December 31, 2015

On Second Thought: lessons from 1966 and why we should never forget the disastrous consequences of the Cultural Revolution

Mao Zedong’s elevation to demigod, and the ensuing chaos, showed how the dark side of human nature can become a destructive force


PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 December, 2015, 4:43pm

UPDATED : Thursday, 31 December, 2015, 4:47pm

Male and female coal miners recite passages from Mao’s Little Red Book in 1968 during the Cultural Revolution. Photo: AFP

Half a century ago, in 1966, a huge political storm gathered in Beijing. It grew so rapidly that within a few months, almost the entire Chinese Communist Party ruling elite was sucked in, with near-catastrophic consequences for the party, the economy, and the populace, most of whom had no idea what was going on in the power corridors of Zhongnanhai.

Feeling vulnerable for being sidelined as a result of his role in advancing the Great Leap Forward movement which led to a big famine that killed no less than 30 million poor farmers, and fearing that he might eventually lose his prestige in history after Soviet Union’s Nikita Khrushchev quickly denounced Stalin’s policies upon the latter’s death, Chairman Mao Zedong毛 decided to plot against the party’s pragmatists so he might take charge again.

His first offensive was to purge the leading officials of the Propaganda Department in early 1966 so he might take direct control of the propaganda machinery. He then pushed through his ideological justification for what he labelled as the Cultural Revolution in an expanded session of the Politburo on May 16. The so-called May 16 Notification called for renewed class struggle, but against enemies from within the party this time. The party’s core cadres were understandably lukewarm to Mao’s radical agenda despite his hard push.

As a last resort, Mao unleashed the destructive energy of the innocent young by personally signing a big-character poster, entitled Bombard the Headquarters, on July 26. It called upon the youngsters to overthrow the party’s bourgeois enemies hidden within the bureaucracy. Heeding the call of their iconic leader, millions of students formed themselves into Red Guards and took to the streets to “safeguard the revolution”.

For more than the following decade, the bulk of the nation was in near-anarchy, with millions of officials and intellectuals jailed, humiliated to suicide, or tortured to death. Even more families were broken as members reported on each other in order to clear themselves of political guilt. The economy degenerated to breaking point. During the worst period, the country was at the brink of viability and only managed to hang on through the hard balancing act of Premier Zhou Enlai.

Mao was not the only leader to have caused chaos to his nation and his people. What marks the horror of the Cultural Revolution out from the other political turmoils in history was how the dark side of human nature could have been unleashed by one man alone, through mass propaganda and officially endorsed distortion of history.

The lesson is that, once a leader is deified into a demigod, his personal ambition could easily be sanctioned as the nation’s mission, with disastrous consequences.

Chinese or not, we should all learn from this unprecedented lesson in human history. We are still witnessing how the dark side of human nature continues to lurk in the name of religious and political beliefs. We must remain vigilant to avoid the return of another “cultural revolution” under any guise.

Does CY Leung know how to run a Facebook page?

by SC Yeung

EJ Insight » Hong KongToday, 16:50

Although Leung Chun-ying reported to the police that his Facebook page has been hacked, many doubts remain. Photos: Bloomberg, Facebook

Although Leung Chun-ying reported to the police that his Facebook page has been hacked, many doubts remain. Photos: Bloomberg, Facebook

Politicians around the world are increasingly using social media to promote themselves and government policies, especially those who live in democratic societies.

However, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has no need for exposure in the social media, as he and his officials do not need to please internet users, since his power comes from the authorities in Beijing rather than from the residents of the city he administers.

So, when Next Magazine published a cover story Wednesday on several nubile young women, apparently including Taiwanese and Japanese porn stars, listed as “friends with CY” on Leung’s Facebook page, it was a bit of a joke, since most Hongkongers have no interest in what Leung does with his Facebook page nor his promotion of his policies in the real world.

The Chief Executive’s Office quickly claimed that Leung’s Facebook page was hacked this month.

It’s generally not an issue for a Hong Kong politician to have friends on his Facebook page from Taiwan or Japan, even if they are beautiful models or so-called porn stars. 

But, our chief executive appears to have taken the issue quite seriously.

