor of Ming Pao before joining HKEJ. Then he willingly took a salary cut to join the government as the political assistant of Tsang in 2012.

Law made no secret that he and his boss shared different political views. The reason behind such a strange move remains a mystery but there must be a higher mission than this low-paid humdrum job.

One thing we now know is that this lowly political assistant then became Tsang's de facto boss five years later. Is this a coincidence, or was it all written on a script more than five years ago? We don't have the answer right now, but in this information age, no secret can remain secret forever.

(HK Edition 04/13/2017 page7)