June 30, 2016

Mr. Leung discovers how capitalism works … or does he? -Stephen Vines

A poster on the internet mocks CY Leung for aiming to 'liberate' Hong Kong with his comrades. Meanwhile, Link REIT merely follows the rules of capitalism. Photos: internet, HKEJ

A poster on the internet mocks CY Leung for aiming to 'liberate' Hong Kong with his comrades. Meanwhile, Link REIT merely follows the rules of capitalism. Photos: internet, HKEJ

He’s just like the son who pleads for clemency after killing his parents, on grounds that he is now an orphan.

The he is, of course, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who has the cheek to criticise Link REIT for behaving just like a commercial company that does not pay sufficient attention to its social responsibilities.

How on earth did he think that Link would behave after the government gave it most of Hong Kong’s publicly owned markets and adjacent properties to manage?

What is it that Mr. Leung, who has spent most of his life working in the property sector, does not understand about how the industry works?

Maybe this sudden concern about Link’s activities comes as Mr. Leung contemplates what he can do about his unpopularity. A populist gesture might just be the fix he seeks.

It is hard to think of another explanation for suddenly noticing that Link is behaving just like other commercial companies.

Low-cost individual stores and stalls are being squeezed out of Link properties and replaced by the big chains that charge big prices.

It is not just the small storekeepers who are being forced out but also various service providers who used to be around when these places were under public ownership.

Unsurprisingly this has led to a high volume of complaints, and Mr. Leung has vowed to do … well, what exactly?

He has ruled out taking these premises back into public ownership and does no more than speak vaguely about how he will look more carefully at the company’s operations.

What he will find is what he has already discovered, namely that Link REIT operates like other property managers seeking to maximize profit.

And there really is no need for Mr. Leung to express surprise that the company’s managers are rewarded on the basis of how much money they can screw out of their hapless tenants.

Is he really trying to say he has never come across this in the property business?

Moreover, as Link itself has just pointed out, it is a public company and therefore, in law, has a primary responsibility to its shareholders.

As Hubert Chak, one of the company’s directors, rather bluntly pointed out, there is “a difference between social corporate responsibility and social welfare”.

So the Link can make all the usual blah, blah, blah, noises that other listed companies make when talking about social responsibility, but this is mainly window dressing — what happens behind the window is what really matters.

All of this begs the question of why the areas under Link control, most of which are in close proximity to low-cost housing, were handed over to the private sector in the first place.

The answer is to be found in the semi-coherent ideology that guides the Hong Kong government. This ideology is semi-coherent because it is so often contradictory.

On the one hand, it lauds the bloated and self-satisfied government bureaucracy, which believes that it generally knows more than anyone else and seeks to regulate and meddle in far too many areas of life.

On the other hand, it follows some of the free-enterprise ideology it espouses, so when it comes to things that would actually require the bureaucrats to manage and improve facilities, they are quite happy to have someone else do it.

They can then hold up transfers of public property and resources to the private sector as an example of why Hong Kong (don’t laugh) has the “world’s freest economy”.

There is a particular carelessness in these matters when it comes to facilities that serve the less well off members of the community.

Thus not only were the markets handed over to the private sector, but other commercial facilities, previously run by the Housing Authority, were also transferred to the private sector.

Private companies have also been engaged to handle matters such as security and cleaning of public buildings.

Maybe these mundane tasks are seen as being below the dignity of the fine bureaucrats who are busy focusing on other things, such as sorting paper clips.

Next we will discover that CY Leung is appalled to learn that some of the private company security guards stationed in public buildings are not in the first flush of youth but are there because they cost less.

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What’s the real agenda behind the medical council reform bill? -SC Yeung

Hong Kong doctors are worried that a reform of the medical council will lead to the influx of low-quality medical practitioners from the mainland. Photo: HKEJ

Hong Kong doctors are worried that a reform of the medical council will lead to the influx of low-quality medical practitioners from the mainland. Photo: HKEJ

While Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying wants a harmonious environment to prevail in Hong Kong as he prepares for his bid for a second term in office, his government is keen on pushing for the reform of the medical council, which is raising concerns in the medical profession.

Why is he insisting on launching the reform at this time? Why is he standing on the opposite side of his supporters in the medical sector during the 2012 chief executive election?

The government wants to double the number of lay members in the professional regulatory body.

But the plan doesn’t sit well with members of the profession, who staged a protest outside the Legislative Council building on Wednesday.

They accused the government of trying to secure control of the Medical Council, and this they said could affect its independence.

From the government perspective, the reform seeks to boost the number of members to speed up the investigation of medical complaints in the best interest of the public.

But why does the government insist on doubling the number of lay members instead of adding to the number of doctors in the council?

Currently, the medical council is composed of 28 members, of which four are lay members and the rest are doctors.

The new proposal will bring the total number of members to 32, of which eight will be lay members.

The protesting doctors, supported by medical students, said such a composition is meant to challenge the professional autonomy of the council through political intervention.

However, several victims of medical blunders and professional incompetence as well as some pro-democracy politicians supported the government proposal in a bid to improve the council’s efficiency in the investigation of malpractices and similar incidents.

The government has been suffering from a shortage of doctors in the public sector, and it wants to recruit qualified overseas doctors to fill in the gap so that the public would spend less time in queues for medical services.

However, local doctors strongly oppose the idea because of the potential competition from their foreign counterparts.

There is no doubt that such a policy will benefit Hong Kong people. But it is not that simple.

Under Leung’s administration, which is known to give priority to the interests of China, sometimes even at the expense of Hong Kong, the reform is seen by some political observers as a way to open the doors for mainland doctors to work in Hong Kong.

Given that all doctors working in the territory need to secure their license through the council, some observers suspect that Leung wants to lower its standards to allow more mainland doctors to come to the territory, or even exempt them from additional requirements.

If such speculation is true, then lawmakers should go over the medical council reform bill with a fine-tooth comb before putting it to a vote.

Allowing more mainland doctors to come to Hong Kong could be a big issue affecting Hong Kong people, given that we have no sufficient knowledge of the level of their competence and professionalism.

We have heard of many cases in the mainland where doctors refused to provide treatment or undertake emergency procedures unless they get cash from the patient’s relatives.

Also, many Hong Kong people have low levels of trust as far as mainland doctors are concerned.

Under the bill, the chief executive has its authority to appoint the lay members of the medical council.

While the eight lay members will not constitute the majority in the 32-member council, they could be treated as representing the chief executive and therefore could carry a bigger influence than their number suggests.