His office said it filed a complaint with police Dec. 24 about the suspected hacking of his Facebook page, saying some information and settings were modified, some posts deleted, some “new friends” added and that even the profile picture was changed.

However, some internet users found that those porn stars became “friends” with Leung last month.

At the moment, it is unclear whether Leung’s account was really hacked or whether the claim is purely a tactic to divert public attention.

If a hacker exists, did he or she really help Leung add the sexy women as friends? Or just leak Leung’s friend list?

All these remain a mystery to the public.

The incident shows that Leung is incapable not only of administering the city but also his own Facebook page.

He, or the managers of his Facebook account, has just turned his propaganda channel into a public relations disaster.

In fact, it is hard for an ordinary person to believe that hackers added those women to Leung’s Facebook list of friends.

Given Leung’s unpopularity, netizens commented that if there were hackers, they would instead have changed his page more dramatically, perhaps posting on it slogans like “CY Leung step down” or “We want genuine universal suffrage”.

So, the internet users argued, it is more likely that these friends, who come from Japan and Taiwan and are politically sensitive from Beijing’s perspective, were added by one of the managers of Leung’s Facebook page. 

While the incident is still developing, it may not be appropriate to comment further on it, but it seems that Leung knows nothing about using Facebook as a public relations tool.

Leung started using Facebook in October, but interestingly, he did not open a fan page to allow other Facebook users to follow him but merely opened a personal page with limited access to the public.

Other Facebook users can only access his public posts, and access to his friend list was restricted.

Only “friends” of Leung can leave comments on his Facebook page.

All this indicated that Leung positioned Facebook as a private communications platform rather than a channel to promote his government.

Leung’s first Facebook post was about his gardening experiences with flowers.

Other posts talk about Leung attending events and official meetings with the public, making speeches to organizations and being the guest of honor at some events.

All the posts are in Chinese. No English-language posts can be found on Leung’s page.

Frankly speaking, Leung’s Facebook page is more like the front page of Beijing’s People’s Daily, which typically features state leaders’ activities as front-page news.

Leung’s posts are written in official language rather than in a way that might appeal to young people, who use the internet and social networks to get most of their news.

The leader of Hong Kong should make use of this channel to promote his ideas and reach out to the opposition in an effort to convince them to support the government’s policies.

However, Leung’s Facebook page is more like a private garden in which he can feel good, with young internet users fenced out instead of allowing them to visit and interact with Leung in the virtual world.

As a political leader, Leung should learn to be more of a professional Facebook user, rather than just an entry-level player.

He should at least open a fan page to let all Facebook users follow his posts, sharing his joyful moments as well as debating controversial political topics.

While the fan page might not help Leung gain the trust of the public in the short term, it could help him to better understand the people’s thinking about his policies and mindset.

Leung may be lacking the self-confidence to reach out to young people.

But he could also focus on his supporters first.

While some people may think that internet users are mostly youngsters and those who are against the authorities, the fact is that the pro-government camp also performs well on Facebook. 

For example, Speak Out Hong Kong, a pro-Leung page, has more than 200,000 followers.

That could be a good starting point for Leung to rebuild his social media strategy.

Under the leadership of Leung, Hong Kong is no longer a great place to live and work.

Everything is subject to political considerations, which often outweigh professional judgment, widening the gap between the government and the general public.

Social media platforms are the last venue for the public to express their feelings about the governance of Hong Kong.

Leung should be willing to be their target, instead of taking cover behind a garden wall.

– Contact us at


Why 2015 was better for Hong Kong than many people imagine

by Stephen Vines

EJ Insight » Hong KongToday, 17:36

In 2015, the spirit of the Umbrella movement energized Hongkongers in supporting the city's football team and taking part in elections. Photos: AFP, HKEJ

In 2015, the spirit of the Umbrella movement energized Hongkongers in supporting the city's football team and taking part in elections. Photos: AFP, HKEJ

Was 2015 really so awful for Hong Kong?

Frankly speaking, it is pretty easy to cite rather many bad things that happened over the course of the last 12 months, but there is also much to celebrate, even though the good things are perhaps good only if you have a longer-term prospective.

