November 30, 2014

China policy in question after Taiwan polls landslide

POSTED: 30 Nov 2014 14:29

A general view of Taipei in Taiwan. (File photo: AFP/Mandy Cheng)

TAIPEI: Taiwan's warmer relations with China were called into question Sunday (Nov 30) after the island's Beijing-friendly ruling party suffered a massive defeat at local elections, sparking the resignation of premier Jiang Yi-huah.

The major rout came as the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party struggles to combat public fears over growing Chinese influence, as well as a slowing economy and a string of food scandals.

Seen as a key barometer ahead of presidential elections in 2016, the dramatic poll results may now force the KMT to re-examine its China policy - and encourage the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is traditionally Beijing-sceptic.

"The KMT are not likely to push the ties (with China) forward if they hope not to suffer another huge setback in the 2016 presidential race," Ding Shuh-fan, professor of National Chengchi University in Taipei, told AFP.

"At the same time China is also unlikely to make concessions and offer substantial economic benefits in talks" given the prospect of the DPP taking power in 2016, Ding added. "It would be hard for the cross-strait ties to move forward in the year ahead."

Beijing called for "continued efforts for peaceful cross-Strait relations" in the wake of the vote.

"We hope compatriots across the Strait will cherish hard-won fruits of cross-Strait relations, and jointly safeguard and continue to push forward peaceful development of cross-Strait relations," said Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, according to the official Xinhua news agency late Saturday.


Taiwan and China split in 1949 at the end of a civil war. Since KMT President Ma Ying-jeou came to power in 2008 on a China-friendly platform, previously frosty ties between Beijing and Taipei have warmed, leading to a tourist boom of Chinese visitors to Taiwan as well as trade links.

But there is public anxiety over the closer relationship. A proposed trade pact with the mainland sparked mass student-led protests and a three-week occupation of Taiwan's parliament earlier this year.

"We're really worried about Taiwan's relations with China. The Ma administration has been too reliant on China economically," said 32-year-old designer Tom Shen in Taipei Sunday. "Many people fear that Taiwan will have to do as Beijing orders in the future."

Two months of democracy rallies in Hong Kong could also have strengthened anti-Beijing sentiment, said Chang Wu-ueh, director of Tamkang University's Graduate Institute of China Studies in Taipei. "The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong may have indirectly affected voters' mood in Taiwan and deepened the negative perception of Beijing," he said.

While the Hong Kong protesters' main demand is free elections for their next leader, the unrest is also fuelled by the perceived cosy relationship between the government and tycoons.

But Taiwan's slowing economy will make it hard for any government to reject trade deals with China outright - and even non-KMT politicians are not ruling out trade negotiations with Beijing.

"Given the huge amount of trade and civil visits across the Strait, it would be unrealistic to halt immediately what is going on," admits Shen.

The KMT took 40.7 percent of the ballots cast in the local polls, while the DPP scooped 47.5 percent.

There were 11,130 seats up for grabs at all nine levels of local government, with 18 million eligible voters. Turnout was 67.5 percent.

The KMT's power went from control of four of the six major municipalities to just one, while its city and county seats were more than halved.

One of the KMT's most significant losses was its key stronghold in the capital Taipei - independent candidate Ko Wen-je won the battle for mayor, defeating KMT rival Sean Lien. Taiwan's United Daily News said Sunday that the poll defeat was a "no-confidence" vote in the Ma administration.

"Ma must swiftly reform the party and government, otherwise there won't be a future for the (KMT) party in Taiwan," it said. Ma must stand down at the next elections as he has completed two terms. 

- AFP/xq

Peter Gabriel, Pussy Riot rally for Hong Kong protesters

POSTED: 30 Nov 2014 04:58

British singer Peter Gabriel. (Photo: AFP/Odd Andersen)

NEW YORK: Musicians including Peter Gabriel and Pussy Riot are offering support to Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters in the form of photographic tributes.

In pictures that started being projected on an outdoor screen in Hong Kong's Admiralty District on Friday (Nov 28), the musicians each stand with umbrellas, a symbol of the two-month protests calling for free leadership elections in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

In one image, Peter Gabriel - the Genesis vocalist turned icon of world music - stands under an umbrella with the caption in English and Chinese, "Water gets everywhere - like the will of the people."

Another shot features a captionless picture of Pussy Riot wearing masks under umbrellas. Members of the all-female Russian punk band were arrested for staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's Orthodox cathedral.

New York-based human rights activists helped organise the campaign to show international backing for the protests.

"We want to show the faces of some of the people around the world who so admire what these young people are doing," said Hunter Heaney, founder of The Voice Project, which supports imprisoned artists and campaigned to free Pussy Riot.

"We wanted to show them that we still stand with them and to help counteract propaganda that they don't have support out there," he said in a statement.

Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee.

- AFP/ec

The Anticorruption Campaign and Rising Suicides in China’s Officialdom

Image Credit: REUTERS/Stringer

The Anticorruption Campaign and Rising Suicides in China’s Officialdom

Welcome to the concept of the “altruistic suicide.”

By Yanzhong Huang

November 29, 2014


On November 13, the deputy commissar of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, Vice Admiral Ma Faxing, committed suicide by leaping from a building at a naval complex in Beijing. In the same month, at least two other important officials took their lives. They were among the more than forty officials who have killed themselves since January 2014, more than double the total in all of 2011.

These numbers are small compared to the number of officials that killed themselves during the Cultural Revolution (estimated to be 100,000-200,000) or the total suicide deaths each year in China (estimated to be 287,000). Still, the rapid increase in instances of officials who commit suicide is occurring when the overall suicidal rate in China has seen a significant drop since the 1990s. A New York Times report found that the suicide rate among this segment of the population—6.9 per 100,000 officials—is 30 percent higher than the overall suicide rate in urban China.

What accounts for the spate of suicides by Chinese officials? Given the lack of transparency in China’s officialdom, it is difficult to pin down any specific cause. Most of the suicide deaths were officially attributed to depression or high pressure. This is in sharp contrast to the views of the general public and China scholars, who tend to connect the deaths to corruption scandals.

Depression or high pressure might be factors behind the deaths of many Chinese officials, but they cannot fully explain the increase in suicides by Chinese officials in recent years—as early as 2005, a survey of 200 middle-aged government officials found that nearly 50 percent of them were “mentally unhealthy.” Indeed, of the thirteen officials who killed themselves in 2014 and for whom official explanations of the cause of death were available, only five were said to have suffered from depression or high pressure, and at least six of them were associated with corruption-related investigations. An examination of the suicide cases clearly pinpoints the impact of the anticorruption campaign launched by the new leadership (which took over in November 2012). During the period 2011-12, a total of forty officials reportedly killed themselves. But since 2013, at least eighty-eight officials have done the same.

The officially publicized suicide cases also suggest the growing extent and intensity of the antigraft investigations under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Between 2003 and 2013, for example, there were no reports of high-ranking military officials who committed suicide. But in 2014, in the span of three months two senior naval officers (a vice admiral and a rear admiral) jumped to their deaths. In addition, between August 2003 and April 2014, around three officials at and above the bureau and prefectural level killed themselves annually. Since April 2014, however, there has been a rise in both the frequency and the rank of official committing suicide. Within two and half months, more than ten officials at and above the bureau and prefectural level killed themselves.

As the new leadership gears up its antigraft campaign, officials are facing greater pressure, especially those who are already under investigation. Still, why do these officials throw away their lives so easily? One explanation is that the campaign put undue pressure on officials who feel they have no choice but to kill themselves to escape their distress. In most cases open to the public, officials appear to kill themselves without experiencing apparent coercion and duress. Another possible explanation is that the growing pressure associated with the campaign exacerbates the depression of some officials, leading them to commit suicide. But again, a majority of officials in publicized cases did not suffer from depression before they killed themselves.