As such, if Leung, let’s say, wants an easier arrangement for the entry of mainland doctors into Hong Kong, the eight members in the council could, despite their minority status, influence the others to side with their position.

Such apprehensions may not be fair as the lay members in the council are expected to think independently regardless of the stance of the one who appointed them on any issue at hand.

But given Leung’s track record of working for the best interest of Beijing rather than that of Hong Kong, such apprehensions are not without any basis.

There have been instances where he is said to have appointed allies to independent bodies in order to achieve his political agenda in those institutions.

Take the case of the appointment of Executive Council member Arthur Li Kwok-cheung as chairman of the University of Hong Kong Council. As feared by many on the campus, Li became instrumental in rejecting the appointment of pro-democracy scholar Johannes Chan Man-mun as pro-vice chancellor of the university.

The bottom line is that many Hong Kong people do not trust Leung, and they are afraid that he may once again use his appointees to push his political agenda.

As such, you can’t blame the doctors if they suspect Leung, in pressing ahead with the medical reform bill, is trying to expand his influence into the medical sector, or probably even put the profession under Beijing’s control.

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Xu Jiatun, Beijing’s former top man in Hong Kong who fled to US after Tiananmen, dies at 100

Senior Communist Party official lived in Los Angeles since 1990


UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 June, 2016, 6:30pm

Xu Jiatun, a former Communist Party cadre who served as Beijing’s top envoy in Hong Kong for seven years through a period of political turbulence in the mainland and anxiety in the city, died Wednesday at the age of 100 in Los Angeles.

Helen Li, an assistant to Xu, confirmed his death to thePost.

The Communist Party stalwart who sought political exile in the United States after the Tiananmen Square crackdown, was hospitalised last month for renal failure and heart problems.

Beijing’s former top envoy in Hong Kong battles for health in US hospital

Xu rose through the party’s ranks over a six-decade career that took him from his native Jiangsu province to a high-profile position directing Xinhua News Agency in Hong Kong.

He served in the position from 1983 to 1990 as Chinese and British authorities negotiated the city’s future in the run-up to its 1997 handover.

But mostly he will be remembered for sympathising with students in the 1989 pro-democracy movement that sprung up around Tiananmen Square in Beijing, an incident that led him to flee the country.

Xu in 1983, the year he took his position leading Xinhua News Agency in Hong Kong. Photo: Xinhua.

As a liberal-minded party veteran, Xu was close to Zhao Ziyang, the former premier and Communist Party general secretary.

After fleeing to the US, he was barred by Beijing from returning to China.

Xu is survived by eight children. Three sons and four daughters live on the mainland, and he lived with a daughter in California.

Hong Kong election watchdog probes alleged illegal supply of exit poll data to DAB during 2012 Legco vote

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen says case will be investigated following claim by DAB lawmaker Christopher Chung Shu-kun his party was able to “pass surplus” votes to another pro-Beijing party based on information from pollsters


UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 June, 2016, 6:14pm

No political party applied to conduct exit polls in the 2012 Legco elections. Photo: SCMP Pictures

The election watchdog is looking into whether exit-pollsters illegally fed data to a pro-establishment political party during the last Legislative Council elections, after a disgruntled party member made the claim earlier this month.

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen disclosed the move on Wednesday during a question-and-answer session in the legislature, when he was asked by a pan-democrat about the case, which allegedly involved the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

“The Registration and Electoral Office is looking into the case,” Tam said. “If there is evidence indicating any approved applicant or applicant organisation failed to comply with guidelines, the Electoral Affairs Commission will take action according to the established mechanisms.”

Under law, any organisation authorised to conduct exit polls during an election should not release the results to any candidate before the close of polling stations. Any breach of the rule could lead to prosecution.

Legco elections are set for September. Photo: SCMP Pictures

No political party applied to conduct exit polls in 2012, but at least three groups doing so were associated with pro-Beijing individuals or organisations.

Tam’s announcement comes after DAB lawmaker Christopher Chung Shu-kun said on a radio show earlier this month that his party had been able to “pass surplus” votes to a candidate from another pro-Beijing party, the Federation of Trade Unions, in the Hong Kong Island constituency in 2012, because the DAB and its supporters were running exit polls.

Chung said the DAB stopped canvassing on the island after discovering its two candidates there, including himself, had enough votes, which would then have allowed space for the federation to maximise its vote share. He said his aim had been to display that he had plenty of support in the constituency.

Chung has been unable to secure the position of being the leading candidate on his party list in Hong Kong Island for the Legco elections this year, set for September.

His colleague Ip Kwok-him, who co-ordinated the DAB election campaign in 2012, on Wednesday defended the actions of the party.

“The DAB did not conduct exit polls,” Ip said. “I never gave any instruction that we should stop canvassing.”

June 29, 2016

Why CY Leung is awaiting the results of Legco elections -SC Yeung

If the pro-establishment camp performs worse than expected in the Legco elections in September, Leung Chun-ying may not be able to run in the chief executive contest. Photo: HKEJ

If the pro-establishment camp performs worse than expected in the Legco elections in September, Leung Chun-ying may not be able to run in the chief executive contest. Photo: HKEJ

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has given one of the strongest signals yet that he is keen on seeking a second term, but he won’t announce his decision until after the Legislative Council elections in September.

Leung has been tight-lipped about his political plans, as his low popularity ratings and the dissension in the pro-establishment camp appear to be preventing top leaders in Beijing from endorsing him for next year’s chief executive election.

He told reporters before the weekly Executive Council meeting that he had not yet decided whether to seek a second term as Hong Kong’s leader, saying he was currently focused on government work.

However, in an interview with the South China Morning Post, Leung gave an indication as to when he might announce his decision.

“Five years ago, back in June 2011, I had not made up my mind. So now in June 2016, I have not made up my mind. There’s still plenty of time,” Leung told the newspaper.

Political observers note that his remarks indicate that he is awaiting the results of the Legco elections to gauge the public sentiment towards the administration.

If the pro-establishment camp is handed a thrashing, that would be an unmistakable thumbs-down to his administration, and, as such, he might be forced to abandon his plans for a second term.

According to the latest poll conducted by the Public Opinion Program of the University of Hong Kong, Leung’s rating slightly increased by 0.2 mark from early June to 38.4, but is still below the warning line of 45.

His latest approval rate is 19 percent while his disapproval rate stands at 61 percent, giving him net popularity rating of negative 42 percent.

With such a rating, the top leaders of Beijing might find it hard to give their blessings to Leung, especially at a time when they are calling for social harmony in the special administrative region as negative sentiment has prevailed in the territory since he came into office in 2012.