A golden thread ties together all that is to be found on the positive side of the balance sheet – the thread is composed of Hong Kong’s resilient and unbowed people, who simply refuse to accept that the current “reality” is reality forever.

Let’s run through some examples of how the people have prevailed against the overwhelming and growing pressures to make Hong Kong that much more like the mainland, with all that this implies.

First up, because it is a wonderful example of Hong Kong ingenuity, are the football fans who were told that they could not boo when the home team was playing a team from the mainland and were warned that it was absolutely forbidden to express so called localism by booing the national anthem.

So what did they do? Mixing humor with ingenuity, they turned up to the match with signs that had the word “Boo” inscribed on paper.

It was an eloquent and cheeky way of making a bigger point.

Then there’s the increasingly successful campaign to thwart the Education Bureau’s evident intention to turn schools into something akin to factories for exam-passing machines.

Although the entirely hapless secretary for education, Eddie Ng Hak-kim, cannot bear to admit defeat, it is pretty clear that the atrocious Territorywide School Assessment exams for Primary 3 students are dead in the water.

Parents and their allies had earlier defeated Mr. Ng’s plans for so called patriotic education in schools and yet again demonstrated that they would fight tooth and nail to secure a proper education for their children.

More complex but nevertheless profoundly important is the growing involvement of young people in both political and social affairs.

This was vividly demonstrated during the recent district council elections but is also being seen elsewhere in places where a new generation, motivated by the Umbrella movement, have decided that they don’t need to be out on the streets to continue the fight for a more democratic Hong Kong but can pursue this objective in a host of different ways.

This also brings us to the results of those elections, in which, according to the chief executive, the democratic camp was supposed to be crushed by the people demanding that they pay the price for participation in the Umbrella movement.

The outcome was a severe disappointment for the pro-establishment camp, which lost ground while the democrats gained.

And 2015 has also turned out to be a good year for the media.

Yes, I know that this is not obvious, but while the mainstream media, especially in the newspaper and television world, has been losing ground, a flurry of new internet-based websites and radio broadcasters launched in 2015, attracting a growing audience.

The net result is a much healthier diversity of opinions and news sources that are readily accessible.

Admittedly it begs the question of sustainability, because producing news and quality content costs both effort and hard cash. However at least there is something to sustain.

Most of all, we need to thank the government, primarily its leader, Leung Chun-ying, for providing a stimulant to get people off their backsides and creating a focus for getting Hongkongers to think about what really matters.

CY, of course, is a wonderfully polarizing personality who has the ability to stir even the most apathetic of people into protest, but he is not alone, and credit should also be given to his closest associates, who do a pretty good job in this regard.

Were it not for their efforts, do you think Hong Kong would now be having a much needed debate over the allocation of public resources, spurred by the administration’s determination to scupper the plan for a universal pension scheme?

And what about the growing debate over land use?

Were CY and his hapless Minister for Destroying the Countryside, Paul Chan Mo-po, not so keen on destroying the country parks, we might not be having a widespread debate over other ways of securing land for housing.

These debates are vitally important, yet without the extremist views of the administration, they would be relegated to the back burner.

The fact that these matters are being discussed is hardly a guarantee of a satisfactory outcome, but remember the golden rule: governments always do their worst when they do things in silence.

Hong Kong is far from silent, and the barrage of noise gets all the usual suspects clucking around and complaining about polarization and paralysis due to excessive debate.

The alternative, presumably one the anti-democrats favor, is a cowed quiescent population taking orders from above without question.

Fortunately that is not the Hong Kong way, and 2015, yet again demonstrated that, when push comes to shove, the fine people of this place will not be cowed.

–Contact us at


Arthur Li's appointment is "a disaster": teachers

    Arthur Li's appointment is "a disaster": teachers
Priscilla Ng reports
About a dozen members of the Professional Teachers' Union have marched to the Chief Executive’s Office at Tamar to voice their opposition to Arthur Li’s appointment as the chairman of the University of Hong Kong's governing council. 

They criticised the appointment as a "disaster". 