A more convincing explanation treats suicide as a means to escape seemingly inevitable punishment. On the one hand, the antigraft campaign, with its unprecedented intensity and breadth, sends a strong signal to venal officials that this time they can no longer expect to be let off the hook. In a political hierarchy where cadres can only be promoted but not be demoted, being caught and sentenced to jail (or even death) for corruption would mean not only public humiliation but also the forfeiture of all titles and illicit gains. On the other hand, under the existing law once the guilty party dies, prosecution is terminated and the party no longer bears legal responsibilities. This presents an institutional opportunity for the corrupt officials. If they commit suicide, not only would they retain their rank and reputation, but their illegal gains would not be confiscated. Furthermore, by taking his or her own life, the individual official sacrifices for the greater good of other members on the same corruption chain, and the latter usually would take care of the victim’s family members. This “altruistic suicide” (as proposed by sociologist Emile Durkheim) therefore has the potential to undermine China’s anticorruption efforts.

Yanzhong Huang is Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations. This post appears courtesy of and Forbes Asia.

November 29, 2014

Why China Still Needs Deng Xiaoping

Deng Xiaoping and Jimmy Carter during the Sino-American signing ceremony, January 31, 1979.

Image Credit: Carter White House Photographs Collection

Why China Still Needs Deng Xiaoping

Particularly in foreign policy, China should be careful not to abandon Deng’s productive approach.

By Yang Hengjun

November 19, 2014


There’s no doubt that China needs to develop and surpass “Deng Xiaoping Theory.” In truth, when it comes to reform of the political system, thought liberation, and even the economy, in the post-Deng era China has still basically been stuck on the thoughts put forward during Deng’s southern tour and his idea of a market economy. In over 20 years, China hasn’t really had any larger breakthroughs either in theory or in practice (although the recent drive to truly implement the “rule of law” could be considered the start of such a breakthrough). Though China as a whole hesitates on how to push forward with political reforms and thought liberation, when it comes to foreign policy and cross-strait relations there are some scholars in Beijing who have repeatedly tried to “keep up with the times” by “surpassing” Deng Xiaoping. There’s no problem with that. The question is how China will inherit and surpass the legacy of Deng Xiaoping: by moving forward or backward?

In the 1980s, Deng Xiaoping laid the foundation for friendly relations between China and Japan. During his 1978 visit to Japan, Deng advocated developing friendly relations between the two countries, always with an eye to the future. When it came to the Diaoyu Islands, Deng Xiaoping suggested shelving the dispute and leaving it to later generations since discussions over the matter would get nowhere. When China was badly in need of overseas capital and technology, Japan became one of the first few developed countries to invest in the mainland. Japan made a much larger contribution than other western countries to China’s early reform and opening up period. During Deng Xiaoping’s lifetime, the China-Japan relationship was relatively smooth.

What about China-U.S.relations? Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai tried to open the door to Sino-U.S. relations while they were still alive. After they passed away, none of the elder statesmen, let alone nominal leader Hua Guofeng, dared to get to close to the “American imperialists.” But Deng Xiaoping, who had studied in France for two years, decided to establish diplomatic ties with the United States less than two years after he came to power. He visited America as the deputy prime minister for a few days after the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the United States. Even though China and the U.S. have signed three joint communiques to govern their relationship, we have to remember that America also passed the “Taiwan Relations Act” in 1979. In accepting this situation, there’s no doubt that Beijing made a surprising concession. This sort of concession could only be made by a courageous leader like Deng Xiaoping.

So, why was Deng so eager to establish diplomatic ties with the United States? Li Shenzhi, then the vice president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, traveled with Deng to America. According to the records of the time, while they were both on the plane, Li asked Deng, “Why do we attach such great importance to our relationship with the United States?” Deng Xiaoping said, “Look back at the last several decades. All the countries that foster good relations with the U.S. become rich.” When we look back now, we cannot deny that this is almost a self-evident fact. The countries that take the lead in anti-American sentiments are almost all poor dictatorships. The problem is that people who are suffering or even starving to death will often jump at the chance to become “anti-American heroes.” Using anti-American sentiment to rally popular support is the last-ditch hope for dictators. So in my opinion, Deng’s determination to develop friendly relations with the United States at that time was not just a diplomatic task, but also an important breakthrough in thought liberation.

When Deng Xiaoping was in power, we had a relatively harmonious relationship with the United States, Japan, and Taiwan. Even when serious problems appeared, Deng would restore relationships by making concessions while always holding fast to China’s principles and bottom line. For example, Deng Xiaoping stopped the on-again, off-again 20-year bombardment of Taiwan’s Jinmen soon after he came into power and opened cross-strait talks.

China’s diplomacy faced a new situation after the events of June 1989. The emergence of a variety of serious problems in China’s relations with foreign countries after the mid-90s was, I think, caused by the lack of a leader like Deng Xiaoping: someone modest but confident in foreign exchanges, principled but flexible, neither humble nor overbearing. Among Chinese officials and analysts, you’re more likely to find people who are arrogant on the surface but self-abasing on the inside. It’s no wonder that there have been so many twists and turns in U.S.-China relations and cross-strait relations, including the deployment of two U.S. carrier groups to the Taiwan Strait in 1996. Often China’s officials encourage and plan anti-American movements while secretly sending their children to the United States.

Of course, the relationship between China and Japan is even stranger. If it is America’s love for “peaceful evolution” that causes the many twists and turns in China-U.S. relations, Japan should be no problem since it never mentions “human rights” and “democracy” in exchanges with China, right? But over the years, China and Japan have been involved in many quarrels. And, of course, these so-called “quarrels” mainly involve Chinese people calling each other “traitors” or young hot-heads smashing Japanese cars and sushi bars owned by their fellow Chinese or even busting the heads of their compatriots. We’ve quarreled so many times, and haven’t gotten a single stone of the Diaoyu Islands back.

Some say these “quarrels” are meant to shift people’s focus (especially for young people who more and more cannot see hope for their futures) by pointing out Japan’s faults. By giving Chinese hearts an enemy, it gives the people a ready-made object for venting all their feelings of dissatisfaction. If that’s really the case, then there’s nothing I can say. But there are a group of scholars and thinkers who argue differently. They believe that Deng Xiaoping is out of date and that it is time to change Deng’s “weak” foreign policies. Their reason is quite simple: this is no longer the past, and China has grown strong.

It’s the perfect image of an upstart! Every time they speak, they arrogantly flaunt their wealth. It is no wonder that their “foreign policy”causes fear and hatred in China’s neighbors. They don’t know what serious reflection means. Some hypocritical scholars have even embraced the Western imperialist idea that a strong country doesn’t need diplomacy. But when a massive empire shouts that it doesn’t need to practice diplomacy, a hundred smaller countries – whose combined strength is greater than ours – will label China as a future villain. How can these scholars not know this?

Some people have an exaggerated opinion of their abilities and attempt to change the path of peaceful development put forward by Deng Xiaoping. They have made enemies everywhere. They take it for granted that China chose the path of peaceful development as a temporary expedient, because the country wasn’t strong enough to do otherwise. Of course, these people will begin to understand reality after they run into enough walls in the international community. What I fear most is that these “upstarts” and their “confidence” will turn against fellow Chinese, including those in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Recently a long-time researcher on Hong Kong who now advises China’s leaders tried to sway me to his side. He argued that when Deng Xiaoping put forward the principle “one country, two systems”, with Hong Kong “remaining unchanged for 50 years,” and when the central government adopted the idea of “Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy,” Hong Kong’s per capita income was nearly 20 times higher than on the mainland. Hong Kong also had a variety of management experience which could not be found in the mainland. But things are different now, he said: China is now much wealthier, the world’s second biggest economy, and also has more experience governing and managing the country. Many Chinese cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Chongqing are now internationalized and are just as good as Hong Kong. We don’t need Hong Kong anymore, he argued. He implied that the people of Hong Kong cannot govern themselves, so they should invite the heroes who successfully created the “China model” to govern Hong Kong before the situation becomes worse.

