December 14, 2016

Carrie Lam gets Hug of Death from Crop-Haired One by biglychee / Today, 10:40

Big Lychee, Various Sectors

The Chinese Communist Party has always distorted the history of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre. For years under Mao, it pretty much ignored the event in order to obscure the fact that the Party was playing no serious military role when the Japanese attacked the Nationalist capital. More recently it has, if anything, exaggerated the scale of the atrocity to encourage a crude anti-Japanese popular sentiment and nurture the Chinese-victimhood-before-gallant-CCP-came-to-rescue line.

This version of history essentially downplays Japanese slaughter, rape and pillage in Manila, Singapore, Hong Kong and elsewhere. Obviously, no-one mentions the CCP’s 1948siege of Changchun, where the civilian death toll possibly exceeded that in Nanjing.

So enlightened Hongkongers who know better can be forgiven for not taking China’s revisionist self-pitying ceremonies seriously, and indeed indulging in notable lapses in decorum if dragged off to attend such an occasion. No surprise, then, that two of them – former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa and more-or-less putative next CE Carrie Lam – ended up groping one another yesterday while all around them bowed in patriotically selective mourning for the victims of Japanese fascist aggression.

Carrie also took a cheap shot at presumed rival Financial Secretary (Resigned) John Tsang. She used a report no-one knew he had produced on the Aging Population Threat-to-Civilization as an excuse to accuse him of disrespecting our plucky senior citizens – treating them as worthless unproductive mouths that a dwindling younger workforce will need to feed.

It is impossible not to admire such hypocrisy. The Hong Kong bureaucrat-tycoon establishment fears diverting government expenditure away from white-elephant infrastructure projects towards people, and sees a low-wage/high-immigration model as the only source of future economic development. Carrie is part of this.

But wait – there’s more. Carrie brings even more outdated policy baggage from long-dead generations of the British colonial ruling caste. This includes condescension towards the infantile populace who are unfit to hold views on public affairs – or understand anything not presented using cartoon visuals. More to the point, it is descended from the Victorian work-house philosophy that society will be ruined if the poor are not made to suffer hardship. For example, she has opposed measures to help families stuck in subdivided apartments on the grounds that it would encourage others to move into such accommodation.

CY Leung became Chief Executive nearly five years ago with promises to move away from this approach – which is why the tycoons hate him. Once in office, he and his Liaison Office minders instead went off on their Ideological Rectification Campaign, turning Hong Kong into a hotbed of counter-revolutionary deviance and splittism. Carrie’s job, presumably, will be to get it right this time. So she has to get used to being a bit more warm and cuddly on welfare issues, like being nice to the elderly. What better way to practice than a hug with old Tung in a crowd of geriatric patriots?

December 13, 2016

Hong Kong foundation proposes subsidies for health screening and chronic disease consultation for low-income elderly

Our Hong Kong Foundation puts forward package of proposals to tackle increasing pressure on health services as population ages


UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 December, 2016, 7:15pm

Professor Yeoh Eng-kiong outlines the Our Hong Kong Foundation proposals. Photo: Xiaomei Chen

All low-income people aged above 45 should be given a one-off HK$1,000 voucher for health screening to prevent chronic diseases and minimise future medical and social costs, a think tank has suggested.

The health voucher scheme, which is expected to cost around $580 million, is among a series of measures suggested by the Our Hong Kong Foundation to tackle a potential huge burden resulting from a rapidly ageing population.

Cost of caring for Hong Kong’s elderly to rise by billions

An annual subsidy of HK$3,040 should also be given to low-income patients with chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes so they can consult private doctors.

The proposal will cost the public at least HK$250 million a year just to cover hypertension, but the move will free up valuable public sector resources.

The risk of poorer families developing chronic diseases is 1.4 times higher than families living above the poverty line, according to the study.

Professor Yeoh Eng-kiong, Chinese University's director of public health and primary care and a former health minister, said the expenditure on both schemes should be seen as an investment to prevent patients from developing serious complications which will be more costly to treat in future.

Other suggestions in the study included setting up a network to strengthen care for the elderly, building more smart facilities for older people, redefining the retirement age and establishing insurance for long-term health care.

New ideas needed to help Hong Kong elderly cope with their health problems

“Ageing is not a problem if we enable society to age in a healthy way,” Yeoh said. “[The proposed measures] will unleash the potential of our older generation, thus maximising social capital. We are therefore able to turn challenges arising from ageing into opportunities.”

“Rather than improve the health of the population, we also need to engage older people to participate and contribute to society. We need to consider innovative policies to increase labour productivity and boost participation by older workers.”

The Our Hong Kong Foundation is seeking to cut medical costs for the elderly through earlier health screening. Photo: Sam Tsang

The proposals unveiled on Tuesday highlight the urgent need for the city to tackle age-related health care spending, which is expected to rise to 6 per cent of GDP in 2050 – about 1 percentage point higher than in 2005.

By 2064, the medium age of the population is expected to reach 53.3 years, with 33 per cent of the city’s population being 65 years or older – up from 15 per cent in 2014.

Yeoh said health screening should be offered to all persons aged 45 or above, as it is the age when patients usually start to develop chronic diseases. The risk for people in this group being diagnosed with at least one chronic disease is six times higher than for younger people.

Those considered to be at high risk should be closely monitored by doctors, who should give advice on disease prevention and leading a healthy lifestyle.

Yeoh said 70 per cent of chronic diseases could be prevented through lifestyle changes.

The foundation said the HK$3,040 subsidy should initially be given annually to patients with hypertension and diabetes as the conditions would cause complications if not properly handled at an earlier stage. The scheme could later be expanded to cover heart disease.

The study estimated that the cost of treating these three kinds of diseases would more than double by 2056 if nothing is done to prevent them.

“These people are only targeted as a start. The government should continue to study the issue to see how to bring this forward,” Yeoh said.

Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam turns up the heat on presumed chief executive rival John Tsang over report

Race for city’s top job intensifies as Chief Secretary slams studies on ageing population by group formed by former finance chief


UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 December, 2016, 7:22pm

Former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa giving Chief Secretary Carrie Lam a hug during a ceremony to commemorate the Nanjing massacre on Tuesday. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

Hong Kong’s No 2 government official Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has launched a pointed attack on a report conducted under the purview of former finance chief John Tsang Chun-wah, turning up the heat between the two presumed front runners for the city’s top job.

At a forum on ageing population organised by a think-tank founded by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa on Tuesday, Chief Secretary Lamcalled attention to the studies by the Long Term Fiscal Planning Working Group. The group was formed in 2013 by Tsang, who stepped down as financial secretary on Monday.

Lam – who vowed to reconsider her position a day after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying made his bombshell announcement of not seeking re-election– cited two passages from the report.

One of it stated that “an expanding and ageing population will put pressure on social welfare and health services expenditure”.

She also noted another paragraph: “With the population ageing, the size of the labour force is set to decline, posing a threat to, if not dragging, economic growth and putting pressure on government revenue.”

Why Carrie Lam is Beijing’s real preference for chief executive

Lam, who in recent months has highlighted her efforts to help elderly people, went on: “So the elderly somehow has been associated with threats, and pressure and dragging our economic growth, which is most unfair.”

Tung, who was present at the forum, had earlier that day also attended a event to commemorate victims of the Nanking Massacre. At that event, he gave Lam a warm hug in front of cameras and she returned it with a wide smile, sparking speculation that the seasoned statesman with connections to Beijing’s inner core might be backing the chief secretary in next year’s election.