Since he became chief executive, Leung has projected the image that his loyalty belongs to Beijing, even at the expense of Hong Kong people.

He has been keen on carrying out Beijing’s policies in the territory, and has used “political struggle” to sideline his enemies.

People now harbor a nagging fear that under his leadership, Hong Kong will lose all its unique qualities and be transformed into an ordinary Chinese city that is no different from its mainland counterparts.

The saga of the five Hong Kong booksellers, who disappeared last year and later found to be under detention in the mainland, has completely ruined the people’s trust in the “one country, two systems” principle that is supposed to govern China’s relationship with the city after the 1997 handover.

According to the same POP-HKU survey, the SAR government’s relations with the central government has dropped to its lowest level since the poll began in July 1997, as Lam Wing-kee, one of the five booksellers, divulged details of his arrest and detention in the mainland, showing that Beijing bypassed standard and legal procedures to neutralize a small Hong Kong bookstore that published books Beijing didn’t like.

In the same survey, the government scored negative net satisfaction ratings for maintaining economic prosperity, improving people’s livelihood, protecting human rights and freedom as well as the pace of democratic development. The rates ranged from negative 6 to negative 33.

With such a score card, how can Leung convince Beijing to give him five more years to rule the SAR?

Leung maintained that he did make positive results in his administration, although people may not be talking about them.

But people believe that he has not made any substantial accomplishments in driving economic growth and protecting their rights and freedoms.

Now Leung has linked his political future with the outcome of Legco elections.

He has also become less combative, trying to be friendly with the pan-democrats and promising to take up the case of the booksellers with Beijing.

Some people may applaud Leung for his efforts, but many believe that he is just after Beijing’s endorsement.

Analysts believe that Beijing has set a goal for the pro-establishment camp to win 40 seats in the Legco election, down from the current 43 seats.

If true, that would show that even Beijing is no longer confident of expanding its support in Hong Kong after Leung has been at the helm for four years.

The target is no doubt the final chance for Leung to show his capability as Hong Kong leader, or at least as head of the oro-Beijing camp.

If the pro-establishment camp fails to meet the target, then Leung’s career as Hong Kong leader is set to last for only five years.

In the coming months, Hong Kong people will see a new Leung – kinder, gentler and more accommodating. 

But we will know that that’s not his real face. We know him only too well.

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Mainland flight almost hits Big Buddha after aborting HK landing

The Shenzhen Airlines plane flew just several hundred feet above the Big Buddha statue on Lantau.  Photo:

The Shenzhen Airlines plane flew just several hundred feet above the Big Buddha statue on Lantau. Photo:

A Shenzhen Airlines flight zipped just a few hundred feet above the Big Buddha statue on Lantau after aborting its landing while at its final approach to the Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok on Sunday, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Flight ZH-9041 from Jinjiang in southeastern China’s Fujian province was said to have violated standard procedures of “going around” after it aborted its landing due to insufficient clearance from another aircraft ahead, the newspaper said, citing a report from The Aviation Herald, which reports daily about critical incidents in the civil aviation industry.

The pilot of the Airbus A320-200, instead of turning left as standard procedures requiredto avoid the mountains, steered to the right and climbed steeply into the sky, bringing the plane near Lantau’s Ngong Ping tourist resort.

The aircraft flew above Lantau at 3,000 feet, which was lower than the summit of Lantau Peak at 3,066 feet and only several hundred feet above the Big Buddha statue, which stands at 2,519 feet.

It was understood that the minimum flight altitude in the region is 4,300 feet.

A man who was hiking below Big Buddha observed that the plane was flying about 3,000 feet near the giant statue, which was later confirmed by satellite data.  He was able to take a photograph of the aircraft.

“Can’t imagine that this was ATC (air traffic control) sanctioned in any way!!!” The Aviation Herald quoted him as saying.

The aircraft climbed to safety at 6,000 feet, then followed the missed approach procedure and was instructed to proceed to another approach to runway 07L.

It landed safely on the runway about 20 minutes after going around.

A Civil Aviation Department spokesperson confirmed that a Shenzhen Airlines flight had deviated from its normal flight path at 9:52 a.m. on Sunday.

It asked the airline to submit a report and would follow up on the incident.

The flight was 1,300 feet below the safe altitude and could have hit a mountain head-on, news website said.

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EU envoy reassures Hongkongers on future after Brexit

Vicent Piket, head of the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macau, says the for Hong Kong, the change will ‘not be that big’


UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 June, 2016, 11:14pm

Vincent Piket, head of the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macau. Photo: Dickson Lee

The European Union’s top diplomat in Hong Kong has reassured residents that its ties with the city will remain “very close” even after Britain formally leaves the union.

Vincent Piket also dismissed concerns over access to the 27 member states for Hongkongers holding passports issued by the British government as “speculative”.

“We want to maintain very, very close relations with Hong Kong, as we do right now,” Piket, head of the European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macau, said in an interview with the Post on Tuesday.

Hong Kong’s already hard-hit retailers to feel Brexit bruises

Questions emerged over the future arrangements for British passport holders after 51.9 per cent of voters cast in favour of leaving the EU last week.

Three million Hongkongers held British National (Overseas) passports as of last year, although many of them were also holders of the SAR passport.

“For Hong Kong, the change will not be that big,” Piket said.

The envoy emphasised that the United Kingdom remains, for now, a member of the EU. In the event that it leaves, he said: “Hong Kong’s relations with the ‘EU 27’ will not change in the future.”

He said Hongkongers will continue to “have full access to the EU” because the general practice is only to reject entry based on perception of illegal immigration.

Thanks to Brexit, a new global financial crash is looming

“I’m sad at the result of the referendum,” Piket said, before adding that the result has to be respected.

But Piket conceded there would be much more to do on Brussels’ part to regain the confidence of European citizens.

“Euroscepticism is a fact in Europe, not just in the UK but also in other member states,” he said. “One problem the EU always had is the difficulty of linking the positive changes in people’s lives to decisions made in the European Council, in the European Parliament, in Brussels.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron has refused to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, meaning any formal application to leave the union will be handled by his Tory successor, expected to be chosen by September.

Negotiations on the UK’s future relations with the EU could take up to two years to be finalised.

June 28, 2016

British human rights panel claims ‘severe breach’ by China in its actions towards Hong Kong

Conservative Party commission cites bookseller disappearances and Beijing’s ‘white paper’ on chief executive election as reasons to review UK policies


UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 June, 2016, 6:48pm

People outside Causeway Bay Books. Five of its associates disappeared between October and December last year. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

Britain should comprehensively review its policies towards China in view of its human rights crackdown, a Conservative Party panel made clear in a report citing the disappearances of Hong Kong booksellers as part of a “severe breach” of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.