Seeing him talk on and on, I felt especially uncomfortable because I saw in him the face of an upstart who thinks of himself as number two in the world. I hardly need to mention that Deng Xiaoping did not put forward the “one country, two systems” policy for the reasons he listed. If China really wanted to take Hong Kong back under a policy of “one country, one system,” Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai could have done it themselves without help from Deng Xiaoping. Why would anyone need this scholar’s help? Besides, in the cities he mentioned, from Beijing to Guangzhou, we’ve seen major scandals involving officials like Chen XitongChen LiangyuXu ZonghengBo Xilai andWan Qingliang. Is this what you call “good governance”?

Deng Xiaoping’s theories of domestic management and foreign affairs need to be inherited and developed, and even more they need to be surpassed by new theories. But some people simply can’t see global trends and the future of China. If they ignore Comrade Deng’s strategies for creating order from chaos, China will move from radicalism to conservatism. This isn’t moving forward, it’s moving backward. Some people become restless when they see that China has the world’s number two economy and an aircraft carrier. They can’t bear to be patient but want to follow in the footsteps of the Soviet Union in the Cold War and Germany before World War II. That is the path to self-destruction!

This piece originally appeared in Chinese on Yang Hengjun’s blog. The original post can be found here.

Yang Hengjun is a Chinese independent scholar, novelist, and blogger. He once worked in the Chinese Foreign Ministry and as a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC. Yang received his Ph.D. from the University of Technology, Sydney in Australia. His Chinese language blog is featured on major Chinese current affairs and international relations portals and his pieces receive millions of hits. Yang’s blog can be accessed at

Joshua Wong Profile: Hong Kong Protest Movement’s Unlikely Teen Leader

By Kelvin Chan | November 28, 2014

Last Updated: November 28, 2014 6:46 pm

Prominent Hong Kong student protest leader Joshua Wong talks to reporters outside a court in Hong Kong Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014. Wong and other democracy protesters were arrested during a police operation to remove barricades from a protest camp in the unruly Mong Kok district. Wong was given bail and his case adjourned until January 14. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

HONG KONG—At age 14, he stepped into the spotlight to take on — and ultimately help defeat — Hong Kong authorities’ plans to launch a “national education” curriculum, calling it a ploy to brainwash the city’s youth with unquestioned support for the Chinese Communist Party.

Now, at 18, Joshua Wong is helping spearhead a mostly student-led protest movement that is pressing for greater democratic reforms in the semiautonomous Chinese territory.

Slender and serious, with a shock of shaggy black hair, Wong does not cut an imposing figure. He usually wears black eyeglasses and is often seen hunched over his smartphone — a key tool used by the young protesters to get their message out via social media and group chats.

Yet he carries himself with a maturity found in few teenagers and speaks concisely and with conviction while addressing crowds, microphone in hand. He is admired among supporters for being willing to speak up — and doing so articulately — at such a young age.

“He’s outstanding in leading the mass movement,” said Terry Ng, an insurance agent in his 30s who has joined some protests.

Wong has a power to inspire and get people to think critically about government policy, said Angel Chow, an 18-year-old high school student.

“He’s very young and he can lead a large amount of people to have a protest to the government,” she said. “It is not an easy job, I think.”

Wong has plenty of detractors. He has been attacked by pro-Beijing media in the city, including an article in the Wen Wei Po newspaper accusing him of working for the CIA.

This week, he and his lawyer were pelted with eggs by two men after he was arrested for a second time since the street protests began two months ago.

Wong, Lester Shum, another popular student leader, and about 150 others were detained Wednesday when police cleared out a protest site in the gritty Mong Kok neighborhood where demonstrators had often clashed with police, as well as angry residents. A Hong Kong court on Thursday banned him from going to that area. After paying HK$500 ($65) in bail, he was released and his obstruction case was adjourned until Jan. 14.

On leaving court, Wong showed journalists small cuts and bruises on his neck that he said came from police hitting him. He also said “they injured me six or seven times in my private parts.”

The arrests of Wong and Shum appear to reflect Hong Kong authorities’ attempts to sideline leaders of the movement amid increasing impatience from Beijing to shut down the protests that started in late September. Students and others have taken to the streets to oppose the Chinese central government’s decision that a pro-Beijing committee must approve all candidates running in the territory’s first direct election for leader, scheduled for 2017.

Wong played a key role in kick-starting those demonstrations when at a rally outside the government headquarters he spontaneously called on the crowd to storm a courtyard dubbed Civic Square. More than 100 people scaled a tall fence or pushed past a gate. Wong, Shum and other student leaders were arrested.

Public anger at the pair being held nearly the 48-hour legal limit without charge drove more people into the streets, where police responded by firing tear gas. That in turn boosted the protests that have come to be called the “Umbrella Movement,” a reference to the umbrellas demonstrators used as shields against pepper spray.

As the weeks have dragged on, the numbers of protesters camped out in the streets has dwindled, though barricades and tents remain in place at two other street encampments. The government held televised talks with student leaders — though Wong didn’t participate — but offered little in the way of concessions and has made little attempt to respond to demands.

Wong was raised a Christian in a middle-class family that nurtured his concern for social issues, with his father reportedly taking him on visits to the city’s less fortunate starting at the age of 6 or 7.

He graduated from a private Christian high school and this fall began going to the Open University of Hong Kong, having failed to get into the city’s more prestigious institutions because of mediocre college entrance exam results.

Wong first gained notoriety when in 2011 he started a group with some student friends called Scholarism to oppose the Hong Kong government’s plan to introduce Beijing-style “moral and national education” curriculum into the territory’s schools. Many residents viewed the move as an attempt to indoctrinate young people and inculcate support for the Communist government. After weeks of protests, authorities scrapped the plan.

Wong steadfastly believes it falls to the students to take the lead in pushing for change in Hong Kong, where the younger generation has become increasingly worried about its future because of widening inequality and the growing influence of mainland China on the former British colony.

“In different countries, in different generations it’s the same thing: students are always the ones who stand in the front line in democracy movements,” he told the AP in July. “Students have less pressure on their future, job or family. … They can stand more at the front compared to others.”

It remains to be seen what kind of impact Wong’s second arrest will have on the protesters, who find themselves cornered and exhausted and losing public support.

In a recording made before police cleared the Mong Kok protest area, Wong called for perseverance.

“The aim of the movement is to fight for results, not for an exit plan,” he said. “Even if I’m detained I hope everybody else will persist because we have no room to lose.”

Being Like Water: After Clashes With Hong Kong Police, Occupy Protesters Go Mobile

By Larry OngEpoch Times | November 28, 2014

Last Updated: November 28, 2014 10:28 pm

Pro-democracy activists run away from police into a McDonalds store on a street in Mong Kok on November 29, 2014 in Hong Kong. Clashes between police and pro-democracy activists have continued in the Mong Kok district since Hong Kong police cleared the Mong Kok pro-democracy protest site at Nathan road on November 26. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The Occupy movement literally took off in a new direction on Saturday morning Hong Kong time.

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters initially showed up on Sai Yeung Choi Street in Mong Kok Friday evening to carry on what they are calling the “Shopping Revolution.”

Protesters stood on sidewalks and claimed they are taking Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s advice to shop in Mong Kok. Leung claimed at a press conference that businesses suffered during the nearly two-month long occupation, and encouraged shoppers to return and shop after the protest sites were cleared.

