Chief Executive and bastion of Hong Kong's bow tie manufacturing industry Donald Tsang found himself in hot water this week after an RTHK radio interview (above) in which he cited China's Cultural Revolution as an extreme example of the consequences of 'people taking power into their own hands'.
The Cultural Revolution wrecked China's economy and education system, resulted in millions of citizens being victimised and persecuted and is thought to have resulted in half a million deaths. Wikipedia.
Tsang's comment was widely condemned.
"It’s outrageous. The Cultural Revolution was in fact mob rule and it showed a total failure of democracy," said Albert Ho, chairman of the Democratic party in Hong Kong.
"The damage to Tsang’s credibility is already done and people will doubt his commitment to democracy. His remark, made off-the-cuff, shows his genuine feelings towards democracy."
After a barrage of criticism, Tsang issued an apology but it remains to be seen how the incident will affect his not exactly solid standing as a politician and statesman.
"I am very sorry that I made an inappropriate remark concerning the Cultural Revolution… I wish to retract that remark," Tsang said in a short statement, adding that he shared the same aspirations as Hong Kong people in wanting to implement universal suffrage as soon as possible. "