Tung, currently vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, is believed to be behind Leung’s 2012 victory, which saw the defeat of front runner Henry Tang Ying-yen.

At the ageing population forum, Lam also praised Tung for still being in the workforce despite being well past the retirement age.

On both occasions, Tung declined to comment on the chief executive race.

November 18, 2016

Transport minister coy on figures as Sha Tin to Central Link overrun costs reaches HK$20 billion

We need to wait for MTR Corp to finish its assessment of the project’s overall cost estimate, says Anthony Cheung


UPDATED : Friday, 18 November, 2016, 9:44pm

Divers were sent to investigate large metal object, estimated to be 40m by 20m, which was found in March this year on the seabed within project area of Wan Chai Development Phase II. Photo: David Wong

Transport minister Anthony Cheung Bing-leung refused to be drawn on the actual cost of the plagued Sha Tin to Central link yesterday as the overrun reportedly shot up to a stunning HK$20 billion, taking the total cost to almost HK$100 billion from the original HK$79.8 billion.

“I won’t speculate on the figures. The MTR Corporation already announced in its interim report that the cost estimate for the line will significantly exceed its original estimate,” Cheung said. “We need to wait for MTR Corp to finish its assessment of the project’s overall cost estimate. It will submit a report to the government for further scrutiny.”

Cheung was responding to media reports that the cost overrun would reach HK$20 billion and may need approval from the highly polarised Legislative Council’s finance committee.

Lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun of New People’s Party echoed the report, saying he had heard from various sources that the overrun was worse than that of the high speed rail link.

In its interim report in August, MTR Corp’s chief executive officer Lincoln Leong Kwok-kuen, already sounded a warning about the cost overrun and a possible further delay to the project expected to be completed in 2021.

“Taking into account the continuing difficulties and challenges ... the company considers it is likely that the cost estimate ... will need to be revised upwards significantly,” the report said, without mentioning the actual amount.

However, Leong said they still needed to conduct a detailed review of the project’s cost estimate and the assessment would only be completed in the second half of next year – when the MTR Corp will formally report the findings to the government.

Leong also did not rule out any further delay to the project revised to be completed in 2021.

“Any further delay in site handover will result in an equivalent additional delay to the completion of the north-south Corridor,” he said.

The 10-station 17km link connects existing railway lines to form an east-west corridor and a north-south corridor with six interchange stations.

Some major factors were attributed for the cost overrun and delays, such as the discovery of archaeological finds at the To Kwa Wan Station site leading to an 11-month delay in the east-west corridor and an additional cost of HK$4.1 billion.

Also, the late handover of certain critical work sites at the new Exhibition station, caused by the discovery of a large metal object on the seabed and unbudgeted foundation works at the station, already caused a six-month delay.

As of June 30 this year, the project was about 59 per cent complete with the east-west corridor and north-south corridor being 74 per cent and 40 per cent complete respectively. Under its entrustment agreement, the government is responsible to bear all the work costs.

November 02, 2016

Who has the last laugh in oath-taking row?

Voice of Hong Kong

Today, 07:49

By Chris Yeung –

In a show of his “single-tasking” work approach, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying cancelled a trip to Beijing scheduled this week to focus on his Number One task, or more accurately, enemies, namely the two Youngspiration legislators-elect, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching.

Following a surprise announcement of a last-minute change of his travel plan Monday night, he revealed on Tuesday he would be staying in Hong Kong to handle a judicial review he has filed to stop the pair from swearing in again. For the first time, he did not rule out the possibility of asking the Chinese National People’s Congress Standing Committee to interpret the Basic Law for that purpose.

Two days before a High Court is due to hear the arguments before delivering a verdict, Leung cannot wait to make it clear there can only be one result whatever the court rules. Leung and Yau must not be allowed to take another oath to be given their seats in the Legislative Council Chamber.

The writing is on the wall.

As if the Government remains committed to judicial independence by giving respect to their ruling, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung stuck to his view that the row “could and should” be resolved through the city’s judicial system.

They are nice words from Yuen the “good guy.”

Yuen ‘good guy’, Leung ‘bad guy’

The naked truth Leung Chun-ying, the “bad guy”, has laid bare hours before Yuen spoke was that the Government looks certain to ask the NPC standing body to overturn the High Court ruling if it is unfavourable to them.

Retired judge Woo Kwok-hing has described as an act that “does not look good” when he commented on the unprecedented legal action taken by Leung to bring Legco President Andrew Leung Kwan-yin to court over his decision to give Leung and Yau a second chance of swearing in after he ruled their first attempt that contained offensive words was invalid.

The blatant move by Leung to pave the way for the NPC Standing Committee to step in cannot be an uglier political act that runs the risk of inflicting fresh wounds in Hong Kong’s independent judiciary and the high degree of autonomy.

Michael Tien Puk-sun, a vice chairman of the pro-establishment New People’s Party, said Leung’s move was an attempt to put pressure on the court. He warned it would deal a body deal to the “one country, two systems” policy. Another pro-establishment lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun hinted that Leung was keen to score political points from the oath-taking controversy as the chief executive election heated up.

A blow to ‘one country, two systems’

Though widely tipped to seek re-election, Leung has refused to confirm his plan and when he would make a decision.

He said last week he was focusing on one task in the next few months, referring to the 2017 Policy Address and the related Budget. He asked his team members to do the same, without naming Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, who is said to have told Beijing he wants to quit to join the CE election.

Nothing could be further from the truth. While pulling out all stops to stop the Youngspiration pair from taking the Legco seats they won in the balloting last month, Leung has kicked off his re-election task on two fronts.

First, he wrote an article to defend his achievements on a wide range of policy areas covering land and housing, anti-poverty and economic development.

Secondly, he led the crusade against the two young localists for their “mispronunciation” of the word “China” as “Chee-na” and the “People’s Republic” as “People’s Refxxxing” with a sinister motive.

The miscalculation and misjudgment of the pair over the potential dire consequences of playing fire with those politically-sensitive words have provided a godsend gift for Leung to show his loyalty to the ruling Communist Party by killing off the pair.

By acting tough on the localists now being branded as independence advocates at all cost, Leung sought to impress Beijing leaders pro-independence activism in the city would be nipped in the bud before it could “converge” with separatists in Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet as some pro-Beijing figures have warned.

Words from the pro-establishment circle were that Leung’s chance of re-election was given a big boost, thanks to the Youngspiration pair.

Leung has cast doubts last week about whether those “pushing for … independence stop what they are doing… (and) those insulting their own country shut up” if there is a new leader.

A similar question can be asked: will those who promote independence and “insult” China shut up if the two localists are being banned from taking their Legco seats.

If the answer to Leung’s question is no, the second cannot be a yes.

Any changes will be for the worse. Any brutal axing of the localist pair is poised to fan the growth of localism and pro-independence thinking and, worse, cause serious damage to “one country, two systems.”

Who has the last laugh?

Chris Yeung is founder and editor of the Voice of Hong Kong website. He is a veteran journalist formerly worked with the South China Morning Post and the Hong Kong Economic Journal. He writes on Greater China issues.