The president of the union, Fung Wai-wah, accused CY Leung of not acting appropriately as he not only ignored public opinion in appointing Li, but also allegedly called on the business sector to stop donating to universities.

Fung also said Leung should consider relinquishing his chancellorship of the city's universities.

What power will ‘King Arthur’ wield as University of Hong Kong council chairman?

Leadership role will give controversial former education minister influence over council appointments, meeting agendas and sensitive information


PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 December, 2015, 6:06pm

UPDATED : Thursday, 31 December, 2015, 6:06pm

In March, students met Li and urged him to resign and apologise for criticising HKU academics. Photo: Franke Tsang

The controversial appointment of ‘King’ Arthur Li Kwok-cheung as the University of Hong Kong’s council chairman has raised many concerns and questions over the power he will wield.

What, many ask, could he be authorised to do as the governing council chairman?

HKU’s 23-member council – excluding its chairman – has six members appointed by the chief executive and six members appointed by the council from outside the university. These 12 members constitute an important voice within the council, given that there are only eight university student, staff and management representatives on the body.

The chairman heads a nominations committee in charge of recommending outside council members for appointment by the council. The committee consists of other outside members on the council, the vice-chancellor and one academic member of the council.

READ MORE: Five things to know about Arthur Li’s appointment as HKU council chairman

The chairman is also responsible for setting council meeting agenda and has the power to decide whether a member who has a conflict of interest on a matter for council discussion can speak or vote on the matter.

Regarding confidential documents and other information circulated within the council, the chairman has the discretion to disclose the materials to people not on the council on a “need-to-know’ basis.

The chairman can also decide not to circulate restricted information before council meetings and request that council members return the materials after the meetings.

In addition, the chairman typically serves as the council’s spokesman when announcing council decisions to the public. Without the chairman’s permission, other council members cannot disclose council information.

Li’s appointment has drawn concern from HKU students and staff. Photo: SCMP Pictures

The chairman also has the power to call a special meeting when an urgent matter arises, or even tackle a matter directly on his or her own, although the council’s guide and code of practice advises the chairman to be careful not to make decisions in this manner.

According to the guide, a chairman’s action on “matters of strategic importance” should only be taken when “delaying a decision would disadvantage the university”.

The council secretary, responsible for council business such as preparing agendas, papers, minutes and follow-up actions, must report directly to the council chairman as well.

The guide continues: “The chairman is also ultimately responsible for ensuring that the council operates effectively, discusses those issues which it needs to discuss, and dispatches its responsibilities in a businesslike manner.”

READ MORE: Arthur Li fallout: HKU students consider protest over appointment ... while Regina Ip hopes he can ‘mend the divide’

HKU Academic Staff Association chairman Dr Cheung Sing-wai said that with all the power conferred on the chairman, he or she could heavily interfere in many important decisions such as whether to require some matters previously not needed to be discussed to appear on the council agenda, and to decide which items on the agenda to be kept confidential.

“The chairman is the ultimate centre of power at the council,” Cheung said.

The last HKU council chairman Dr Leong Che-hung was preceded by Victor Fung Kwok-king, chairman of global supply chain operator Fung Group. Fung succeeded former chief justice Yang Ti-liang.

Lan Kwai Fong revellers await chaos of midnight at Hong Kong’s top party spot as NYE atmosphere builds

‘Twas the night before New Year, when all through the street, not a creature was not drinking, as the spectre of debauchery took a back seat...temporarily


PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 December, 2015, 8:52pm

UPDATED : Thursday, 31 December, 2015, 9:08pm

Partygoers let loose at Lan Kwai Fong, one of the world’s most famous party spots, as the hours count down to midnight in Hong Kong and the start of 2016. Photo: Dickson Lee

At Lan Kwai Fong, a New Year’s Eve countdown hot-spot in Central, many visitors and tourists had already arrived by the early evening to get in a festive mood before ringing in the New Year.

Over 100 police officers were on hand by 7pm to handle the swelling crowd.

Ashley Wong, 57, and his wife Lisa were pacing back and forth hunting for somewhere to grab a bite.