The youthful crowd repeatedly chanted “Gau Wu,” or “shopping,” in the Chinese Mandarin dialect and “I want true universal suffrage.” Protesters also gave the three-finger “Hunger Games” salute, and an unruly few threw insults at the police.  

#UmbrellaMovement Gau Wu, Shopping

— Henry Ng (@henrypng) November 28, 2014

Close to midnight, police organized a baton-charge at the crowd, hitting protesters with riot shields and pepper spray. Police also made 28 arrests, according to RTHK. Protesters retaliated by throwing water bottles and eggs.

“Is there a need to really use so much force to beat us,” said Wong Ching-san, a young protester clad in a black jacket and flip flops, to Reuters. “We’re not trying to cause violence, but when they attack us we fight back.”

Leung Yiu-chung, a pro-democracy lawmaker, told Reuters that police were “deliberately inciting people,” and he was furious at the violence and lack of restraint by the officers on duty.  

Fluid Like Water

Gradually, protesters started to fan out from Sai Yeung Choi Street and moved to Fa Yuen, Nelson, Soy, and Argyle streets, as well as Nathan Road. Police closely followed the protesters. After spending some time in those streets and drawing some police attention, protesters would quickly disperse and regroup in another spot.

Immediately after the police arrive in large numbers, the crowd just disperses and wanders off to another location/intersection again.

— ant (@antd) November 28, 2014

Protesters told some independent reporters on the ground that they were heeding famous martial artist and actor Bruce Lee’s words to “be like water.”

Protester quotes Bruce Lee – “Be water” – to describe current action.

— Benjamin (@Garvey_B) November 28, 2014

At about 2:45 a.m. local time, protesters returned to Argyle Street, a former occupied site. Police put on riot gear, and warned the protesters that they would charge.

At this point, protesters abruptly turned and walked away, telling the police that they were heeding police advice to go to Tsim Sha Tsui “to shop.”

So I guess people are heading to Tsim Sha Tsui. About 1000. #OccupyHK

— Ellie Ng (@elliepng) November 28, 2014

For the next three hours, high-spirited protesters led the police on a merry game of cat-and-mouse between Tsim Sha Tsui, a tourist spot with many luxury goods stalls at the southern tip of Kowloon Peninsula, and Mong Kok.

Live: Crowd is marching towards TST on Nathan Rd. Police are running ahead of the crowd.

— James Bang (@PRHacks) November 28, 2014

Countless times throughout the night, protesters deliberately and successfully misdirected both the police and the press. In one instance, protesters pretended that they were heading to Tsim Sha Tsui, see police vehicles drive in that direction, then quickly head back to Mong Kok. After police cars made a U-turn, protesters carried on for a bit, then suddenly turned and walked towards Tsim Sha Tsui again.

Marchers to TST cheer to others on both sides of road in Yau Ma Tei#occupyhk

— Kris Cheng (@krislc) November 28, 2014

The crowd is now chanting “Mongkok, Mongkok” and heading back north. It’s hilarious. #umbrellarevolution #o

— Hong Kong Hermit (@breakandattack) November 28, 2014

Upon arriving in Tsim Sha Tsui at about 4:45 a.m. local time, protesters made their way to the harbor, and briefly cheered in the direction of the Admiralty protest site.  

4:45am crowd arrived at TST

— Ellie Ng (@elliepng) November 28, 2014

Some protesters later entered the MTR, Hong Kong’s subway, and police followed. In the subway, a group of protesters carried out the same misdirection tactic, first boarding a train headed for Admiralty, then getting off at the next stop and switching to a Mong Kok bound train. Once in Mong Kok, the protesters did a quick tour of the ground, then left for home.

Police officers follow protesters into MTR now.

— Abdulkadir Alkan 哈康 (@ChinAnalyst) November 28, 2014

flags in MTR omg

— Kris Cheng (@krislc) November 28, 2014

they feel they won #occupyhk

— Kris Cheng (@krislc) November 28, 2014

Saturday morning marks the first time since the Occupy protests began on Sept. 28 that pro-democracy demonstrators have tried a new tactic. Previously, protesters simply stayed at protest sites and held their ground against police charges.

While innovative, the “fluid protests” are also a sign of desperate times for the Mong Kok demonstrators, who very recently lost their protest site. Police, enforcing court injunctions against the protesters by private mini-bus and taxi companies, swept Argyle Street and Nathan Road on Nov. 24 and Nov. 25.

It is unclear if the morning’s action was a planned move, or quick thinking on the part of the protesters.

Police accused of indiscriminate use of ‘unlawful assembly’

The Hong Kong police have been accused of high-handedness in making arrests during the street clearance operation in Mong Kok this week. Photo: AFP

HomeHong KongLocal

Police accused of indiscriminate use of ‘unlawful assembly’

The police have come under fire for making unnecessary arrests in Mong Kok in the past two days using the pretext of “unlawful assembly”, Apple Daily reported Friday.

Some citizens have complained that they were arrested for no reason. They said they were not involved in the Occupy protests, but were still detained as they just happened to be in the area, either taking a walk or doing some shopping or trying to buy some food.

Barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung said an offence of illegal assembly would only stand if there three or more people gather and prepare to take actions that would disrupt social order.

Luk said people should retain receipts of purchases, which could serve as useful evidence to prove their innocence, if the cases go to court.

According to section 18 of the Public Order Ordinance, it is an unlawful assembly when three or more persons, assembled together, conduct themselves in a disorderly manner and cause anyone to fear that the persons will commit a breach of the peace, or will by such conduct provoke other persons to disturb the civic order. Anyone found guilty could be liable to imprisonment for up to five years.

Luk said if a person yells on a street, it is at most a charge of improper behavior in a public place, rather than constituting an unlawful assembly. However, if the person wears the same type of clothing, such as wearing a mask, helmet, or holds an umbrella, with other people nearby, they could be seen as acting for a common purpose, even though they do not know each other in person.

Luk said citizens should retain receipts of cinema tickets, shopping or meals purchases, or short messages for appointments, to prove that they went to a location for a purpose.

Law Yuk-kai, director of Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, said police officers might have abused their rights by making arrests in Mong Kok the last two days.

As long as people are not acting illegally, they have the right to watch the police carry out their operations. The police cannot arrest people assuming that they are guilty, nor can the police stop people from returning home or visiting shops, he said.

– Contact us at


November 28, 2014

Police hostile to media workers during clearance, HKJA says

HKJA chairwoman Sham Yee-lan (R) says police have been hostile to media workers, but former police officer David Ng Ka-sing said police treat media as partners. Photo: HKEJ

HomeHong KongLocal

Police hostile to media workers during clearance, HKJA says

The Hong Kong Journalists Association has condemned the harsh action taken by some police officers against journalists covering the police clearance of the Occupy protest site in Mong Kok, RTHK reported.

“Some police officers have a grudge against journalists,” said HKJA chairwoman Sham Yee-lan.

She said at least 25 journalists had experienced violence during the Occupy campaign so far from police and people who were against the protesters.

“As a journalist, we have to monitor police clearance operations at the scene to safeguard the public’s right to know,” Sham said.

Wong Chun-lung, an Apple Daily photographer, was arrested by police while reporting on the clearing operation in Mongkok. He has been accused of assaulting a police officer.

A Now TV engineer was also arrested for allegedly attacking an officer but was subsequently released without being charged.

David Ng Ka-sing, a former assistant commissioner of police (crime), said police and journalists are “partners” rather than “enemies”.

“The two arrests are just isolated cases under extremely chaotic circumstances,” he said.