Photo: VOHK picture

November 01, 2016

Dark clouds over bridge to Macau and Zhuhai

EJ Insight » Hong Kong

by Mark O'Neill / Today, 14:35

Engineering challenges aside, whether there will be enough traffic is another major uncertainty facing the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge. Photo: HKEJ

At the end of September, the company building the link from Hong Kong to Zhuhai and Macau announced with much fanfare the completion of the 22.9-kilometer bridge and said it should open for traffic at the end of 2017.

The bridge is a major component of the project that runs 55 kilometres across the Pearl River and is the longest bridge in the world crossing the sea.

The cost is 38.1 billion yuan (US$5.62 billion), of which the mainland government is providing 7 billion yuan, the Hong Kong government 6.75 billion yuan and the Macau government 1.98 billion yuan; the rest is bank loans.

But dark clouds hang over the project, both engineering and financial.

The engineering challenges are substantial.

In addition to the bridge, there will be 6.7 km. of tunnels built under sea water that is subject to strong currents and typhoons during the summer.

One problem is that part of the artificial island being built next to Hong Kong International Airport has moved because the seabed is hard to stabilise.

Dragages Hong Kong is boring two 4.2-km two-lane road tunnels under the sea between Tuen Mun and the artificial island.

It cannot complete the work until the reclamation is stable.

The other big question mark is who will use the new bridge.

The three governments involved have not started detailed negotiations on which vehicles will be allowed to use it.

Hong Kong and Macau want to restrict severely the number and kind of vehicles that enter their small and crowded territories.

Only a limited number of Hong Kong vehicles with Guangdong number plates are allowed to enter the mainland. Such plates are expensive and hard to obtain.

So enormous man-made islands are being built at either end; vehicles will stop there and unload cargo and passengers who will transfer to cars with the necessary permits.

The one at the Zhuhai/Macau end has been completed; the 150-hectare island at the Hong Kong end is under construction.

So why should passengers use the bridge?

Currently, they can board a ferry in Macau, Zhuhai or Zhongshan and reach the ferry terminals in Sheung Wan or Tsim Sha Tsui in 60-70 minutes with no traffic jam.

They pass through immigration and customs at both ends. Both terminals are conveniently placed in the center of the city.

Once the bridge is open, they will board a bus that will take them to the man-made island at the other end, disembark with their luggage, go through immigration and customs and board a bus or taxi for their onward journey.

While the ride over the bridge will take 30 minutes, it will take more than double that to reach their destination, depending on traffic. So the door-to-door journey time may be the same or even longer.

There is also a question mark over the cargo. The bridge was first proposed in 1983, when Hong Kong had the finest sea and airport in China that could offer an unrivalled service to mainland manufacturers.

The Zhuhai government carried out a feasibility study in 1992, but the colonial government opposed the idea.

After the handover, the State Council approved the idea at the end of 1997 but it was torpedoed by the Asian financial crisis. Construction began finally in December 2009.

This long delay means that the bridge has lost the economic opportunity it would have had 10-20 years ago. Until 2004, Hong Kong was the top container port in the world.

But last year, it had slipped to fifth position, behind Shanghai, Singapore, Shenzhen and Ningbo/Zhoushan. Guangzhou ranked seventh.

The cities of southern China have rushed to build world-class sea and airports with global connections; for many mainland manufacturers, it is simpler and cheaper to export through them than through Hong Kong.

Another negative is a new bridge over the Pearl River between Shenzhen and Zhongshan that is under construction and due to be completed in 2023. Its price will be lower than that of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai bridge.

If you live on the west side of the Pearl River, in Heshan, Jiangmen or Zhongshan, and want to go to Hong Kong, you can cross the river by the Zhongshan Shenzhen bridge and then go to Hong Kong from Shenzhen.

Users will not have to go through customs and immigration. It will be simpler and cheaper than going via the HK Zhuhai bridge. This may also apply to cargo if you are sending it to the seaport of Hong Kong.

So the taxpayers of Hong Kong may well wonder if they will ever see a return on their investment in this giant project and ask what practical benefits it will bring to them.

– Contact us at


Corruption Spreads in Hong Kong – Suspected Bribery Case at University Election – Bribery Suspect Plans to Study in America

Real Hong Kong News
1st November 2016
Recently Hong Kong University’s Student Union started a petition (closed on 31/October with over 2,400 signatures by students and alumni) requesting the University’s Council to investigate the suspected bribery in the Postgraduate representative election to the Hong Kong University (HKU) Council, after a complaint against one of the candidates was rejected by the Council.
Zhu Ke, a candidate who stood at the election of a full-time Postgraduate Student to the HKU Council, was accused of giving out Red Packets to eligible voters in a WeChat group, and he subsequently won the election after the complaint being rejected.
The complaint was filed by Michael Mo Kwan-tai, also stood at the election. Mo received screenshots of Zhu Ke giving outRed Packets in a WeChat group named “New Hong Kong Youth” from multiple individuals, all appears to be sufficient evidence of Zhu’s alleged bribery action. The WeChat group is believed to be targeting HKU students from China. Mo’s complaint, however, was quickly rejected by the HKU Council which said that the RMB80 (USD) wroth Red Packet was “immaterial”.
Michael Mo filed complaint against Zhu
Zhu: it’s all due to “cultural difference”
When the complaint was rejected, some local HKU students expressed their disappointment in the Council’s decision by posting comments on the university’s Democracy Wall. Some exchange students from China, however, disagree with their views by replying to those comments saying that “Zhu only gave RMB80 to a group, not to each group member” and “giving out Red Packets is not bribery but a habit and purely for fun”.
In an interview published by The Initium, a new media allegedly backed by pro-China individuals, Zhu Ke rebuked all the accusations, and stressed that giving outRed Packets on WeChat group is a “habit and only for fun” and should not be regarded as bribery. He also said, “being a Mainland Chinese and the fact that this case involved money, I’d be condemned forever (in Hong Kong)”.
Zhu also commented that Hong Kong students overreact largely due to cultural difference as “giving out Red Packets is a common practice on WeChat which can spice up the atmosphere in a group”.
During the interview, Zhu also admitted that he is angry at Michael Mo for what he did (filing the complaint), and accused Mo of “taking things out of context” and “fabricating the event”, which all made him feel “a little disgusted”.
Zhu Ke, also hinted in the interview that he is the victim of this case, by saying that the whole situation has made him “sensitive” and “worried about going out”. He also said that he originally planned to study his PhD in Hong Kong but given what happened, he has now decided to further his education in the US. The Initium reporter asked him why he would give up Hong Kong permanent residency as he could have gained it should he spend three more years in Hong Kong, Zhu said, “once I get to the US, I can get a Green Card! Why would I want permanent residency in Hong Kong?”
In response to enquiry, ICAC said that there is no legal ground for the unit to investigate alleged corruption case in an election held in an academic institution.
Commented on the incident, Peter Mathieson, Vice-Chancellor of HKU, said that the incident was between students and does not affect the credibility of the university. He also said that he would respect the Council’s decision. Mo said that Mathieson’s comment was irresponsible given that Mathieson had a vote in the Council’s decision on the complaint against Zhu.
Zhu is successfully elected.
HKU’s Student Union’s statement about the case is available on its Facebook page.
(Source: Apple Daily, Headline Daily, The Initium and Stand News)

Jasper Tsang: At least four people interested in CE post

by HKEJ / Today, 12:12

Jasper Tsang believes the 2017 chief executive race will draw more contenders as the nomination period approaches. Photo: HKEJ

Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, former president of the Legislative Council, said he believes there are at least four people interested in running for Hong Kong’s top job in the chief executive election next year, and that more candidates may join the fray as the nomination period approaches.