“We don’t normally come to Lan Kwai Fong during New Year’s Eve, but this year my wife wanted to experience the atmosphere,” said Wong, who had budgeted HK$400 for dinner and was planning a romantic - or at least nostalgic - tram ride to North Point later in the night.

LKF on a quiet night. Photo: SCMP Pictures

Cameroonian footballer Wilfred Bamnjo, 36, who used to play for local team Kitchee, was pitching in as a security guard at the world-famous party hub made famous by partygoers’ raucous behaviour.

“After 10pm it’s definitely going to be busy. It’s still pretty quiet now,” he said.

READ MORE: Why Lan Kwai Fong has seen a surge in African drug dealers: SCMP goes undercover with the Hong Kong police

When asked if he felt apprehensive about the inevitable onslaught of rowdy customers, Bamnjo was unfazed: “I am ready.”

A microcosmic view of the madness everyone is waiting to experience as the clock ticks down, taken at around 7pm with the crowds yet to build. Photo: Dickson Lee

Neelan Subba, a bar assistant at Rula Bula, was welcoming customers at the door.

READ MORE: Nightmare at Lan Kwai Fong: Leung Chai-yan slaps her mother twice in Halloween street tantrum

Expecting a good turnout as the evening unfolded, Subba said business had been quiet over Christmas as many regular patrons had taken off for vacation.

“But there are many more tourists,” she said.

Ex-triad boss up in ‘wanted’ notices with HK$5 mln bounty

EJ Insight » Hong KongToday, 14:10

Wanted notices are seen on glass doors in the Hong Kong Cultural Center. A close-up of the notice (left) shows the poster's contact details and the HK$5 million reward. Photos: DBC, Apple Daily

Wanted notices are seen on glass doors in the Hong Kong Cultural Center. A close-up of the notice (left) shows the poster's contact details and the HK$5 million reward. Photos: DBC, Apple Daily

Wanted notices against a former Hong Kong triad boss have emerged with a HK$5 million (US$645,103) reward for anyone who can give his whereabouts. 

The notices followed the apparent disappearance of Kwok Wing-hung, known in the underworld as Shanghai Boy, after he was attacked with a knife in the lobby of the Peninsula Hotel on Dec 20.

They sprang up in the Hong Kong Cultural Center, the Peninsula Hotel, YMCA, Star Ferry and Shun Tak Center, Apple Daily reports.

A certain Nip Yan, who posted his contact details on the notices, is offering the bounty.

Calls by Apple Daily reporters to two other contacts were answered by the Peninsula and a woman in Xinjiang who said she doesn’t know Kwok.

Witnesses said a dozen masked men put up the signs in Tsim Sha Tsui early Wednesday morning. 

About 80 notices were posted in the YMCA and another 200 around the Cultural Center and the Star Ferry, police investigators said. 

Officers took them down after taking photographic evidence.

On Wednesday, Kwok cancelled a scheduled press conference at the last minute, saying only “something has come up”.

He had been expected to answer questions about the reported attack, which he had denied, and respond to speculation about gambling debts which reportedly forced him to quit his Macau junket business.

His whereabouts have been the subject of intense media interest since he was released from hospital on Dec. 21 after being treated for a cut to his right eyelid.

Kwok said the injury did not come from the reported knife attack but from an accident when he hit his head on a table while having afternoon tea at the Peninsula.

A spokesman later said Kwok is “free and healthy”. 

– Contact us at


Why Beijng was not too keen to retake Hong Kong at the outset

by Frank Chen

EJ Insight » Hong KongToday, 14:21
High-rises on both sides of Victoria Harbor dazzle on the evening of July 1, 1997 to mark Hong Kong's handover to China. Photo: CNN

High-rises on both sides of Victoria Harbor dazzle on the evening of July 1, 1997 to mark Hong Kong's handover to China. Photo: CNN

People familiar with the Sino-British talks may remember how London caved to Beijing, especially in the days before the signing of the Joint Declaration, the basis of Hong Kong’s change of sovereignty.

That allowed Beijing to claim victory in every aspect of the agreement, from basing rights for the People’s Liberation Army to how the official handover should unfold.

