‘Iron lady’ Ip runs for Hong Kong leader

HONG KONG: A former Hong Kong security chief who stepped down after mass protests and is loathed by the city’s pro-democracy camp said on Thursday she will run for leader, as opponents warn she would be a Beijing puppet.
The race for chief executive was thrown open when unpopular hardline leader Leung Chun-ying declared last week he would not seek reelection after a term marked by political crises and anti-Beijing protests.
Since then, Finance Secretary John Tsang, considered more moderate, has resigned from the government and is widely expected to declare his leadership bid. But he has been beaten to it by Regina Ip (pictured), who on Thursday announced her “Win Back Hong Kong” campaign.
Instrumental in the government’s failed 2003 attempt to push through a hugely unpopular anti-subversion law, Article 23, Ip is a divisive figure seen by opponents as a China-friendly hardliner like Leung.
She said on Thursday she still wants to implement the controversial legislation at the same time as striving for social harmony in Hong Kong.
The deputy of Ip’s New People’s Party, Louis Shih, said Ip would be the “iron lady” that Hong Kong needs as she announced her candidacy at the city’s harbour front convention centre.
Ip said she was willing to work with non-establishment parties “as long as they faithfully uphold national sovereignty, territorial integrity and the Basic Law (Hong Kong’s constitution)”.
Those remarks come as the government cracks down on lawmakers calling for independence or self-determination for semi-autonomous Hong Kong. — AFP