In an exclusive interview with the Hong Kong Economic Journal, Tsang said that apart from retired judge Woo Kwok-hing, who formally announced last week that he will join the race, it looks likely that the city’s incumbent leader, Leung Chun-ying, will be a contender in the 2017 battle. 

While Leung will seek a second term, it appears he will face a challenge from two other prominent personalities — Financial Secretary John Tsang and New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip, the former Legco chief said on Monday.

Information gathered by him suggests that some more names could also throw their hat into the ring, he added.

From Beijing’s perspective, the ideal number in the final list should be no more than three, Jaspar Tsang said.

As of now, there has been no clear message as who the central government intends to back for the chief executive contest, he said, adding that there is no clarity on Beijing’s stance with regard to a potential re-election bid by Leung.

The silence is understandable as Beijing fears that if it makes its position known, it will draw criticism for trying to interfere with the Hong Kong election, he said.

That said, the former Legco chief believes that Beijing will not keep silent for too long since the candidates must be first approved by a 1,200-member election committee, whose members are to be elected in December, before one of the contenders is picked for the top job on March 26.

According to Jaspar Tsang, Beijing would want no more than two candidates from the establishment camp, to prevent cannibalization of votes from pro-Beijing members in the nominating panel, if there are one or more pro-democracy candidates.

However, two or more pro-establishment candidates would be fine if there is no candidate from the pro-democracy camp.

Referring to comments last week by Woo who said he cannot understand why those interested in the top job are yet to openly declare their candidacy, Tsang said the contenders have some issues to deal with.

John Tsang, for instance, faces a responsibility issue if he really decides to resign from his current post and run for the top job, the former Legco chief said, adding that the finance chief may be keeping his cards close to his chest pending a reply from Beijing.

Jaspar Tsang has said in the past that he would consider running for the election himself in order to spur competition, but he seems to have changed his mind.

He said recently that he would rather provide assistance to a candidate who he deems fit for the top job. A decision will be made only when he completes an assessment of the political ideas and campaign platforms of all the candidates.

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at


What can CY Leung do to stay in the game?

Beijing is worried about over-competition if CY Leung, John Tsang and Norman Chan (left to right) were to run in the CE election at the same time. Photos: HKEJ

by SC Yeung / Today, 13:59

Thanks to retired judge Woo Kwok-hing, we have been spared for a while from more guessing game over the chief executive election.

At last, Hong Kong people have something more substantial to sink their teeth into — the first declared candidacy.

Still, Woo’s entry did not bring so much focus on himself as on certain undeclared aspirants — Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and Financial Secretary John Tsang.

And now we have central banker Norman Chan reportedly interested in joining the race but more on that later.

There are increasing signs Leung may find himself being sidelined in favor of Tsang.

Observers say Leung missed his chance when he failed to secure Beijing’s blessing during the recent Communist Party plenum.

It’s quite unusual for Beijing to keep silent on its preferred candidate with the election only five months away.

For instance, Tung Chee-hwa and Donald Tsang had won verbal support from Beijing at least one year before the election.

On Monday night, Leung abruptly canceled a trip to Beijing without giving any reasons.

Some have speculated that Leung had wanted to use the visit to make his case with senior leaders but the cancellation only sparked more rumors about his future.

Still, Leung is determined to keep himself in the pubic eye.

An upcoming article to be published in a pro-Beijing magazine this month will tout his chief achievements in the past four years — more homes and higher tax revenue.

Leung also uses his blog to elaborate his views.

In one post, he paraphrased the late US President Harry S. Truman (“The buck stops here”) to point out that he will not shirk from his responsibilities.

And recently, Leung urged his cabinet ministers to focus on “one thing at a time”, referring to preparations for the government’s policy address and budget early next year.

But all these moves have been rearguard action, pending a formal declaration from John Tsang of his prospective candidacy.

It’s unclear which way Beijing is leaning.

Beijing may not pick its preferred candidate at all, which would be in keeping with “one country, two systems”, but Hong Kong people are not naive to believe senior officials will not be involved one way or another.

While playing coy, Tsang is certainly not hiding him ambitions.

All he has said is that he will “consider anything” to contribute to Hong Kong but he has been furiously peppering his blog with what looks like election propaganda.

One article highlights his patriotism. He decision to return from the US is underscored as a show of love of country.

Tsang continues to punctuate his duties with a people-friendly approach that serves to counter any perceptions that he is all business as usual.

By contrast, Leung is unraveling at the seams — thanks to his failure to achieve teamwork.

Some key cabinet members — Tsang included — are refusing to endorse him. Among them are development chief Paul Chan and tech honcho Nicholas Yang, who arguably are hedging their bets on a potential new leader.

Meanwhile, on Monday pro-Beijing website reported that Norman Chan had expressed interest in the job to a senior Beijing official.

That injects a new twist to the unfolding drama but it’s unlikely Beijing will want to have Tsang and Chan — both with financial backgrounds — compete for the top job.

It has to be one over the other. Stay tuned.

–Contact us at


July 30, 2016

Conspiracy & Steamrollering By Lam & Yuen to Ban Edward Leung from Contesting

Hong Kong Columns - Translated

Edward Leung from HK Indigenous has declared not to be involved in “HK Independence” and to support Basic Law bona fide, causing a dilemma for the government. Many politicians have learnt from internal sources from govt that this confirmation letter was brought up by Carrie Lam, Rimsky Yuen and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam, and they told the returning officers this before the nomination period.

Pan-dems said if the govt still insisted to ban Edward Leung from contesting, while allowing those from Civic Passion bloc and Youngspiration to contest, this will further cause doubts from the public and the world, and might cause another riot as this form is said to target Leung.

Who’s who in the Electoral Affairs Commission


UPDATED : Saturday, 30 July, 2016, 1:41am

Mr Justice Barnabas Fung Wah, chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission. Photo: Edward Wong

The Electoral Affairs Commission, the outfit at the centre of the controversial change of the electoral ground rules, was set up in 1997.

Headed by Mr Justice Barnabas Fung Wah and comprising two other members, the commission is responsible for overseeing the elections of the Legislative Council, district councils and the Election Committee that selects the chief executive.

According to its aims, the body seeks to ensure that the “elections are conducted openly, honestly and fairly”.

While the chairman of the commission and the two members are appointed by the chief executive, the commission maintains it is an “independent, impartial and apolitical body”.

For the Legco and district council elections, the commission draws the boundaries of the geographical constituencies and sets out election rules and guidelines.

With the recent decision to demand candidates sign an additional declaration, the role of the returning officers in the Legco elections has come under the spotlight.

Appointed by the commission, the returning officers are in charge of overseeing the election process, from processing candidates’ nominations to announcing the results.

For the upcoming Legco race, the returning officers in the five geographical constituencies are district officers under the Home Affairs Department.

July 28, 2016

Why subdivided flats are a necessary evil -Vera Yuen

Subdivided flat tenants urge the government to offer them shelter before evicting them for violation of the Building Ordinance. Photo: HKEJ

Subdivided flat tenants urge the government to offer them shelter before evicting them for violation of the Building Ordinance. Photo: HKEJ

The deadly fire that broke out at an industrial building in Kowloon Bay earlier this month has once again raised public concern about the safety of subdivided flats.