It was significant that the final accord came amid intense Chinese patriotism whipped up by the historic events surrounding the 1984 marathon talks.

But the fact is that until the early 1980s, Beijing still hadn’t made up its mind about how to deal with the Hong Kong question, according to a book on the Hong Kong handover policymaking compiled by the Baptist University’s David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies.

Back then, the looming expiry of the 99-year lease on the New Territories had put London and the colonial authorities on tenterhooks despite Beijing’s inaction.

Had it not been for that deadline, Beijing probably wouldn’t have had any second thoughts about letting the British remain in Hong Kong after 1997, the book says.

The revelations are based on the memoirs of Huang Wenfang (黃文放), a Cantonese-born diplomat who worked at the Xinhua news agency’s Hong Kong branch for more than 40 years.

Among the three central authorities that emerged after the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912 — the Beijing government, the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party — none had been more eager than the KMT to retake Hong Kong.

KMT supremo Chiang Kai-shek was ready to reclaim the crown colony, despite strong warnings from Winston Churchill, after the defeated Japanese occupiers withdrew from Hong Kong at the end of World War II.

Yet, before long, Chiang had to put the subject aside when conflict with Mao Zedong’s Red Army escalated into a civil war in 1946.

Mao never dwelled on the unresolved Hong Kong question due to a Washington-led embargo at the time, according to many commentators.

Beijing was perfectly happy to maintain the status quo.

After all, Hong Kong was the only entrepôt to bypass the trade blockade and keep vital military supplies flowing to China.

The official stance was that the issue would be addressed at “an appropriate time”.

One wonders whether Mao himself knew exactly what that appropriate time would be, especially after calamities ravaged China.

Still, Beijing was engaged at crucial junctures.

For instance, Premier Zhou Enlai warned Britain against democratizing Hong Kong, according to declassified information from the colonial office.

Also, Beijing prodded the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization to strike Hong Kong and Macau from the list of colonies after China became a UN member in 1970.

Deng Xiaoping subsequently refused to acknowledge the validity of land leases on the New Territories during a meeting with then Hong Kong governor Sir Murray MacLehose in 1979.

Two years later, Deng told Peter Carington, then the British foreign minister, “not to bring up the matter so early”.

Only after repeated nudging by the British since 1981 did Beijing start to consider the shape of things for Hong Kong post-1997.

Deng ordered his lieutenants to come up with a solution to serve two seemingly contradictory goals — take over sovereignty and ensure continued prosperity for Hong Kong.

Xinhua’s branch in Hong Kong preferred a British post-handover model but the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office had other ideas.

The Communist Party finally cooked up the “one country, two systems” concept at Deng’s behest, an arrangement originally conceived to lure Taiwan.

But many began to question exactly what it meant.

Lam Hang-chi, founder of the Hong Kong Economic Journal, wrote in a commentary in January 1984 that “putting faith in the Communist Party is like trusting Judas Iscariot”.

We all know the subsequent crises of confidence, the exodus that swept Hong Kong throughout the latter part of the 1980s and the fallout from the bloody Tiananmen crackdown in June 1989.

History continues to be made as Hong Kong moves toward an uncertain future.

Already, some observers are saying that had Beijing not reclaimed Hong Kong so early, it could have left both sides much better off than they are now.

– Contact us at


Read more:

Events that could have changed Hong Kong as we know it

How Deng made sure there would be a PLA garrison in Hong Kong

Shanghainese in Hong Kong: a tale of two cities

British and Chinese flags dominate the stage at the official handover ceremony at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. Photo: HKGov

Former British-Chinese soldier makes Sai Kung campsite his home

EJ Insight » Hong KongToday, 15:37
Jacko Tsang (inset) says he has never made any money by occupying country park campsites. Photos: Facebook, Apple Daily

Jacko Tsang (inset) says he has never made any money by occupying country park campsites. Photos: Facebook, Apple Daily

A former British-Chinese soldier has been living frugally at a campsite in Sai Kung for almost two years, drawing curious onlookers and earning praise from locals for his community-friendly gestures.

Jacko Tsang, 65, has been at the Wan Tsai Peninsular South Campsite (西貢灣仔南營地) for over 700 days now, becoming a permanent fixture there.