In a report seeking to chronicle the mainland’s human rights violations, Hong Kong’s last governor Chris Patten was quoted as saying he was “obviously concerned about what has happened” in the city.

Chris Patten, a former Hong Kong governor, was quoted by the commission as expressing concern about events in the city. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

The Conservative Party Human Rights Commission said the British government should urgently review the mechanisms for monitoring its obligations under the declaration.

The report, which was to be released Tuesday, also called on authorities to convene internal discussions to devise redress mechanisms that could be proposed to the Beijing and Hong Kong governments.

Hongkongers’ view on human rights prospects in China hits lowest level in over 20 years

“The rapid erosion of basic freedom in Hong Kong is of particular concern” to the commission, the report stated. “Evidence received indicates a severe breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.”

“We therefore urge the United Kingdom government to conduct a thorough review of its China policy; to study seriously our recommendations; to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights, the rule of law, and the democratic values at the centre of our relations with China,” it continued.

Martin Lee Chu-ming, founder of the city’s Democratic Party, was also cited in the report. Photo: Jonathan Wong

In response, the Hong Kong government said in a statement that the city “had been operating smoothly under the principle of ‘one country, two systems’” in accordance with the Basic Law.

The statement added the government was “firmly committed to protecting the fundamental rights” enshrined in the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance. “We hope that foreign governments or political parties will respect this and refrain from interfering with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s internal affairs,” it added.

Hong Kong government pours cold water on call for a human rights commission

The commission highlighted incidents that it said indicated “threats” to basic human rights in Hong Kong, including the disappearances of five local booksellers. The report said it was believed that one of the five, Lee Po, was abducted by Chinese authorities from Hong Kong and taken across the border.

It cited Democratic Party founder Martin Lee Chu-ming and former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang in stating the disappearances were “the most serious and most blatant breach” of the declaration and of the “one country, two systems” principle.

These concerns must also be at the forefront


From October to December last year, the five associates of publisher Mighty Current and its business Causeway Bay Books vanished one after another. Their disappearances sparked fears they had been kidnapped by mainland agents, as the companies specialised in books critical of the Chinese Communist Party.

The commission also expressed its concerns over a “white paper” released by the mainland in June 2014 stating that judges in Hong Kong were mere “administrators”. The report also claimed the central government had decided not to offer Hong Kong “genuine multi-party democracy” and “universal suffrage” in the city’s chief executive election slated for next year – a decision that sparked the Occupy movement.

In addition, the commission expressed its concern over the mainland’s crackdown on human rights lawyers.

Chairwoman Fiona Bruce said she recognised Britain’s relationship with China was important on many levels.

Top Hong Kong judge urges tolerance of advocates of independence

“But we believe, particularly at a time when there have been allegations of such a severe deterioration in the human rights situation, these concerns must also be at the forefront of that relationship and should not be sidelined,” the report quoted her as saying.

Additional reporting by Ng Kang-chung

Three HK political dissidents to lead July 1 march

More than 100,000 protesters are expected to join the July 1 march, the Civil Human Rights Front said in a press conference. Photo: RTHK

More than 100,000 protesters are expected to join the July 1 march, the Civil Human Rights Front said in a press conference. Photo: RTHK

Three Hong Kong dissidents who had been imprisoned in the mainland for fighting for democracy and human rights will lead this year’s July 1 march, the Civil Human Rights Front, organizer of the annual event, said.

They are Lam Wing-kee, one of the five booksellers who went missing last year and detained in the mainland for eight months before he was released and returned to Hong Kong on June 14; Ching Cheong, a senior journalist and political commentator who was imprisoned from April 2005 to February 2008 in the mainland on charges of spying for Taiwan; and Liu Shanqing, who was imprisoned in Guangdong province for 10 years for “counter-revolutionary offenses”.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Civil Human Rights Front convener Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit said the three were chosen to lead the march, which marks Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese rule in 1997, because they have shown great courage in standing up for their principles and made solid contributions to democracy, freedom and human rights for many years, reported.

Civil Human Rights Front said it has received a “no objection letter” from the police for the march, which will start at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay around 3 p.m. Friday and end at a bus stop on Harcourt Road in Admiralty, as in the past few years, RTHK reported.

Sham said the application filed to the police projects a turnout of 100,000 but he expects more to join the march.

There are no plans to call on protesters to remain at the destination after the march ends as scheduled, he said.

Despite Lam’s revelations about his eight-month detention in the mainland, the theme for this year’s march will not be about the booksellers, Sham said.

Instead, the marchers will focus on “Combat 689″, the campaign to force Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down, he said, adding that there will be no justice as long as the city’s leader is not elected through genuine universal suffrage and chosen by a small number of Beijing-appointed individuals.

The figure 689 refers to Leung’s victory in the 2012 chief executive election, in which he garnered only 689 votes from the 1,200-member election committee.

The marchers will also push for the adoption of the Universal Retirement Protection scheme and the suspension of several ongoing major construction projects, said.

Asked if the organizer will downsize the march as a way of condoling with the families of the two firefighters who died in the Kowloon Bay blaze last week, Sham said the march is aimed at voicing out the people’s complaints against the government.

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Kowloon Bay blaze: honor heroes by learning from tragedy -Joseph Lian Yizheng

The fire lasted for 108 hours, claiming the lives of two firefighters and injuring a dozen. Photo: Internet
The fire lasted for 108 hours, claiming the lives of two firefighters and injuring a dozen. Photo: Internet

The city is still grieving over the two firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty, Senior Station Officer Thomas Cheung and Senior Fireman Samuel Hui.

Condolences continue to pour in for the families the two heroes left behind.

We are now also seeing the political repercussions of the tragedy at Amoycan Industrial Centre in Kowloon Bay.

Comrades-in-arms of the fallen firefighters and the public are questioning if there was any fault by the commander at the scene, if the top SAR officials, including Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, meddled in the firefighting process, and if the Fire Services Department was under undue pressure to put down the fire, even at the cost of the safety of firefighters.

The best way to remember the two brave firemen is perhaps by promoting public awareness of fire safety, which in turn will help save lives.

ABCs of firefighting

In 2006 I attended a professional training in ocean sailing in the United Kingdom and the qualification test by the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency consisted of fire safety theories and a drill at the FireAid Academy’s training facilities in Southampton.