I already discussed this issue last year, suggesting that the government should improve the living conditions of these subdivided flats and allow occupants to continue to live in those units because of the huge demand for cheap homes.

However, my suggestion got mixed response. While many did not oppose my suggestion as they themselves were aware of the huge demand for these flats, they also did not dare to openly support my idea as subdivided flats in industrial buildings are illegal.

Some of them just put forward some middle-of-the-road counterproposals such as urging the government to build more Public Rental Housing (PRH) flats.

Yet the problem is, the pace in which PRH flats are built is lagging far behind the rising demand for homes among the grassroots population.

So how can we narrow that gap?

Like I said in one of my previous articles, many people, mainly the underprivileged and the working poor, are well aware that subdivided flats in industrial buildings are both dangerous and illegal.

These flats have no fire service installations and the occupants could get evicted at any time by the Buildings Department for violation of the Buildings Ordinance.

However, they are still willing to take the risk and rent these flats because these are the only kind of accommodation they can afford. Otherwise, they would have to sleep on the streets at night.

In other words, the demand for subdivided flats in industrial buildings continues to rise, despite the fact that they are illegal and often in poor condition, because poor people simply do not have any other choice.

Currently, the median waiting time for an eligible family to be allocated a PRH flat, if they are lucky, is at least three and a half years.

So where are these people supposed to live while waiting for their PRH flats?

These are low-income families which can’t even afford to rent a subdivided flat in residential apartments because they have become so expensive these days, and hence illegal subdivided flats in industrial buildings are their only option.

As we can see, if these people had other choices, they would definitely not risk their own lives living in makeshift subdivided flats in industrial buildings.

Therefore, in order to address the issue, the government must provide these people with more choices.

This might sound a bit crazy, but in my opinion the government should facilitate the supply of decent subdivided flats in residential apartment buildings that meet both building and fire safety standards.

Once there are plenty of these flats available on the market, their rent will certainly go down, thereby providing low-income families who are seeking a place to live a better and affordable option.

It is completely unrealistic to rely on PRH flats to solve our housing problem because the speed with which they are built can never catch up with the surge in demand for housing in our society.

That said, I strongly urge the government to think outside the box. In the short run, the administration should provide more incentives for residential property owners to convert their premises into affordable subdivided flats that are in good condition, thereby forcing illegal and run-down subdivided flats in industrial buildings out of the market.

Simply put, the government doesn’t have to take out illegal subdivided flats in industrial buildings one by one. All it needs to do is to let market forces do the job.

I believe it is important for the administration to come to terms with a harsh fact: subdivided flats are here to stay and, to a certain extent, they help to alleviate the demand for cheap housing in society.

It’s about time our decision-makers changed their mindset and started thinking about how to improve the condition of subdivided flats.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 27.

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Political impartiality of civil servants is on the line -Joseph Wong Wing-ping

Zhang Xiaoming, director of Beijing's Liaison Office, has stressed that allowing separatists to become lawmakers will constitute a violation of Hong Kong's Basic Law and 'One Country Two Systems'. Photo: HKEJ

Zhang Xiaoming, director of Beijing's Liaison Office, has stressed that allowing separatists to become lawmakers will constitute a violation of Hong Kong's Basic Law and 'One Country Two Systems'. Photo: HKEJ

The Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) dropped a political bombshell this month by announcing that anyone intending to run in the upcoming Legco election must sign a declaration pledging allegiance to the Basic Law, especially the articles that stipulate that Hong Kong is an inseparable part of the People’s Republic of China.

This sudden and unexpected move indicates that Beijing is prepared to go to any length to crack down on separatism in Hong Kong.

Shortly after the EAC chairman Fung Wah had met with pan-democrats over the new measure, Zhang Xiaoming, director of Beijing’s Liaison Office, publicly weighed in on the issue by stressing that allowing separatists to become lawmakers would constitute an outright violation of the Basic Law and “One Country Two Systems”.

He added that it is a matter of principle and national unity, and hence there is absolutely no room for bargaining.

In other words, requiring candidates to sign that declaration is nothing more than a political decision sugarcoated in legal technicality. After a meeting with Fung, pan-democrats vowed that they will not sign the declaration, even though it might put their candidacy at risk, as they are against any form of political censorship.

Then on the next day the EAC reiterated that the returning officers (i.e. civil servants who oversee the process of election) have the legal authority to seek further information from any candidate who refuses to sign the declaration, and that the officers will seek legal advice from the Department of Justice and act accordingly.

The funny thing is, I went through the entire Legislative Council Ordinance and just couldn’t find a single clause that authorizes returning officers to do so.

The EAC’s decision suddenly puts returning officers in the forefront. At a public event Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said  the power to decide whether a candidate is eligible to run in the upcoming Legco election rests fully with the returning officers, not the SAR government nor the EAC.

It is apparent that the civil servants are once again being used as a tool to undertake a political task given by the government on Beijing’s orders. Doesn’t that constitute an outright infringement of the political impartiality of the civil service?

What is really outrageous here is that the civil servants are again left to their own devices on such highly sensitive issue as to deciding whether a person is eligible to run, while the political masters are sitting on the sidelines keeping away from any possible controversy.

That allows the civil servants to take the blame if the whole thing triggers a backlash among the public.

I am totally against the idea of secession from the mainland, but I am also against any attempt to put our civil servants in the line of political fire and undermine their long-standing political impartiality.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 27.

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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July 27, 2016

The real battleground is the main street, not Legco -Wong On-yin

A recent Chinese University survey showed 17 percent of Hong Kong people are in favor of independence. Photo: Internet

A recent Chinese University survey showed 17 percent of Hong Kong people are in favor of independence. Photo: Internet

Several young pro-independence candidates running in the Legislative Council election in September have reportedly succumbed to pressure from the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC), and agreed to sign a declaration pledging allegiance to the Basic Law.

As expected, some political pundits immediately played quarterback and slammed these kids for not having the guts to stand by their convictions and beliefs.

I think all these criticisms are cheap shots. Like I said in my previous article, despite the fact that these young political rookies might one day turn into the same corrupt and decadent career politicians as those washed-up pan-democrats, I would still rather cast my vote for them than continue to rely on those pan-democratic thugs who have been cheating us out of our votes for the past 30 years.

So what if they signed that declaration? It could just have been a politically expedient tactic to fool the EAC.

Once their candidacy is confirmed after the nomination period, nobody can stop them from preaching the virtues of Hong Kong’s independence.

Only the most naïve and stupid bureaucrats would fondly believe that they could halt the momentum of the pro-independence movement in our city with a piece of paper.

Some might argue that it would amount to cheating if these pro-independence candidates agreed to sign that declaration and then continued to advocate independence during the campaign, which calls into question their integrity.

True, integrity is the cornerstone of a politician’s credibility. However, let’s not forget what we are dealing with here is the Communist Party, which is basically a bunch of ferocious bandits that can’t be reasoned with or trusted at all.

So what’s the point of insisting on integrity in front of bandits?

So will Beijing order the SAR government to prevent pro-independence candidates from running using drastic executive measures?

I suggest the pro-independence and indigenous factions go find out by sending some long-shots to test the waters to see if the EAC and the government really mean it.

If the government did play thought police and terminate their candidacy, it would definitely backfire because it would only create another firestorm of controversy and boost the election prospects of the entire pro-independence camp.