Front-line officers are under great pressure after having worked long hours over an extended period, which may have led to clashes with citizens over the last few nights in Mong Kok.

Police have been urged to stay “tolerant and restrained” while performing their duty, the RTHK report said, citing an unnamed senior police officer.

It said eight psychological experts will be deployed at the scene of such operations to help officers where necessary.

“We did not target any journalist and have no intention to suppress press freedom,” senior police officers told RTHK.

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Causeway Bay seen next target for street clearance

Causeway Bay camp could be the next target of Hong Kong police in their clearance action against Occupy groups. Photo: SocRec

HomeHong KongLocal

Causeway Bay seen next target for street clearance

Hong Kong police will target the Causeway Bay protest site in the next round of clearance operations on Occupy protesters, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday, citing sources.

Police will launch the action in Causeway Bay once the situation in Mong Kok stabilizes, the report said. 

After opening Argyle Street to vehicular traffic on Tuesday, police dismantled barricades and tents along Nathan Raod in Mong Kok the next day.

To tighten control on Mong Kok district, around 4,000 policemen will be deployed in the area next week. They will seek to foil any attempt by protestors to take back the streets in guerrilla actions, the report said.

Community halls, Hua Chiao Commercial Centre, Shanghai Street and Reclamation Street are among the areas under patrol.

Authorities expect the situation in Mong Kok to stabilize in four or five days, after which the police will clear out barricades in Causeway Bay, the report said.

Meanwhile, some clearance operations in Admiralty district may also resume after an injunction sought by bus company Kwoon Chung Motors Co. Ltd. is approved. It is also possible that the police could apply the public security regulations to initiate clearance on their own, according to the report.

Authorities aim to complete all the clearance operations before Christmas holidays, sources were quoted as saying.

– Contact us at


Pro-Beijing columnist calls for national education in schools

Ng Hong-mun (inset) says the government was wrong to back down on national education despite protests in 2012. The banner says 'Against "brainwashing" education'. Photos: HKEJ

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Pro-Beijing columnist calls for national education in schools

Ng Hong-Mun, a former Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress, has called for the revival of plans to introduce national education to schools, am730 reported Friday.

He said the subject could be an effective way to enhance the knowledge of students about their country and its history.

The Ming Pao Daily columnist said the outbreak of the Occupy movement stemmed from young people’s discontentment with reality and the establishment.

Ng said the continued protests would only make people tired of the political debate and increased the chances of the Legislative Council passing the government-proposed political reform bill.

He described the Occupy protests as riots and doubted that they would end after two days of clearing operations by the police in Mong Kok.

“They could come back any time with any excuse,” Ng said.

The protesters’ requests were too varied, he said.

“One moment, they wanted the National People’s Congress ruling on August 31 to be withdrawn, and then they wanted Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to be removed from office the next,” Ng said.

He said the debates over political reform were only an excuse for the younger generation to unleash their frustrations about not being able to buy a flat, the widening wealth gap and their inability to land a good job with reasonable pay.

Ng said the hearts of the Hong Kong people have not been won 17 years after the change of sovereignty.

“The anti-China sentiments do not help,” he said.

Ng said long-term education is the key and disagreed with the government for backing down under public pressure in 2012 from its proposal to introduce national education.

He also criticized the removal of Chinese history from the list of compulsory subjects.

Meanwhile, Ng said Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing is interested in running in the 2017 election for chief executive, but Ng admitted Tsang’s pro-Communist Party background could hurt his chances.

– Contact us at


Why police officers are behaving like gangsters

Several officers, some in plainclothes, wrestle a man to the ground. Photo: AFP

HomeHong KongLocal

Why police officers are behaving like gangsters

Hong Kong’s police force used to be regarded as a respected pillar of society, the people who could be relied on to maintain law and order, who made our city safe and the envy of many metropolises.

It’s an image that was shattered overnight. Suddenly, according to critics, Hong Kong’s Finest has turned into a bunch of dreadful ogres, beating up innocent bystanders who happen to pass by the street where they are conducting clearing operations.

What has happened to our trusted men in uniform? Why have they suddenly lost their decorum and discipline?

Many small shopkeepers and taxi drivers must have cheered as police dismantled the barricades and tents in the Mong Kok protest zone earlier this week. The public started looking forward to normal business as vehicular traffic returned to the occupied streets.

But then things turned ugly. Why did the officers use excessive force in dealing with the unarmed protesters?

Sure, they must have grown tired of playing cat-and-mouse games with the activists who abandoned the protest sites only to return after a few hours. Their patience may have been frayed by two months of being on the receiving end of complaints about abusive behavior and misconduct. 

But why beat up and arrest innocent pedestrians and working journalists who were there for reasons other than to take part in the pro-democracy protest?

The frontline officers appeared to have lost control of their emotions — and their sense of balance.

But ultimately, the blame rests on the government that believes court orders and police action could resolve what is basically a political issue.

The chaos in Mong Kok also highlights the inadequacy of the police force on the tactical aspects of dealing with the civil disobedience campaign. 

The officers underwent months of training and preparations on how to confront activists in the streets — the deployment of troops, the most effective formations, ways to overcome resisting offenders, how to use devices such as pepper spray and tear gas. But on the ground, all these lessons proved to be lacking.

When instructed by their superiors to prevent activists from retaking the streets that have been cleared, these same officers are at a loss on how to carry out such an order. Who among the thousands of people walking in front of them are just ordinary shoppers and pedestrians and who are the protesters bent on re-occupying the streets?

And so the police officers had to play it by ear: those who refuse to immediately move forward or backward when told are activists, those who stray outside the sidewalk are activists, those who shout back at them are activists, those who give them mean looks are activists, and so forth.

All the indiscriminate arrests, haphazard actions and use of excessive force resulted from the fact that the officers had been instructed not to allow the activists to retake the streets, but they simply did not know how to do the job.

They are allowed to arrest anyone who looks suspicious, and haul them to the police stations. It doesn’t matter if the suspect has a press ID hanging prominently from his neck or is carrying a bunch of shopping bags. The discernment is done later. 

That explains why a man who was just standing on the road to see what the commotion was all about got hit by a police baton in the head. That explains why someone who lives nearby ended up getting arrested. 

That could also explain why police arrested Joshua Wong of Scholarism and Lester Shum of Hong Kong Federation of Students on Wednesday morning, even if the arresting officers could not give a reason why they were hauling away the two student leaders.

As an on-site camera recording showed, the manner of their arrest was violent and haphazard. They were both hit in the head, and Wong lost his eyeglasses and shoes in the process. Officers also frisked Wong six or seven times, prompting the young activist to wonder if it was part of the policeman’s duty to check his scrotum.

On Thursday night, police arrested an Apple Daily photographer in Mong Kok, accusing him of assaulting officers with his camera. However, video footages showed that it was the police officers who surrounded him and hit him in the head with a baton. The same thing happened with a NowTV engineer who was arrested for allegedly attacking the police with a camera ladder. Both were released hours later.

In the absence of adequate training on the rules of engagement, the policy appears to be to arrest first and ask questions later.

It used to be that police officers knew right away the journalists covering mass actions and how to distinguish them from the protesters. But since the police force started getting bad press for the way they deal with the Occupy activists, they no longer seem to bother to make that distinction.

It’s as clear as day that police officers assigned to deal with the Occupy campaign are not adequately prepared to handle the task.

In early October, police were accused of tapping triad members to clear the Mong Kok protest site. No wonder, some observers say, they are starting to behave like gangsters.