In a simulated fire, two trainees in full firefighting gear and carrying breathing apparatus were required to climb the stairs to reach a chamber filled with smoke to search for “victims”, and then extinguish the fire with pressurized fire hose reels.

The firefighting theory starts with the fire triangle: fuel, heat and oxygen are the necessary ingredients for most fires.

One thing to note is that even if there is little oxygen in the atmosphere, a fire can ignite and keep on burning as long as there are some oxygenated chemical compounds, like hydrogen peroxide, that can supply oxygen under certain circumstances.

There were oxygenated materials kept in many small, locked spaces at mini-storage facilities inside the Kowloon Bay building. Otherwise, the inferno, which lasted for 108 hours, would have died by itself once the oxygen inside those small cubicles was consumed.

Temperature at a fire scene may be between 600 and 1,000 degrees Celsius, but the protective clothing for firefighters can only function for a few minutes when exposed to a heat of 200 degrees.

Smoke more fatal than fire

The biggest threat at a fire scene is not fire but smoke generated by incomplete combustion, and other than causing suffocation, smoke is also flammable itself and can fuel the fire – the darker the color of the smoke, the more dangerous it is.

Flammable smoke can spread instantly, causing potential “flashover” and “backdraught” when there is enough oxygen – two of the most-feared phenomena among firefighters, and it is particularly so as people trapped may subconsciously follow the flow of smoke to flee the fire.

Tactical ventilation and flow path

Firefighters may have to deploy tactical ventilation to break into a tiny space or staircase filled with smoke, yet the practice is highly risky as changing flow path may lead to dire chain effects.

The concept of flow path of atmosphere, smoke and fire is one of the new firefighting theories.

If a fire breaks out in a confined room, it may go out after consuming all the oxygen inside, but if a window is open, then two-way convective flows – fresh, cool atmosphere coming in from the bottom and smoke flowing out from the top – will sustain the fire, and this is a dangerous scenario as smoke with temperature of 1,000 degrees may permeate the room due to slow convection, fueling the fire further.

If there is a new opening, like when the door is broken open, the blaze will only get stronger with more supply of oxygen and the extremely hot smoke may also pour out from the door, igniting almost anything along the way and even firefighters in their protective clothing may be severely hurt.

This explains why fireproof doors on different floors must be kept closed at all times, as otherwise the staircase or corridor may become a perfect passage for air and smoke flow, causing greater damage.

That’s also why after breaking into a fire scene, firefighters should seal the place again. One way is by closing the door or windows.

Once air blowers are turned on for tactical ventilation, firefighters must simultaneously douse the fire, otherwise more oxygen will only let the flames get out of control.

Thus, I have reasons to doubt if it is safe to open all windows for ventilation if caught inside a burning room, as advised by the Hong Kong Red Cross.

No surefire way in firefighting

Many suspect poorly orchestrated tactical ventilation may be responsible for the death of Senior Station Officer Cheung, after he was found unconscious inside the building.

It may be that he was caught by a sudden rise in temperature and smoke after follow-up actions were not done simultaneously with the turning on of the air blowers.

But don’t rush to blame the on-site commander.

In firefighting, an ex-ante decision can hardly be a surefire way since the actual condition is always overwhelmingly unpredictable.

The outcome of firefighting is determined by a plethora of factors including strategy, personnel deployment, equipment, building structure and design, and even the flammability of items at a fire scene.

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

Translation by Frank Chen

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Residents take photos of the fire scene while firemen search the building for flammable goods after the fire was put out. Photo: Internet

What role can Hong Kong play if an uprising erupts in China? -Benny Tai

Hong Kong people must safeguard their civil rights and freedom of speech to preserve the city's unique characteristics and help the territory serve as a model for potential changes in China. Photo: Bloomberg

Hong Kong people must safeguard their civil rights and freedom of speech to preserve the city's unique characteristics and help the territory serve as a model for potential changes in China. Photo: Bloomberg

China is at a historical crossroads. A drastic social change is on the horizon and the country is shrouded in uncertainty and apprehension.

No one can tell when that change is going to take place — and how.

The reason many Sinologists are pessimistic about China’s future is that President Xi Jinping’s relentless crackdown on dissent and consolidation of his absolute power are at odds with the irreversible tide of globalization.

They believe the present autocratic political system is unsustainable.

However, they also think that even though the communist regime is likely to ultimately crumble, its collapse is not going to take place overnight.

Rather, the party’s decline and final demise could be a long drawn-out process that may take years if not decades given the size, strength and resources of the Chinese Communist Party.

After the June 4 crackdown and Deng Xiaoping’s trip to the south in 1992, China saw the rise of the so-called “say goodbye to revolution” sentiment among intellectuals.

Many of them no longer regarded social uprisings and mass movements as the only means to speed up economic reform and democratization.

They began to see that the best way to undertake reform is in a step-by-step manner under the communist leadership, through which the country would undergo gradual transformation and ultimately achieve full democracy peacefully.

But that sentiment has been losing momentum in recent years, especially after President Xi took power in 2012.

Many new-generation intellectuals don’t buy the “say goodbye to revolution” notion.

Deeply frustrated with President Xi’s one-man dictatorship, many young elites believe it would be naive to think that the Communist Party would change for the better. 

They think only a revolution and the collapse of the regime can bring about a democratic and free China.

Many of those who embrace this view have been inspired by the Arab Spring in 2011.

Others such as the “Color Revolution” in Ukraine also provided some insight into how a revolution can overthrow autocratic rulers without bloodshed.

A nationwide uprising against the Communist Party is not imminent but it is not entirely inconceivable.

What role can Hong Kong play as China faces potentially drastic changes?

First, I believe Hong Kong’s biggest strength lies in freedom of information and free speech. That is why our city can act as the mainland’s window to the free world through which new and progressive ideas can be introduced into the country when a revolution is under way.

Second, unlike their mainland counterparts, Hong Kong citizens are free from political persecution thanks to our long-established rule of law and highly developed judicial system.

Hong Kong can also serve as a supply base for the revolutionary movement in the mainland in recruiting and training new members, as well as planning for actions and raising funds.

And in case the revolution is suppressed, Hong Kong can serve as a sanctuary for revolutionaries, or a stepping stone to asylum in a third country.

For now, the most important task before us is to preserve and defend our unique characteristics such freedom of speech, freedom of information and rule of law.