In the meantime, the young pro-independence candidates should also learn the lesson of the so-called “radical” faction in Legco, who achieved nothing tangible at all, and whose popularity is falling rapidly because the general public no longer buy into their tricks.

As such, it is very important for these young activists to note that the Legco is nothing more than an extension of the establishment, or a platform for publicity stunts, and therefore they can achieve absolutely nothing in the Legco chamber.

Instead, the mainstreet is the real battleground where they can truly spread their ideas and make a difference.

Therefore, it is crucial for them to look beyond their Legco seats and be careful not to get corrupted by party politics once they get elected.

At the City Forum last Sunday, some pro-independence student leaders vowed that once their fight for independence in the legislature by peaceful means has proven futile, they will take to the streets again and resort to violence to achieve their cause.

Leung Chun-ying and some pan-democratic buffoons might simply laugh at them. I won’t, and I bet Beijing won’t either.

It is because throughout history, revolutions always follow a very similar pattern: people only resort to violence after their peaceful movement has been suppressed.

One year ago, when I first raised the subject of Hong Kong’s independence at a public forum, I immediately came under fire from all sides.

However, one year on, the pro-independence discourse has not only become a legitimate subject for serious debate in mainstream media, but also gained considerable amount of public support.

It only takes a year for a once taboo subject to become a legitimate topic in mainstream society.

Given that, I believe it will just be a matter of time before our young pro-independence activists translate their slogans into action.

CY Leung’s suppression of pro-independence Legco candidates might turn out to be an own goal, because all it does is further fuel the pro-independence movement in our city, and throw the spotlight on the very parties he wanted to exclude from the Legco election.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 26.

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Is this another bid to turn HK people into Beijing loyalists? -SC Yeung

Two youngsters sing "Basic Dafa is Good" in this satirical video produced by Youngspiration. Photo: Facebook/Youngspiration

Two youngsters sing "Basic Dafa is Good" in this satirical video produced by Youngspiration. Photo: Facebook/Youngspiration

Who ever said our young democrats do not abide by the Basic Law?

Political party Youngspiration, which is fielding candidates in the Legislative Council elections this September, has produced a video in praise of the Basic Law, the mini-constitution that provides for China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong.

Beijing and its loyalists in the territory should be jumping for joy.

Here are the kids who have been accused of advocating independence for Hong Kong, but this video shows them describing the constitutional document as “good” and “great”.

So why should the government go to great lengths, even forcing would-be candidates to sign a form declaring their allegiance to the Basic Law, when it is very clear from this video that they subscribe to its provisions?

Oops … it turns out that the music video cum comic sketch is actually a satire, peppered with intentional grammatical lapses and Cantonese foul language.

The song “Basic Dafa is Good (The Great Basic Law is Good)” is a hilarious take on the theme song of Stephen Chow’s hit comedy flick “Shaolin Soccer”, with the lyrics changed to enjoin everyone to respect the Basic Law.

The song says: “The Basic Law is great, the Basic Law is Ging (勁)”, and Hong Kong people must abide by it without having to ask why.

Emerging from the Occupy Movement in late 2014, Youngspiration has been on the front line of the struggle against Beijing rule in Hong Kong.

The youthful political party believes that independence is an option that Hong Kong people must discuss for the future of the city.

Their song “Basic Dafa is Good” is their reaction to a requirement by the Electoral Affairs Commission for candidates to the Legco election to sign a form declaring their allegiance to the Basic Law.

At least three Legco candidates have received emails from election officials asking them if they accept Hong Kong as an inseparable part of China and if they won’t express any contrary view.

They are Edward Leung Tin-kei of Hong Kong Indigenous, Andy Chan Ho-tin of Hong Kong National Party, and Alvin Cheng Kam-mun of Civic Passion, three activists who support Hong Kong’s independence from China.

These inquiries being made by the election officials are undermining existing election rules because new requirements are being issued to ensure that only candidates who accept Beijing’s rule over Hong Kong will run in the election.

These impositions are a form of political censorship designed to muzzle those who hold views that challenge the current regime.

From the perspective of common law, anything that is not expressly provided in the law cannot be considered as illegal unless there is a court judgment that says so.

These candidates have shown that they have sufficient public nomination and met the basic requirements to be qualified as candidates.

That should be enough to consider them as legitimate candidates for the upcoming elections.

Why do the election officials have to check the background of the candidates, such as the speeches they made in the past, in a bid to determine their political stance?

That is no different from a screening mechanism that will ban candidates who believe in Hong Kong independence from running in the elections.

The SAR government led by Leung Chun-ying is once again using the city’s legal system to achieve Beijing’s political goals.

But it’s a political issue and it should be settled by the government rather than shift the responsibility to the judicial system.

Once again, the courts are caught between the interests of Hong Kong and China.

While the court may be an appropriate venue for the general public to seek for justice in the face government abuse of power, the government shouldn’t leave it to the courts to settle a political deadlock between Hong Kong and China.

The government should act to bridge the gap by reaching a consensus on the democracy roadmap for Hong Kong.

A consensus is far better than limiting the freedom of expression of Hong Kong people and banning those who are opposed to Communist Party rule from participating in the elections.

The introduction of the “declaration form” to prove a candidate’s loyalty to Beijing authorities marks a significant shift from the “one country, two systems” principle.

Hong Kong people used to take for granted their freedom to think independently as the have enjoyed it since the British colonial rule.

However, the “declaration” requirement has opened the door for authorities to check on the political loyalties of Hong Kong people, putting it on top of professional qualifications and capabilities.

That would make Hong Kong a city of politically blind loyalists, and drive away talents and outperformers who are not Communist supporters.

The Legco used to be the last bastion of hope for Hong Kong people who want democrats and members of the opposition camp to speak for them and strictly monitor government abuse of power, as well as to defend the core values of Hong Kong.

However, the new requirement is setting another bar for the entry of legislators.  

It is clear that the government will not tolerate candidates who are supporting Hong Kong independence, even if they are not doing any action – other than talk – to promote their cause.

Some quarters believe that Beijing is taking a softer stance toward Hong Kong democrats before the election, as shown during the visit of Zhang Dejiang visit in May.

But the other side is actually the truth.

Most Hong Kong people accept “one country, two systems” because of realistic considerations.

But don’t forget many Hong Kong people fled China to escape the Communist Party rule in 1949 and the Cultural Revolution in the ’60s and ’70s.

Should all of them confirm their loyalty to China before they could continue enjoying social welfare in Hong Kong?

If the SAR government can ban Edward Leung from running in the Legco elections simply because he voiced out his belief in Hong Kong independence, even if he has not pursued any action in furtherance of his belief, can it also ban ordinary Hong Kong people from voting because they don’t like the Communist Party?

If this thing goes on, can we honestly say that “one country, two systems” is being implemented in Hong Kong? Do we really have “two systems”?

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Where in the world is Pokemon Go like this? -Ben Kwok

A year or two from now, when we look back at how Pokemon took over our lives, we will be laughing at ourselves and feeling silly. Photo: Bloomberg

A year or two from now, when we look back at how Pokemon took over our lives, we will be laughing at ourselves and feeling silly. Photo: Bloomberg

Nothing is more popular in Hong Kong right now than Pokemon. Not even democracy.

Think Occupy Central was a big deal? Think again.

Sure, the student-led 2014 democracy movement occupied entire streets, even crippled whole districts.