– Contact us at


A police officer shouts at the crowd, asking them to shut up. Anyone who talks back or steps closer will be arrested, he says. Photo: EJ Insight

A man, who accidentally used a flash while taking a picture of the commotion, is arrested and brought to a dark corner. Police officers also stopped media from getting closer. Photo: EJ Insight

Most of those arrested suffered injuries in the head, face and ear as they were pinned to the ground. Photo: AFP

Some police officers become a bit emotional, brandishing their batons and shouting at protesters and media people. Photo: AFP

A police officer tries to disperse the crowd with a baton. Photo: AFP

Police commander steps down over Mong Kok baton video

Franklin Chu (inset), seen using his baton on a passerby, who later spoke about the incident on a radio program (right), was involved in a controversial case 12 years ago. Photos: Now TV, DBC, Ming Pao

HomeHong KongLocal

Police commander steps down over Mong Kok baton video

A police commander is stepping down and will be investigated after a widely circulated video showed him hitting people with a baton during a police operation to clear a protest site in Mong Kok, Apple Daily reported Friday.

Shatin District Commander Franklin Chu told colleagues in an internal message that he will be the subject of an investigation by the Complaints Against Police Officeafter after being identified by netizens from the popular hkgolden website.

Chu was accused of using a police baton against civilians who were peacefully obeying police instructions while walking outside a building at the junction of Argyle Street and Nathan Road junction Wednesday night.

“The video that you watched is actually one of many occasions last night when we had to resort to the use of public order control tactics, including batons, to disperse a crowd of a hundred-plus trouble-seekers from reoccupying Argyle Street,” the report quoted him as saying in his message.

“The video clip being circulated has actually been cut in such a way as to take it out of context.

“Given the anticipated pressure from the media and politicians, I shall relinquish the command of my Tier II [Company] and retire as scheduled this Christmas.”

Chu ended on a wistful note: “I’m proud of being a police officer, though the end result may not be as glorious as I might have expected.” 

The newspaper said Chu had handcuffed a cameraman in a police clearance operation in Chater Park in 2002, when he was an assistant commander in Central district.

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Three-week jail term for John Tsang's egg thrower

Three-week jail term for John Tsang's egg thrower
videoDerek Chan, Secretary-General, League of Social Democrats
A pro-democracy activist - who threw an egg at the Financial Secretary, John Tsang, in December last year -- has been given a three-week jail term.But Derek Chan had his bail extended after his lawyer informed the court that he will appeal.

In passing sentence, Magistrate So Wai-tak said the accused had shown no remorse - as he had insisted he had done nothing wrong and he did not agree to a Community Service Order.

Mr Chan, who's the Secretary-General of the League of Social Democrats, was found guilty of common assault two weeks ago.

The offence took place when Mr Tsang and the Chief Executive, CY Leung, were attending a community forum in North Point.

LegCo round-up November 21st to 27th

by calvin
harbourtimes.comToday, 14:53
November 21st Friday

Continuation of Council meeting
1. Debate continued on Cyd Ho’s (GC- HK Island, Labour Party) motion to appoint a select committee and use the LegCo’s power to investigate whether CY Leung has contravened Article 47 of the Basic Law which stipulates that the CE must be a person of integrity, dedicated to his or her duties. The investigation will also look at whether CY has accurately declared his holding of shares in DTZ Japan to the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal when he assumed office and other cases of alleged conflict of interest, such as the free television programme service licence regarding Hong Kong Television Network Limited. Motion was voted down in the FC with 4 to 21 while in GC, there were 16 for and 12 against the motion.

2. Ronny Tong (GC- NT East, Civic Party) moved a motion to urge “the Government to expeditiously put forward a practical and feasible constitutional reform package.” Emily Lau (GC- NT East, DP) will amend Tong’s motion by defining the ‘reform package’ to be complied with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to ensure  the CE election will be competitive and free of political screening. She also urged the Government to abolish all functional constituency seats in LegCo no later than 2020. Debate underway.

Meeting of House Committee
No Bill Committee or Subcommittee was formed. Chairman Andrew Leung (FC- Industrial 1st, BPA) will reflect to Chief Secretary Carrie Lam of the demands of Kwok Ka-ki (GC- NT West, Civic Party) to follow up on the Public Sentiments Report which the Government has promised to submit to the Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office and also to urge CY Leung to attend the Q&A session in LegCo.

Meeting of Finance Committee
Filibustering continued on the landfill funding proposals and the construction of an incinerator. Albert Chan’s (GC- NT West, People Power) motion to adjourn the discussion was voted down. Chan said he was informed by environmental experts that the construction cost of the incinerator is far  more expensive than similar projects in China. Chairman Tommy Cheung (FC- Catering, Liberal Party) announced that he will cut the filibuster in next meeting by only allowing 4 to 5 more members to raise questions and will proceed to the voting of amendments. Fernando Cheung and Gary Fan (GC- NT East, Neo Democrats) protested against Tommy Cheung’s decision and Fan was kicked out of the meeting.

November 24th Monday

Meeting of Subcommittee on Matters Relating to Railways
Progress update of the construction of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, West Island Line, South Island Line (East), Kwun Tong Line Extension and Shatin to Central Link. Members criticised the Government for not consulting the public properly about preserving the archaeology finds along the Shatin to Central Link. Claudia Mo (GC- Kowloon West, Civic Party) and Gary Fan also asked if the Government was being conservative in historic preservation while spending billions on infrastructure. Regarding the construction of Shatin to Central Link, it is expected to exceed the planned budget for $3.1 billion. The Government said that it will pay the additional cost if MTR is found to have not been responsible the delay of construction.

Meeting of Panel on Economic Development

Discussion on the subsidiary legislation proposals and draft guidelines under the Competition Ordinance. Chairperson of Competition Commission and ExCo member Anna Wu assured members that there will be a system to avoid exploitation of the new competition laws, such as an internal investigation prior to an official investigation to every case.

Meeting of Joint Subcommittee to Monitor the Implementation of the West Kowloon Cultural District Project

1. Christopher Chung (GC- HK Island, DAB) was re-elected as Chairman with a narrow win of 1 vote over Alan Leong (GC- Kowloon East, Civic Party). Leong became the Deputy Chairman.  

2. Update on the progress of the West Kowloon Cultural District development. Construction projects in WKCD have begun and some will begin soon. However, the Government urged members to stop filibustering in the Public Works Subcommittee and Finance Committee as it will delay the construction of projects like the M+ museum and increase the cost.

3. Proposed extension of a Principal Government Engineer post and a Administrative Officer relating to the West Kowloon Cultural District project. Discussion will continue in the Establishment Subcommittee in the future.

Meeting of Panel on Environmental Affairs
1. Environmental Impact Assessment for the Three-Runway System Project. Kenneth Chan (GC- HK Island, Civic Party) worried if the Government is destroying the habitat of dolphins before conserving the marine life and urged  the Environmental Protection Department to retract EIA approval to the Airport Authority.

2. Further enhancing quality of coastal waters of Victoria Harbour. The field surveys, investigations and research will cost  $89.6m.

3. Emergency sewage bypass incident at Pillar Point Sewage Treatment Works on 25 August 2014. Follow up actions include deducting the monthly payments to the contractor
for the operation if it fails to meet the performance indicators.

Meeting of Bills Committee on Insurance Companies (Amendment) Bill 2014
The Bill will establish an independent Insurance Authority to license insurance intermediaries. The power of investigation, prosecution and ruling will all concentrate on the Authority. Discussion underway.

Meeting of Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services
1. Proposed Arbitration (Amendment) Bill 2015. The Bill will remove some legal uncertainties relating to the opt-in mechanism provided for domestic arbitration and will update the Arbitration Ordinance with the New York Convention.

2. Draft Live Television Link (Witnesses outside Hong Kong) Rules and Draft Rules of the High Court (Amendment) Rules. The rules will empower the court to permit a person, who is not the defendant, to give evidence in criminal proceedings in a Hong Kong court by way of a live television link outside Hong Kong, and allow the drawing up, certification and transmission of minutes upon conclusion of an examination of a witness in Hong Kong by way of a live television link.