Tsang chose to live in a tent in natural surroundings despite having properties in both Hong Kong and mainland China, Apple Daily noted.

He helps out fellow campers, giving them things that other campers leave behind, the paper said in a report Thursday after somepictures were uploaded onto Facebook by someone the previous day.

Tsang gives the stuff free to others, rather than seeking to profit from the materials.

Questioned by a reporter, Tsang said that he was fond of hiking since an early age and that the Wan Tsai campsite had become a dream place for him after his retirement.

He said he opted for that life without any compulsion. He stressed that he is not a vagabond or a street sleeper as he has his own properties and a wife and several grown-up children.

Tsang’s wife was initially perplexed at her partner’s move. But after camping with him for some time, she has come to accept his lifestyle choice.

The children also apparently have no problem, as they are planning to come over to the campsite for the New Year’s Eve countdown.

Tsang says he is not the only long-term camper in the area. According to him, many retired civil servants also spend extended periods at the site.

The former soldier says that there are at least 20 vacant camps in the site as of now. Tents had been abandoned, prompting Tsang to collect them and give them out to others for free.

Asked if he was occupying the sites in order to lease them to mainland tourists, Tsang said he has never done such a thing or made any monetary gains. 

Hong Kong’s campsites can be booked through the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. But Tsang says the booking system can be easily manipulated and that people wanting to make money can indeed do so.

In other remarks, he said that the government is ignoring benefits for the elderly while spending too much on “white elephant” infrastructure projects. 

After his story began doing the rounds online, netizens have offered mixed comments.

Some supported him, saying that people should be allowed to enjoy the country parks for extended periods. One commentator remarked that if people like Tsang don’t set up tents, the government will one day sell the sites in the country park to property developers. 

But some accused Tsang of using a loophole in the current law to occupy country park sites, which belong to the public.

A spokesperson for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department admitted that under the Country Parks and Special Areas Regulations there is no time restriction on occupation of public campsites. 

– Contact us at


About a hundred people have been staying in tents on and off at a Sai Kung camping site. Photo: Facebook

Some occupiers make good use of solar energy. Photo: Facebook

Wan Tsai Peninsular South Campsite is far from the Sai Kung city center. Photo: Google Map

Li's appointment amounts to "declaration of war" - RTHK - Express NewsToday, 15:31
  • Mak Tung-wing (centre) says CY Leung's decision to appoint Arthur Li amounts to a "declaration of war against Hong Kong society". Photo: RTHK

    Mak Tung-wing (centre) says CY Leung's decision to appoint Arthur Li amounts to a "declaration of war against Hong Kong society". Photo: RTHK

The HKU Alumni Concern Group has described Chief Executive CY Leung's decision to appoint former education secretary Arthur Li as the chairman of the University of Hong Kong's governing body as a "declaration of war against Hong Kong society".

The group's vice-convenor, Mak Tung-wing, said they will carry out a protest against Li's appointment by marching from Chater Garden to Government House on Sunday. 

He said there are many people other than Li who are well-suited to take up the job. "Don’t say that Hong Kong doesn’t have any talent other than Professor Arthur Li. This is a very big insult to a lot of Hong Kong University graduates", he said.

"The chancellor [CY Leung] has purposefully selected a particular individual who is obviously opposed by every stakeholder. If this is not a declaration of war, I can’t interpret otherwise".

Mak added that the appointment was not made in the best interest of the university, and would only further polarise and destablise the institution.

Pro-Beijing party recalls faulty promo travel adaptors over safety concerns

Coconuts Hong KongToday, 11:51

travel adaptor

Ng, 23, showing the adaptor as he describes his concerns in a video (Photo: Facebook)

Pro-Beijing political party the Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) issued an apology on Tuesday and recalled a batch of potentially dangerous travel adaptors they handed out for free during the district council elections.

The recall comes after netizens posted a series of safety concerns about the adaptors on social media. 

Most recently on Dec. 22, a postgraduate student in electrical engineering, surnamed Ng, 23, posted a video on Facebook showing the hazards associated with the device. His concerns include a tendency to short circuit and exposed plug pins where electric currents of up to 200V can be touched.