But Pokemon Go trumps it in sheer breadth and scope. People of all ages and persuasions are preoccupied with it.

It’s hard to predict where Pokemon will show up next.

You’re as likely to encounter it in some dark corner in Tamar (remember the scene of that infamous police beating?) as in Beijing’s Liaison Office in Sai Ying Pun.

Civic Square is probably off limits to the yellow creature but who knows? The government might reopen it and see what happens.

If you see groups of people absorbed in their handsets, giggling and generally going in one direction, chances are you’ve encountered a Pokemon posse.

You might bump into them in Victoria Park, even Tai Mo Shan (remember the snow-fueled winter rush that left dozens stranded on the mountain?).

If you are eating out, you might be seated next to people trying to catch the digital Japanese characters.

Mind you, this is not happening only in a small city like Hong Kong.

We are only the second Asian city to debut Pokemon. It was launched in its native Japan on Friday after taking the United States and Europe by storm.

Virtual reality has become reality.

The frenzy reminds us of the scramble for the iPhone 4 and the ice bucket challenge two years ago.

Only this one is more viral. 

A year or two from now, when we look back at how Pokemon took over our lives, we will be laughing at ourselves and feeling silly.

But as long as it’s here, we will keep telling ourselves that it’s a good thing for a whole lot of reasons.

First and foremost, it gets stay-at-home kids to go out and have fun. No one does that better than Pokemon in this stifling heat and oppressive humidity.

Now imagine how many pounds would be lost collectively if people went out and walked and how many extra bottles of drinks could be sold.

People moving about makes any city look vibrant. Shopping malls and restaurants, long deserted by mainland tourists, will hum again.

Think about the hordes of young mainlanders who would come to Hong Kong to join the party because Google map is not available in China.

And finally, we once fell for Tamagotchi, the little digital pet we nursed 20 years ago. Diehards organized their lives around it. 

Yes, despite technology and politics — or more precisely the limitations they impose on us — our love for fun things remains.

Thank you Pokemon Go. I hope you will be around for a year.

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What Beijing needs to understand about separatists -Joseph Lian Yizheng

Edward Leung from the nativist group Hong Kong Indigenous could run foul of the loyalty test. Photo: Reuters
Edward Leung from the nativist group Hong Kong Indigenous could run foul of the loyalty test. Photo: Reuters

Edward Leung and his Occupy Movement peers are on course to win in the coming Legislative Council elections, unless they run foul of a requirement to pledge allegiance to the Basic Law.

The measure was inserted by the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC), presumably under Beijing’s direction, to screen out separatists who have been a thorn in its side.

It’s a panicked admission by the authorities that the separatist movement has gained so much momentum it must be stopped.

But the move could backfire.

It could drive voters toward Edward Leung or win sympathy for young activists.

This administration has only itself to blame for the rise of pro-independence forces.

The very idea of an independent Hong Kong has no legal basis.

Article One of the Basic Law stipulates that Hong Kong is an “inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China”.

But if we had a stay-or-split vote, just like in the Scottish referendum, I bet many will opt to leave.

There’s no denying that the separatists — those calling for self-determination, a city state status with full autonomy, an alliance with Taiwan, full independence or a return to British rule — have their eyes on 2047 when the Basic Law expires.

No one wants independence today. The idea is empty talk.

Demosistō’s Joshua Wong and Nathan Law want a referendum before 2047. Hong Kong Indigenous wants a discussion of Hong Kong’s post-2047 future.

Still, this does not make them troublemakers. Neither are they in breach of the EAC requirement on the Basic Law.

In fact, the entire separatist movement poses no imminent threat to Beijing or the SAR government.

I said in a previous column that under certain extreme circumstances, such as if the Communist Party collapses and China plunges into anarchy, Hong Kong could justifiably secede for its own sake.

Another scenario is if the governing authority falls apart and causes the constitution to cease functioning.

An independent Hong Kong might be in Beijing’s best interest and a peaceful divorce is not implausible and would be a win-win situation.

Beijing officials like to say that most Hongkongers are patriotic.

But privately, because of their long colonial history, they are seen by Beijing as running dogs for foreign powers and are easily manipulated.

Beijing’s response is to nip any such tendencies in the bud. The loyalty declaration requirement for Legco candidates is an example of that approach.

Old-school democrats think most Hongkongers genuinely love China but not as well as they should.

They blame the three post-handover leaders for that. They say Beijing must do its part to win their hearts and minds. 

The irony is that Beijing might be right. Hongkongers, by virtue of their own history, have nativism in their blood. They care about their way of life more than they do about the country.

This is something Beijing needs to understand.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 25.

Translation by Frank Chen

[Chinese version 中文版]

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The Electoral Affairs Commission wants Legco candidates to sign a loyalty pledge. Those who refused are still waiting for the result of their appllication for candidacy. Photo: RTHK

Candidates from the pan-democratic camp say they will not sign a loyalty declaration, calling the requirement illegal. Photo: Now TV

July 26, 2016

In echo of missing booksellers case, Shenzhen court jails two Hong Kong journalists for running illegal business

Publisher Wang Jianmin, 62, and editor-in-chief Guo Zhongxiao, 40, published two political affairs magazines in city


UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 July, 2016, 2:09pm

Wang Jianmin was jailed five years and three months. Photo: SCMP Pictures

A pair of Hong Kong journalists behind two political affairs magazines were jailed in Shenzhen for running an illegal business, the same charge that landed five booksellers from Causeway Bay Books in trouble last year.

The duo’s imprisonment came a month after one of the five Hong Kong booksellers, Lam Wing-kee, made explosive revelations after returning from mainland custody, claiming he had been kidnapped at the border and put through eight months of mental torture.

Publisher Wang Jianmin, 62, was jailed five years and three months, while editor-in-chief Guo Zhongxiao, 40, was jailed two years and three months. They had pleaded guilty in Shenzhen’s Nanshan District Court last year.

Guo’s lawyer Xia Qianhai said his client would be released next month, since the pair were arrested in May 2014.

Wang and Guo are Hong Kong ID card holders, but were living in Shenzhen when they were nabbed.

Prosecutors said that their company, National Affairs Limited, which was registered in Hong Kong, had earned HK$7 million through the publication of two magazines, New-Way Monthly and Multiple Face, with mainland readers accounting for 66,000 yuan (HK$80,600) in total revenue.

But the defence said the publications were printed in Hong Kong, and copies were sent to only eight people on the mainland, all friends of the publisher.

Multiple Face magazine, one of two magazines targeted by mainland authorities. Image: supplied

Wang’s wife, Xu Zhongyuan, who helped send copies of the magazines in the mail, as well as a freelance contributor, Liu Haitao, from Henan province, also pleaded guilty to operating an illegal business before the same court.

Xu was sentenced to a year in jail, suspended for two years. Liu was sentenced to two years in jail, suspended for three years.

Xu’s lawyer said on Tuesday that the four defendants said they “accepted the court’s verdict and would not appeal”.

Guo’s lawyer Xia said the prosecution originally recommended at least five years in jail for his client.

“It was reduced because the judge accepted that Guo was only an accomplice, not the mastermind,” he said.

Without further elaboration, Xia added that the prosecution’s accusation about Guo’s “illegal earning” was also rejected.

Under mainland Chinese law, if an illegal business operation involves less than 250,000 yuan, then the jail term will be below five years.