These are elements that make us fundamentally different from other mainland cities, so that when the time comes, we can be a key player in the movement.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on June 25

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Why people aren’t really in a mood to celebrate July 1 -SC Yeung

Jackie Chan (L) has been slammed by netizens after the actor stayed silent on the Lancôme-Denise Ho controversy. Lawmaker Chan Yuen-han (R) says the government should fine-tune but not cancel the July 1 events. Photos: RTHK, Facebook

Jackie Chan (L) has been slammed by netizens after the actor stayed silent on the Lancôme-Denise Ho controversy. Lawmaker Chan Yuen-han (R) says the government should fine-tune but not cancel the July 1 events. Photos: RTHK, Facebook

As Hong Kong prepares to mark the 19th anniversary of its return to Chinese rule, the government has put up posters on the streets to remind the public of the need to commemorate the special day. 

But the calls for celebration have left most people unmoved as the city is enveloped in a somber mood following a terrible blaze last week that claimed the lives of two firefighters.

Some groups have urged the government to cancel all the planned July 1 events, saying it would be inappropriate to hold celebrations in light of the tragedy involving the firemen.

As citizens are mourning the death of two relatively young men following the fire at Kowloon Bay, it would be insensitive to go ahead with any special events this Friday, it has been pointed out.

Following the negative reaction, authorities said they will tone down the celebrations as a mark of respect for the deceased firefighters. 

However, the events will not be cancelled wholesale.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Tuesday that performances planned for reception at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai will be scrapped, but he made no mention of other events.

That means the other events, including the fireworks show, will be held as usual on July 1. 

A pro-Beijing group, which plans to organize a carnival and hold a rally on Friday, has also said that it will not abandon its plans.

The group’s convenor was quoted by the media as saying that while they respect what the firemen did, “it doesn’t mean the whole city must stop celebrating the handover”.

Firefighters Thomas Cheung and Samuel Hui died last week after battling a huge blaze that lasted more than four days at an industrial building in Kowloon Bay.  

The news has shocked most locals, who are now rushing to pay tributes to the brave firemen and raising funds to support their families.

It is against this backdrop that calls have been made to cancel the July 1 celebrations. 

But pro-Beijing politicians and government officials are reluctant to do so, as they are keen to use the occasion to reaffirm their loyalty to China.

The reaction of the government and some pro-Beijing veterans makes it clear where their priorities lie.

Chan Yuen-han, a lawmaker representing the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, agreed that some plans, such as a cocktail reception, must be adjusted but rejected the idea of cancellation of the July 1 events. 

Continuing the celebrations doesn’t mean that we will be showing disrespect to the “two fire heroes”, she said.

Participants in sporting events offer a minute of silence to pay tribute to victims after tragedies, but the match itself is not cancelled, Chan pointed out. 

Financial Secretary John Tsang, the most popular official in the Leung administration, said he understands people’s feelings over the fire tragedy, but suggested that it may be difficult to cancel events deemed to be very important for Hong Kong and Beijing.

Given the government’s stand, we are likely to see news reports over the weekend that more than a thousand guests and students gathered at the Golden Bauhinia Square for the special flag raising ceremony on July 1.

The events will go on even as a significant majority of the locals won’t really care about the official ceremonies. 

As people are still mourning last week’s tragedy, a group of Hong Kong celebrities, led by Eric Tsang, have organized a campaign to “salute the firemen”.

A music video highlighting the bravery of the firemen will be aired on local TV stations on Tuesday.

There is speculation that the government is using the artists to help soothe the public’s discontent ahead of July 1.

The celebrities are facing questions as to why they didn’t come out earlier in support of singer Denise Ho, who faced a backlash from Beijing due to her backing for Hong Kong’s democracy movement.

Celebrities, for the most part, are keen to stay on the right side of Beijing as they want to protect their business interests and income from the mainland. 

Hong Kong’s performing artists were once known for standing up for all the right causes, but things began to change in recent years after Beijing began punishing those deemed acting against its interests.

Artists who supported the 2014 Umbrella Movement, for instance, faced boycott calls and event cancellations in the mainland.

Given the commercial pressures, many celebrities have been playing safe.

It is no coincidence that the artists’ latest campaign has come about after some Hong Kong people began voicing their opposition to the July 1 celebrations.

Denouncing the “betrayal” by pro-Beijing artists, netizens are circulating various memes and photoshopped images of the celebrities and mocking them over various issues.

“I did not show my support to Umbrella Revolution in 2014″ is just one of messages that have been tagged to such pictures.

Another message read “I support Lam Wing-Kee”, mocking a celebrity for what he actually didn’t do with regard to a Hong Kong bookseller who was detained for eight months on the mainland.

The government, together with its loyalists, is embarking on a public relations campaign to whip up a celebratory mood for July 1, but not many people are buying into the hype.

The public’s apathy is not surprising given the unhappiness with the city’s current leadership, lack of electoral reforms and the perceived erosion of the core principles of “one country, two systems”.

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Joshua Wong distinguishes himself from radical localists -Benny Kwok

Joshua Wong distinguishes himself from radical localists

Demosistō is still for non-violent civil disobedience, according to Joshua Wong. The party backs self-determination for Hong Kong, but will not forget about human rights in China.

The fast changing post-Umbrella politics in Hong Kong might be confusing to some. The political platform of Demosistō, a new party led by former student activists Joshua Wong Chi-fung (黃之鋒) and Nathan Law Kwun-chung (羅冠聰), is often deemed ambiguous. Yesterday (27 June) at a luncheon organised by Foreign Correspondents’ Club Hong Kong, Wong finally came out to clarify his position.

Wong: We aren’t localists!

The number of Tiananmen candlelight vigil participants dropped this year as localistsboycotted the event to show their disappointment at the pan-democrats’ pan-Chinese idealism. Unlike many others in his generation, Joshua Wong attended the vigil.

At the luncheon, Wong emphasised Demosistō’s support in human rights movements in China, contrary to many localist groups. “We fight for self-determination [of Hong Kong], but we won’t forget about human rights in China,” Wong claimed.

In response to criticism on the effectiveness of non-violent civil disobedience, Wong pointed out that violence might not work any better.

“People employed violence as in throwing bricks during the Fishball Revolution [Mong Kok riots on Lunar New Year’s night], but they achieved nothing. The chief executive is going to be elected by 1200-member election committee still,” Wong argued. “It is not about being radical or not, or whether you are pan-democrat or localist, we just don’t have enough bargaining power to bring the Chinese government under pressure. So we Demosistō decided to advocate for self-determination to in order to bring people together in a consensus.”

Self-determination as consensus

Self-determination has become the keyword for localist or pro-independence groups concerning post-2047 Hong Kong. A Youngspiration-led coalition has proposed a referendum in 2021 in which Hong Kong independence might be listed as an option. More ideologically radical groups like Hong Kong Indigenous and Hong Kong National Party have declared support for secession.