The video has accumulated over 320,000 views and 2,800 shares in the past week. It is reported that the adaptor in question is the same model as an adaptor handed out by FTU, which melted when used, according to an earlier Facebook post.    

The news comes after a fire, believed to have been started by a dodgy portable phone charger, tore through an apartment in Kwun Tong on Monday.

FTU has issued a statement admitting that the adaptors were procured from a local company to be distributed as gifts, adding that the products had been recalled after the safety concerns emerged. The statement also included an apology and an assertion that the party reserves the right to hold the issuing company responsible, Ming Pao reports.

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department has issued a statement calling citizens to stop using the adaptors. An enquiry hotline on (+852) 3652-5700 has been set up.

Arthur Li fallout: HKU students consider protest over appointment ... while Regina Ip hopes he can ‘mend the divide’

Reactions from students, staff and a well-known alum span political spectrum


PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 December, 2015, 3:42pm

UPDATED : Thursday, 31 December, 2015, 4:27pm

Li’s appointment as chairman of the university’s governing council has drawn contrasting opinions. Photo: Sam Tsang

As former education minister Arthur Li Kwok-cheung prepares to take the helm as chairman of the University of Hong Kong’s governing council, students and staff members reacted with concern and calls for greater transparency after the decision triggered condemnation.



Third-year surveying student Alvin Chim Hei-shun of the chief executive’s appointment: “It just goes to show that Leung Chun-ying has made the decision on his own and taken over the university.”

“I’m worried about how he’ll handle the situation if we have another umbrella movement and that he’ll suppress the students,” Chim added.

READ MORE: ‘Very poor choice’: Howls of protest as Arthur Li is appointed Hong Kong University’s governing council chairman

The news that Li would begin his three-year term as council chairman from January 1 sparked criticism from the student union and other council members.

First-year law student Ronald Chiu said the governing body had a responsibility to clarify the circumstances surrounding the appointment.

“There was no transparency with what set of criteria they used for Li’s appointment, and they need to make that clear to the public,” said Chiu.

A science faculty staff member who declined to be identified said she would not support Li if she had a choice in choosing HKU’s council chairman.

“Looking at his past track record, he hasn’t been able to do a good job with playing a fair and unbiased role,” said the woman surnamed Wong. “A chairman shouldn’t put forward their own personal opinion to lead others.”

READ MORE: Five things to know about Arthur Li’s appointment as HKU council chairman

Although the university’s student union made clear that it had no plans to organise a boycott at the moment, Chim said he would consider boycotting classes if the union had arranged one to express opposition to Li’s appointment.

Executive Councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee told Commercial Radio that Li was a person who spoke frankly, and hoped that he could speak “more skillfully” in the future.

Ip said that the university was deeply divided over the council’s rejection of legal scholar Johannes Chan Man-mun’s candidacy to be a pro-vice-chancellor.

Students confronting Li before a university council meeting in July. Photo: Dickson Lee

Ip said she hoped that Li could “mend the divide, promote harmony with the university, be active in communicating with staff and students and consider the university’s development as his first priority.”

A graduate of the university’s English department in the early 1970s, Ip resigned as Secretary for Security a year after Li was appointed education minister in 2002. She also described Li as a good friend whom she respected.

On September 29, soon after the council voted down Chan’s pro-vice-chancellor candidacy, HKU students’ union president Billy Fung Jing-en abandoned confidentiality rules and divulged what pro-government council members said during a council meeting in opposition to Chan’s appointment.

READ MORE: Arthur Li appointment as HKU council chairman discovered hours earlier than intended thanks to technical glitch

Speaking on RTHK this morning, Fung did not rule out exposing Li’s remarks behind closed doors in the future.

“I will stick to my style to ensure everyone’s right to know,” said Fung, who continued to sit on the council. “If there are irrational discussions based on inaccurate facts or personal insults behind closed doors … I don’t want to do it again, but I would not rule it out.”

Fung said that students would protest against Li’s appointment, but a class boycott was “not the best option” at present because it would not exert pressure on Li and councillors.