The law also states that if the quantity of banned books in question is 2,000 or more, then the sentence will be five years or below. For 5,000 or more books, the penalty is more than five years’ jail.

Mighty Current publishing house’s co-owner, Gui Minhai, one of the five Hong Kong booksellers who went missing last year, has been accused of running an illegal business in the mainland by ordering his associates to deliver about 4,000 books banned on the mainland across the border since October 2014.

Gui and all of his four associates, including Lam Wing-kee, have confessed to their role in the illegal business on state media. But Lam turned up in Hong Kong last month and said he was forced to make those confessions.

The case of the five booksellers sparked fears that the “one country, two systems” principle was under threat.

In October last year, Gui went mysteriously missing while in Thailand. In the same month, Lam, Lui Por and Cheung Chi-ping vanished while on the mainland. Lee Po disappeared from Hong Kong in December. Lee’s case in particular roused speculation that mainland agents were operating in the city.

Mighty Current and its Causeway Bay Books store specialised in publications critical of the Chinese Communist Party.

Tony Cheung is reporting from Shenzhen

Additional reporting by Phila Siu

Woman claims her 3-year-old son was targeted by a kidnapper

A picture posted on Facebook shows a suspect (inset) in a purported child kidnapping attempt last weekend. Photos:, Facebook

A picture posted on Facebook shows a suspect (inset) in a purported child kidnapping attempt last weekend. Photos:, Facebook

A Hong Kong woman has claimed that her three-year-old son was targeted in a kidnapping attempt in the Admiralty area last weekend.

In a social media post that has gone viral, the woman wrote that a masked lady tried to snatch her child Saturday afternoon in an area near Queensway Plaza, but was foiled in the attempt.

According to her account, the incident happened as the woman and her husband were taking a stroll along with their two small children.

The mother was carrying in her arms a baby who was just a few months old son while her husband was holding the arm of the other child, who was a three-year-old boy. 

As they were walking, a lady wearing a face mask suddenly grabbed the 3-year-old boy from behind and tried to pull him away from his father.

But the mother noticed the attempt and gave a loud shout, prompting the masked woman to let go of the toddler.

As the couple confronted the woman and threatened to call the police, the suspected child abductor quickly fled from the scene.

The mother later wrote a Facebook post, warning women to be careful when taking their kids out, Metro Daily reported.  

Along with her message the mother posted a picture of the suspected female kidnapper, who was believed to be in her forties.

The picture, purportedly taken at the footbridge connecting Queensway Plaza and Pacific Place, showed a slender masked woman in short straight hair and wearing at least two cardigans and carrying a large handbag.

The post has generated a lot of comments on social media, with netizens reminding parents to beware of potential child kidnappers.

A police spokesperson, meanwhile, told Headline Daily that they haven’t received any report of a child kidnapping attempt over the weekend.

If anyone has any solid information, they should contact the police, he said.

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Concern grows over recruitment of mainland-trained nurses

Ths recruitment ad (inset) by Quality HealthCare Nursing Agency, advertises positions for mainland-trained nurses, offering high pay and eight to 12-hour shifts. Photos:, internet

Ths recruitment ad (inset) by Quality HealthCare Nursing Agency, advertises positions for mainland-trained nurses, offering high pay and eight to 12-hour shifts. Photos:, internet

A major Hong Kong clinic has been hiring mainland-trained nurses who might be underqualified to provide healthcare services.

Apple Daily is reporting that the practice is raising concern about loopholes in government regulations.

Quality HealthCare Nursing Agency, a unit of Quality HealthCare Medical Services Ltd., one of Hong Kong’s largest providers of corporate healthcare services, said in an online ad that it needs “a large number” of certified nurses from the mainland.

They will work as leave reserves in hospitals and residential care facilities and as private caregivers, the agency said in an online post.

It promised high pay but did not elaborate.

The agency said has 10 mainland-trained nurses working as private caregivers but do not provide nursing care.

The recruitment comes amid growing concern over potential loopholes amid a planned overhaul of the Medical Council of Hong Kong.

Some reports say mainland doctors and other medical professionals have been hired locally but without a Hong Kong certification.

Another nursing agency, Professional Private Nursing Care Ltd. in Kwun Tong, is engaged in similar hiring practices, according to news website

The reports are stirring up online discussion groups, with netizens saying Hong Kong could be swamped with underqualified doctors and nurses.

The government is considering allowing more mainland-trained medical professionals, including doctors and nurses, to work in Hong Kong under a planned reform of the medical council, reports.

The Nursing Council of Hong Kong did not respond to inquiries.

Lawmaker Joseph Lee, who chairs the Association of Hong Kong Nursing Staff, said the agency’s practice has exposed serious loopholes in current regulations.

Fellow lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki, a medical doctor by profession, accused the government of doing little to clarify its policy on nurses.

He said caretakers provided by private companies are unregulated, unlike registered and enrolled nurses.

Some nursing agencies said there is great demand for private caregivers given the high cost of hiring a registered nurse.

A private caregiver costs HK$1,045 for 12 hours compared with HK$2,450 for a registered nurse, according to Quality HealthCare Nursing Agency.

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July 25, 2016

CCP loses HK youth (but you knew that already)

Posted on  by biglychee

Academics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have followed Hong Kong U in conducting politically sensitive public-opinion surveys. Newspapers report that the latest shows that Hong Kong people do not want independence, or that they do – depending on taste, editorial judgment and selective use of the data…


The poll results are pretty much what you would expect. Most Hong Kong people are realistic/resigned enough to accept the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ relationship between the city and the PRC. At the same time they oppose direct control by Beijing.

The traditional reading of ‘1C2S’ was that these were compatible, indeed much the same thing. However, Chinese officials have changed their stance in recent years, stressing that Hong Kong’s autonomy is limited and conditional. This is a reaction to/cause of the emergence of a loose localist/independence movement among the young. Which brings us to the angle: the younger generation are heavily more pro-independence than anti-…


The professor running the survey is coy about the possible reasons why, 20 years after the handover, young people oppose Chinese sovereignty. Perhaps he thought it provocative to list the ways Beijing has mishandled Hong Kong since 1997 – appointing administrations that primarily serve property tycoons and make housing unaffordable, breaking promises of democratization, flooding the place with Mainland visitors, clumsily trying to imposeSCMP-ButLau‘patriotic’ education, undermining public institutions and the media, threatening rights and freedoms, intimidating and smearing critics, abducting book-sellers, etc, etc.*

A recent addition to this list would be the imposition of the entertainingly desperate requirement that Legislative Council election candidates sign a ‘loyalty test’. Even pro-Beijing think-tank guy Lau Siu-kai thinks it’s stupid,pointing out that it could backfire by concentrating voter support for a smaller range of radical candidates. In other words, the test will do what the pan-dem camp cannot manage by itself – trim the current bewildering array of opposition parties cannibalizing each other’s votes.

Lau patriotically explains that the geniuses behind this policy have no doubt considered this and concluded that it is worth the risk for the sake of national security. He also says it will win Hong Kong’s government brownie points in Beijing. The poor guy has always struggled to sound convincing. The fact that he is speaking about it at all suggests that he can see what is already obvious to those of us less attached to Leninist tyranny – that Beijing’s local Liaison Office is, idiotically, actually nurturing Hong Kong’s once unthinkable pro-independence sentiment.

*For anyone who missed it: a markets-related aspect of the Communist Party’s growing influence in Hong Kong here, with background here.