3. 2014-2015 Judicial Service Pay Adjustment. CE and ExCo decided on 23rd September 2014 that the pay for judges and judicial officers for 2014-15 should be increased by 6.77% with effect from 1st April 2014. Law Society President Stephen Hung supported the raise and said the judges will not usually voice out to improve their own welfare.

Meeting of Bills Committee on Land (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Bill 2014
The Bill is to increase the penalties for unlawful occupation of unleased land. Scrutiny of the Bill is done and the Bill will resume 2nd reading in the Council soon.

November 25th Tuesday  

Meeting of Bills Committee on District Cooling Services Bill
First Meeting. Lo Wai-kwok (FC- Engineering, BPA) was elected to be the Chairman. Members were supportive of the implementation of the District Cooling Services (DCS) at  Kai Tak Development. Some of them expressed concern that building owners or their authorised agents might set the air-conditioning charges of their buildings well above the DCS charges collected by the Administration and make a profit out of the district cooling services.

Meeting of Panel on Transport
1. Latest progress of the “Universal Accessibility” Programme. Tang Ka-piu (FC- Labour, FTU) asked whether the administration will build facilities of the “Universal Accessibility” Programme on the bridges that do not belong to the administration. Yau Shing-mu, Transport and Housing Under Secretary, responded that the administration had not yet decided on solutions.  

2. Discussion on the fares of MTR West Island Line. Adult Octopus users and other Octopus users will enjoy $2 and $1 fare discounts respectively by waving their Octopus over self-serviced special discount machines for journeys from Sheung Wan Station or HKU Station to other MTR stations, before the opening of Sai Ying Pun Station.

3. Work plan for the Public Transport Strategy Study (PTSS), which reviews the role of public transport service. The administration also seeked member’s views on the proposed creation of a supernumerary post of an Administrative Office Staff to oversee the work of the PTSS. Wu Chi-wai (GC- Kowloon East, DP) believes the study is not all-rounded, as it only studies public transport, but does not include private cars and other public transportation tools.

Meeting of Subcommittee on Issues Relating to the Development of Chinese Medicine
1.  Background information and the latest progress of the registration and testing of proprietary Chinese medicines (pCm). Elizabeth Quat (GC- NT East, DAB) asked about the reasonable time duration to complete the process. The administration replied there are no clear benchmarks as cases vary.  

2.  Introduction of the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements on proprietary Chinese medicines. A GMP product development and technical support platform for traditional oral solid pCm products is proposed to be set up.

Meeting of Bills Committee on Property Management Services Bill
Discussion continued on the bill which proposes to establish a Property Management Services Authority and introduce a licensing regime to regulate property management services. The administration claims practitioners in the industry hope to have the licensing regime, so as to build up their competitiveness.

Meeting of Panel on Development
1. Forthcoming funding submission to the Public Works Subcommittee and the Finance Committee for the Capital Works Reserve Fund (CWRF) block allocations for 2015-16. It proposes to seek Finance Committee's approval for a total allocation of $12,204.7m for 2015-16 for the block allocations under the CWRF.

2. Proposed revision of eight Government fees for services related to builders’ lifts and tower working platforms under the purview of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department. The adjustments mainly concern registration fees. The estimated increase in revenue is about $22,500 per annum, after the proposed fee adjustments are implemented.

3. Phase II Public Engagement Exercise for the proposed establishment of a Harbourfront Authority and seeks Members’ views on the proposal. Fernando Cheung (GC- NT East, Labour Party) said he is worried if the Harbourfront can really be opened to the public. As the Authority has to achieve overall financial sustainability and independence in the long run, Cheung predicted there may be commercial activities which make openness to the public unachievable.   
4.  Report on the archaeological features discovered at the To Kwa Wan Station of the Shatin to Central Link. Kenneth Chan  (GC- Hong Kong Island, Civic Party) said he would support the Government to apply for funding to preserve the archaeological features.

Meeting of Bills Committee on Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014
Discussion continues on the bill to improve the court system. Clause by clause examination underway.

Meeting of Bills Committee on Private Columbaria Bill
Members discussed the Bill which will license non-Government columbaria. Some members concerned customers will be affected if the license are not renewed after 10 years. Administration responded that if the operators did not break any of the requirements, the licenses in most of the cases will be renewed.     

Meeting of Bills Committee on Pharmacy and Poisons (Amendment) Bill 2014
The Bill is to revise the current rules governing the manufacturing of pharmaceutical products and licensing of manufacturers, importers, exporters and wholesalers. It will also empower the Pharmacy and Poisons Board to carry out disciplinary actions. Discussion underway.
November 26th Wednesday
Meeting of Public Works Subcommittee
(The meeting last week was cancelled due to protesters breaking windows of the LegCo building.)
1. The Subcommittee was scheduled to vote on the 59 amendments filed by Albert Chan (GC- NT West, People Power), Gary Fan (GC- NT East, Neo Democrats) and Fernando Cheung (GC- NT East, Labour Party) before summer on the proposal to pay $226.9m for strategic studies to explore the feasibility of constructing artificial islands in the central waters between Hong Kong Island and Lantau, including development of an East Lantau Metropolis. The Government withdrew the issue without explaining the reason. Deputy Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury (Treasury) Yeung Tak-keung said the Government will explain in a written response to members.
2. Construction of additional infrastructure to support various planned developments at Whitehead, Ma On Shan was approved and will seek funding in the Finance Committee next. The estimated cost is $252.8m.
3. Proposal to increase the approved project estimate of Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point and associated works-site formation and infrastructure works by $8.72 billions from $16.25 billions to $24.97 billions. Lee Cheuk-yan  (GC- NT West, Labour Party) proposed to adjourn the discussion and was approved with 19 to 14.
4. Proposal to fund the planning and engineering study on Sunny Bay reclamation and
associated site investigation works with an estimated cost of $100.5m. Albert Chan proposed to adjourn the discussion and was approved with 20 to 15.
5. Proposal to fund the construction of Kowloon East Regional Headquarters and Operational Base-cum-Ngau Tau Kok Divisional Police Station with an estimated cost of $2.96 billions. Discussion underway.
Council meeting
Selected members’ questions
Tam Yiu-chung (GC- NT West, DAB)
Q: What is the impact of people saying that “the rule of law will not be undermined insofar as the people who have deliberately breached the law subsequently turn themselves in, and the rule of law does not mean unconditional compliance with the law”?
Rimsky Yuen, Secretary for Justice
A: It is wrong for any suggestions that the rule of law is not undermined or under challenged if people can freely or intentionally disobey the law first and then accept the consequences of breaking the law. The rule of law cannot realistically and effectively operate in a civilised and orderly society on this basis.
Emily Lau (GC- NT East, DP)
A: The Independent Review Committee for the Prevention and Handling of Potential Conflicts of Interests put forward 36 recommendations in May 2012 to amend the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO). Why the authorities have not yet introduced to LegCo any legislative proposal to amend the Ordinance?
Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary
A: Recommendations on the revisions to the POBO have constitutional, legal and operational implications and may have impact on the existing POBO, the Government needs to handle them prudently and study them in an in-depth and holistic manner. The Government has implemented more than half of the 36 recommendations, including the revisions to the Code for Officials Under the Political Appointment System.
Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Bill
Rights for third parties, who are not a party to a contract, to enforce the contractual terms.
2nd and 3rd reading approved.
Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014
Amending unconstitutional elements of the Crime Ordinance (removing bans against gay sex between men), Sex Discrimination Ordinance (providing more power to the EOC), TDO, spam, BMO, other - all based on court rulings.
2nd and 3rd reading approved.
Members’ motions
1. Debate continued on Ronny Tong’s (GC- NT East, Civic Party) motion last week to urge “the Government to expeditiously put forward a practical and feasible constitutional reform package.” Emily Lau (GC- NT East, DP) proposed to amend Tong’s motion by defining the ‘reform package’ to be complied with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in order for the CE election to be competitive and free of political screening. She also urged the Government to abolish all functional constituency seats in LegCo no later than 2020. Emily’s amendment was voted down but Tong’s original motion was approved with 54 members voting in favour, 2 against and 1 abstaining. Writing at his column the following day, Tong was shocked his motion was passed and considered it amusing as similar motions were all voted down by pro-establishment in the past years.
2. Poon Siu-ping (FC- Labour, Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions) moved a motion to urge the Government to establish a dedicated committee to review comprehensively the policies on Hong Kong employees' occupational safety and health, including the protection coverage of occupational diseases and improvement of the protection for workers in high-risk occupations such as insurance, compensation, therapy and rehabilitation. Poon’s motion and Tang Ka-piu’s (FC- Labour, FTU) amendment were approved.

