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 Carrie brings even more outdated policy baggage from long-dead generations of the British colonial ruling caste.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.