Meanwhile, Demosistō proposed to start a deliberation process for Hong Kong’s future by 2030 the latest. “In light of the difficulties currently faced by the opposition, we put forward the self-determination movement in hope of provoking Hong Kong people to examine the Hong Kong political system and decide on their future post-2047,” Demosistō chairperson Nathan Law said. He also believes that another non-violent civil disobedience movement would come soon.

Demosistō earlier announced on its official website that they had raised HK$395,200, 20% of their target. Law added at the luncheon that the 20% referred only to the online donations, the party actually received around HK$900,000 to HK$1 million in total. “But there is still a long way to go. We will seek for more funding during the 1 July demonstration,” Law stated. “So far, we have been avoiding huge donations from a single source.”

Wong’s judicial review application to lower the age threshold for candidacy from 21 to 18 has been rejected by the High Court. This means that Nathan Law and Oscar Lai Man-lok (黎汶洛) might be the only Demosistō members to stand in September’s election.

Brexit and immigration to Britain, Europe and Canada -Contributing Authors

Brexit and immigration to Britain, Europe and Canada

For people considering moving to Britain directly or via Europe, Brexit may change the landscape. Alisha Ma, Halcyon Counsel, answers some questions about the Brexit and immigration.

(Content paid for and supplied by Halcyon Counsel)

Brexit and immigration to Europe and Canada

Alisha Ma of Halcyon Counsel, is a Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant with over a decade in the business of helping people from around the world make a new home in distant lands. In addition to Canada, she has also helped people to immigrate to other jurisdictions in Europe and the Caribbean. She comments on the impact of the recent Brexit.

3442e95Q: What will Brexit mean for people looking to relocate to Britain?

A: Previously, a number of European immigration programmes were attractive because successful applicants, as EU citizens, would have full rights to live and work in the UK.

For example, Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria, while lovely countries in their own right, were often attractive to those targeting Britain as their future home. Given so much of the Brexit ‘Leave’ vote was driven by fears about immigration, this right to travel to, live and work in Britain could be the first thing to be curtailed. However, much is unknown at this point and we are tracking events closely.

Q: What does this mean for people applying to Britain?

A: The Brexit vote could also produce significant change in the political landscape in Britain. Prime Minister Cameron has already announced his resignation and those ascendent in his party could be less open to immigration. People should apply ASAP.

Another option is to consider other countries. Most of my work is with people moving to Canada. The country still has a very open attitude and a positive message to new immigrants: come!

Other smaller jurisdictions, such as Saint Kitts and Nevis, can also provide attractive citizenship options that give preferential access to the UK and Europe. People interested should call a licensed consultant to find out more.

Q: What makes Canada such a great destination?

A: Canadians enjoy visa-free access to many, many countries around the world. It enjoys friendly relations with Europe and deep historic ties with Britain as its largest and most important ally in the Commonwealth. That will not change with Brexit.

The country itself has a vibrant, multi-cultural population and a strong economy buttressed by a world-class education system and universal healthcare. New immigrants are welcomed and the people understand that immigrants built their country ‘from sea to shining sea’!

Contact Halcyon Counsel now at +852 2815 9066 or

Kowloon Bay fire: the government’s latest PR disaster -Aih Ching-tin

Many onlookers had spotted giant cracks on the external walls of the burning industrial building in Kowloon Bay. Photo: Xinhua

Many onlookers had spotted giant cracks on the external walls of the burning industrial building in Kowloon Bay. Photo: Xinhua

Last week the entire city grieved the loss of two brave firefighters in a raging inferno in an industrial building in Kowloon Bay.

However, many citizens could not help but wonder if the government’s response to the disaster was adequate enough.

During a media briefing on government efforts to contain the fire, for example, the assistant director of the Fire Services Department insisted that fumes coming from the fire did not pose any danger to the health of people living nearby.

When asked if there were plans to evacuate the housing estates next to the burning building, the director of the Home Affairs Department said the air quality around the area was “very good”.

But according to an on-site survey conducted by some NGOs, the concentration level of harmful PM2.5 particles in the atmosphere around the fire scene was 40 to 80 times higher than the standard set by the World Health Organization.

The fact that the building on fire is 50 years old also sparked public concern over the possibility that it might collapse because of the intense heat.

Onlookers had spotted huge cracks on the external walls of the burning building, and many urged the Fire Department to stop sending firemen inside the building because the structure might collapse.

The Security Bureau only responded that the second floor was safe, but refused to comment on whether the rest of the eight-story building was safe.

The Secretary for Security did not ease concerns by saying that firefighters should be always ready to take risks in the line of their duty, because that comes with the territory.

Such remarks gave the public the impression that the administration was intent on putting out the fire at all costs, including the firefighters’ precious lives.

Our government officials should show more regard for the feelings and sensitivities of the public, including the families of those who are carrying out their duties, when making public pronouncements in times of emergency and disaster.

Otherwise, their insensitivity would only take further toll on the credibility and popularity of the government.

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

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Bye euro, buy UK! -Ben Kwok

People eat and drink in the sunshine at the Canary Wharf financial center in London after Britain voted to leave the European Union. Photo: Reuters

People eat and drink in the sunshine at the Canary Wharf financial center in London after Britain voted to leave the European Union. Photo: Reuters

LONDON – Nothing is more unpredictable than the weather in London, but the weather here has been at its loveliest since Brexit.

Most commentators see a cloudy outlook for this global city and the rest of the United Kingdom after the Brits voted to leave the European Union – thunderstorms are forecast for the eurozone and the rest of the world as well – yet all I see is a sunny day with blue skies and occasional drizzle.

Yes, many Londoners are unhappy and worried. They’re upset because three in four voted to stay, but the majority of the British citizens chose to leave, leaving a big question mark to everything from the pending new government to the expectedly long and winding negotiations with Brussels in the next two years to what would happen to the most internationalized football club, the English Premier League.

But I have not seen any mass, much less violent, protests at Westminster, although the horrific killing of Member of Parliament Jo Cox, a stay campaigner, still casts a pall of gloom over the nation. 

There are a few bad and angry words on Facebook over the referendum result, but as a whole, Londoners would rather turn to their paperbacks or smartphones to pass the time in the Tube.

The most dispiriting words I’ve heard so far in this part of the world was from a hotel receptionist with a European accent who congratulated us for having more money to spend because of the weakening pound but could not hide her anxieties, telling us that she has booked a summer holiday in Europe – and now she is worried about her job following the market turmoil that greeted Brexit.