Bills in progress November 28th by calvin

harbourtimes.comToday, 15:23

Passed 1st reading, Adjourned 2nd reading pending discussion

Pharmacy and Poisons (Amendment) Bill 2014
Regulation of pharmaceutical products in Hong Kong.  Packaging, GMP, documentation.
Last Meeting: 8th meeting on 25th November.
Next Meeting: 16th December.

Employment (Amendment) Bill 2014
Paternity leave and compensation for male employees.
Last Meeting: 7th meeting on 8th July.
Next Meeting: TBC.

Insurance Companies (Amendment) Bill 2014
Establishment of Independent Insurance Authority (IIA) and licensing regime. HKSAT government: “Establishment of the IIA is the most important regulatory reform in the insurance sector in the past 30 years since the passage of the Insurance Companies Ordinance in 1983.”
Last Meeting: 7th meeting on 24th November.
Next Meeting: 9th December.

Electronic Health Record Sharing System Bill
From suggestion to have “an eHR sharing system was put forward in the Healthcare Reform Consultation Document  “Your Health, Your Life” published in March 2008.”
Last Meeting: 8th meeting on 11th November.
Next Meeting: 8th December.

Construction Workers Registration (Amendment) Bill 2014
Modification of registration scheme for modular skills in the construction industry, senior workers registration arrangement and to exempt the need to register for emergency work and small scale work.
Last Meeting: 4th meeting on 5th November.
Next Meeting: TBC.

Administration of Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014
Amendments to improve the court operations: appeals in civil causes or matters to the Court of Final Appeal, operation of the Labour Tribunal and more.
Last Meeting: 4th meeting on 25th November.
Next Meeting: TBC.

Property Management Services Bill
Mandatory licensing regime which sets a minimum qualification requirement for property management companies and property management practitioners.
Last Meeting: 5th meeting on 25th November.
Next Meeting: TBC.

Copyright (Amendment) Bill 2014 - dubbed “The Article 23 of the Internet”
Addressing the copyright issues for the exemption of parody work.
Last Meeting: 4th meeting on 18th November.
Next Meeting: 1st December.

Securities and Futures and Companies Legislation (Uncertificated Securities Market Amendment) Bill 2014
To enable legal ownership in securities to be held and transferred without paper documents.
Last Meeting: 3rd meeting on 17th November.
Next Meeting: 5th December.

Private Columbaria Bill
To establish a licensing regime to regulate private columbaria operation.
Last Meeting: 3rd meeting on 25th November.
Next Meeting: 15th December.

Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes (Amendment) Bill 2014
Allowing phased withdrawal of MPF upon early retirement and terminal illness.
Last Meeting: 5th meeting on 17th November.
Next Meeting: 2nd December.

Veterinary Surgeons Registration (Amendment) Bill 2014
To broaden the membership of the Veterinary Surgeons Board and to establish the preliminary investigation committees.
Last Meeting: 2nd meeting on 17th November.
Next Meeting: 2nd December.

District Cooling Services Bill
To legislate the charges to private non-domestic projects on the use of the district cooling services at the Kai Tak Development.
Last Meeting: 1st meeting on 25th November.
Next Meeting: 16th December.

Bills pending resumption of 2nd reading
Bill Committees have finished scrutinising the bills and members will vote for 2nd reading, the amendments to the Bills and then third reading during the Council meeting.

Kowloon Tong Church of the Chinese Christian and Missionary Alliance Incorporation (Amendment) Bill 2014
To allow the corporation to borrow or raise money with or without security.

Sex Discrimination (Amendment) Bill 2014
To protect service providers from sexual harassment by their customers.
Last Meeting: 2nd meeting on 3rd November.

Land (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Bill 2014
To increase the penalties concerning unauthorised use of unleased lands.
Last Meeting: 2nd meeting on 24th November.

Consultations underway

Consultation on Proposed Updates to Safety Standards for Toys and Children's Products
Closing date on 2nd December.

Consultation on draft guidelines under the Competition Ordinance
Draft Guideline on the First Conduct Rule, the Second Conduct Rule and the Merger Rule.
Closing date on 10th December.

Consultation on Enhancements to Deposit Protection Scheme
To consult on proposals for enhancing the operation of Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS), to achieve a faster and more effective payout for depositors in case the DPS is triggered during a bank failure or crisis.
Closing date on 12th December.

Consultation on Risk-based Capital Framework for Hong Kong Insurance Industry
Closing date on 15th December.

Phase II Public Engagement Exercise for Proposed Establishment of Harbourfront Authority
Closing date on 24th December.

Public Consultation on Review of Building Management Ordinance
To encouraging Greater Participation by Owners in Implementing Large-scale Maintenance Projects.
Closing date on 2nd February.

Consultation on Proposed Application of Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning International Registration of Marks to Hong Kong
Closing date on 11th February.

Consultation on 2015 Policy Address and Budget
The Chief Executive will deliver his Policy Address on January 14, 2015, while the Financial Secretary will present the 2015-16 Budget to the LegCo on February 25, 2015.

Consultation on New Academic Structure Medium-term Review and Beyond
The New Academic Structure Review aims at responding to the changes at a more macro level such as economic, scientific and technological developments over the past years in Hong Kong’s society and around the world.
Closing date on 28th February.

Future planned consultations

Consultation on the Amendment of Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 of Chinese Medicine Ordinance (Cap. 549)
To amend the Ordinance to catch up with the trend of use of Chinese medicines in Hong Kong.
November 2014 to May 2015

Consultation on the Introduction of a Mandatory Pre-market Safety Assessment Scheme for Genetically Modified (GM) Food
regulating GM
To regulate GM food by introducing a mandatory pre-market safety assessment scheme in Hong Kong.
January to March 2015

Consultation on the Business Impact Assessment (BIA) on the Implementation of the Revised Dangerous Goods (General) Regulation [DG(G)R] and Dangerous Goods (Packing, Marking & Labeling) Regulation
Q1 to Q4 2015

Consultation on the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) for Hong Kong
To prepare for the first Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan for Hong Kong in accordance with the requirements of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
1st April to 30th June 2015

Consultation on the Security of Payment Legislation for the Construction Industry
To ensure timely receipt of payments for work done along the construction supply chain.
April to July 2015

Consultation on the Amendment to Food Adulteration (Metallic Contamination) Regulations (Cap. 132V)
To amend the current Food Adulteration (Metallic Contamination) Regulations in order to keep up with the international standards.
2nd half of 2015
LegCo round-up November 21st to 27th
PWSC: Strike, counterstrike
The "Pearl Harbor of LegCo"