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Hong Kong finally gets to 'vote' on Chief Exec Leung - with Facebook's new reactions emojis

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying speaks to the media at a press conference in Hong Kong on Jan 13, 2016. As at 8pm on Friday (Feb 26), the Chief Executive's latest post on Facebook had accumulated 36,000 "angry faces".
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying speaks to the media at a press conference in Hong Kong on Jan 13, 2016. As at 8pm on Friday (Feb 26), the Chief Executive's latest post on Facebook had accumulated 36,000 "angry faces". PHOTO: AFP

So Hong Kongers cannot vote for their leader.

And they had not been able to comment on Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying's Facebook page which had shrewdly deactivated the function, unless they were approved as "friends" and the remarks were positive.

But there is now a new outlet through which Hong Kongers can express their feelings, thanks to Facebook's new panel of reactions rolled out on Friday.

Besides the "like" emoji, it allows users to indicate other feelings: "love", "haha", "sad", "angry".

And Hong Kongers - at least those with Facebook accounts - left in no doubt how they feel about Mr Leung.

As at 8pm on Friday (Feb 26), five hours after the Chief Executive's latest post, it had accumulated 36,000 "angry faces".

This is in contrast to some 800 "likes". Another 200 "sad faces" were posted.

The post in question was about Mr Leung's attendance of a Chinese New Year banquet organised by the Employers' Federation of Hong Kong.

It is typical of the posts he had made on his account, which previously received scant attention.

But now netizens were raring to flood his Facebook page with anger. The post was shared repeatedly, with netizens glorying in their ability to vent their feelings.

Said one: "The sentiment of 34,000 overrides (that of) 689."

It is in reference to the 689 votes Mr Leung had received in 2012 when he was elected by a 1,200-strong Beijing-appointed committee to become chief executive.

Hong Kong was due to reform its electoral system in time for the next CE election next year. But this was vetoed by the legislative council last year, following the Occupy movement. Large swathes of Hong Kongers had decried the government-proposed reforms as undemocratic, as they would have allowed only candidates that Beijing approves to run for election.

By comparison, other senior government leaders in Hong Kong on Friday did not attract the same level of vitriol.

Financial Secretary John Tsang, riding high after a generally well-received Budget speech on Wednesday, saw no "angry faces" on his account - his post on an interview on the Budget has received 451 reactions, of which 30-plus are "love".