For many Brits, leaving the EU is bad, but not too bad.

Just like in a break-up, no one really blames a wife for deciding to leave a bad husband. Who knows, she may be much happier being single again than staying with the wrong man.

From a national perspective, there are many countries that turned out to be better off after leaving a bigger but bossy guardian. Singapore is one example, and there are the Eastern European countries that left the Russian sphere of influence.

Right now, it seems all the nightmarish scenarios are turning into reality, with all the political and economic uncertainties triggering shockwaves across global financial markets.

No one knows if Great Britain would have to be downsized without Scotland (or even Wales and Northern Ireland) or if the EU itself would be dissolved in the next decade, scenarios that the deeply analytical British press is now busily conjuring up after failing to predict that Brexit would win.

Interestingly, however, many visitors from the so-called Far East share the feeling that now is the best time to be in Britain – whether as a sightseer or shopper in the short term, or to pursue secondary or tertiary education in the medium term, or invest in real estate and other assets in the long term.

After all, Made in the UK is an authentic and reliable brand.

And this made me think: how many Chinese tycoons and communist cadres are now salivating over the opportunities resulting from Brexit?

Given China’s slowing growth at home and its penchant for aggressive acquisition of assets overseas, a win-win solution may just emerge from this crisis.

Think the UK will lose? Think again!

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Overcoming the challenges of Brexit

Posted on  by biglychee

Not content with sending the UK and Europe into psychological and economic death spirals, Brexit is apparently wreaking havoc in China and Hong Kong.

It means an end to the touching ‘bromance’between Britain’s David Cameron and China’s Xi Jinping. (People thought at the time that the Conservative government’s bid to be Beijing’s best buddy was a surprisingly cynical and inept political miscalculation. Those were the days…) Plunging UK/European currencies could derail China’s export-basedBl-Brexit-Bromeconomy for good, ordisintegration of the Western world will enable the Middle Kingdom to divide and rule the whole planet – we’re not sure which.

Hong Kong-focused companies that nostalgically cling to the former colonial motherland’s apron strings are being hit hard. Prime victims are HSBC, Standard Chartered and our number-one tycoon Li Ka-shing, whose UK interests include retail, phone, gas, electricity, ports and other highly original sectors.

Vultures see opportunities. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive CY Leung mentions cheap real estate in London, while a top guy at Bank of China HK tempts the city with the exciting prospect of gaining at the UK’s expense as an offshore Yuan trading centre. Financial Secretary John Tsang and Monetary Authority chief Norman Chan talk of caution, prudence and monitoring the situation – honest admissions of cluelessness for which they deserve our respect.

What, we all wonder, about Hong Kong’s retail/landlord sector? Could Brexit by any chance cause it to suffer horrible pain as sales, turnover and profits shrivel up into nothing? It is a mouth-watering prospect.

An expert tries to put a brave face on the ‘crisis’ the sector is already facing. The executive summary…

Top brands need to go back to their original positioning, offering customers a premium experience with high-quality service and exclusive offerings.

This suggests that ‘top brands’ at some point started to provide sub-standard ‘experience’ and low-quality service (which is apparently different from ‘experience’) and – as the observant among us may have noticed – were all selling the same tedious crap. Disappointingly, it also suggests that the ‘top brands’ sector can reform and survive, when all right-thinking people would rather it just died, and the dust blown away with the wind.

The expert says:

It is certainly the most challenging I’ve seen since SARS. But the rents in shopping malls are not decreasing. However, nobody dares to close shops in the luxury space, but it will happen; it must happen.

The cartoon character has run off the cliff and is standing there and hasn’t looked down. Yet.

…many of the big brands set out to impress the mainland Chinese, and they rented bigger stores to show they are big brands … this killed the malls and the interest in those places … I would say reduce store sizes and bring more diversity to malls.

Could he mean ‘sell stuff people want’? This is dangerous and subversive talk.

A big part of the results [presumably ‘profits’] in Asia was gifting … generating more exclusive and over-priced products. But this is no longer the case.

Gifting! By which of course we mean ‘Mainlanders bribing each other’, as discouraged by Xi Jinping. So instead…

You need to go to local consumers and target them directly

Or, indeed, indirectly – just stop targeting people who Thank God/hopefully aren’t coming to Hong Kong any more.

However, we are still not quite getting to the radical and revolutionary stage of ‘selling people stuff they want’. The talk here is all about ‘brands’, which tends to mean overpriced junk. The expert recalls the time 60 years ago when luxury goods were authentic: family-made, high-quality and very limited in supply. Those companies (like LV) – or their names  and logos – were bought by conglomerates, who mass-produced the stuff, eventually in China, and relied on marketing to con new-rich Asian suckers into believing the items were desirable and valuable. Now the market is saturated, and even Mainlanders are getting tired of the avalanche of tawdry, phony heritage/lifestyle BS. So what’s the way forward?

There needs to be an upgrade in the quality of the service … I once purchased a beautiful jacket from a luxury brand, and the salesperson asked me if I wanted to pay an extra 50 cents for a bag. I thought, “It’s raining outside, of course I want a bag. Charge me HK$500 more, I don’t care! If you go into a luxury shop, you should be treated as a luxury client. This is important.”

How to overcome Brexit: charge people HK$500 for a bag.

June 27, 2016

Britain reaffirms Hong Kong ties after Brexit vote

Britain's decision to leave the European Union won't affect its ties with Hong Kong, says a top official. Photo: Reuters

Britain's decision to leave the European Union won't affect its ties with Hong Kong, says a top official. Photo: Reuters

Britain said its relationship with Hong Kong will remain strong and that bilateral ties will continue to develop despite the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Britain is “committed to strengthening its rich and wide-ranging relationship with Hong Kong”, Acting Consul General Esther Blythe said.

“We will continue to work together as partners in support of global free trade, and we will continue to develop our bilateral trade links with Hong Kong,” she said in a statement.

Noting that thousands of British companies do business in Hong Kong, Blythe said the partnerships will endure, in fields such as financial services.

“London will continue to be a strong partner for Hong Kong on financial services,” the official said.

There will be no immediate change in the way British passport holders travel within the European Union, or in the way British goods move or services are be sold after Brexit, the consul general said in her statement

“Following the referendum on June 23, the UK Government has made clear that the democratic will of the British people to leave the European Union will be respected,” the statement said.

“Negotiations on the terms of the UK exit will be taken forward by a new prime minister, expected to be in place by October.”

Britain remains committed to an open, rules-based international system, the statement said, pointing to the nation’s membership of bodies such as the United Nations, G7, G20 and NATO.

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