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Politics

Where're The Protesters?

  • 2014-10-20

John Tsang: Blessing HK in America Financial Secretary Mr John Tsang Chun-wah was supposed to explain to the United States on a recent visit how Hong Kong achieves revenue under a low tax system, but he ended up explaining the Occupy Central movement. In his October 5 blog titled "Bless Hong Kong," Mr Tsang said he and his colleagues wavered on whether it was appropriate to attend a US conference during the occupy movement. The 63-year-old official and his team ended up attending the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group annual meetings in Washington D.C., more than a week after the occupy movement, also called the Umbrella Revolution, began. It was seen as a diplomatic move from Mr Tsang: to describe the civil disobedience movement to Americans from the Hong Kong government's perspective. But when asked how the non-cooperation movement — the pro- democracy legislators' threat to boycott Beijing's election framework in the next Legislative Council meeting — might develop, he had to answer, I don't know. Despite Mr Tsang's inability to make prophesies, the financial secretary knows one thing for certain: the plug on the Umbrella Revolution needs to be pulled as soon as possible. "The ‘wall' we have built for many years, might not be able to withstand severe collision," Mr Tsang wrote in his October 12 blog post. "Democracy's prime purpose was to strengthen this ‘wall,' but destroying it for freedoms is more a loss than gain." The self-described insomniac isn't the only one worried about Hong Kong's future. A 2014 fourth quarter Hong Kong Macroeconomic Forecast by the University of Hong Kong shows that real GDP could drop next quarter. While the predicted percentage change in GDP is not drastic, co- author of the macroeconomic forecast Mr Richard Wong Yue-chim wrote in an article for the Hong …

Politics

Occupy in the name of Hong Kong people

  • 2014-10-20

THE student storming of Civic Square lead by Scholarism leader Mr Joshua Wong Chi-fung ended up with 61 arrests, students pepper sprayed and an early start to Occupy Central. After Occupy Central leader Mr. Benny Tai Yiu-ting announced the official start to the movement in the early hours of September 28, protesters poured in to occupy main roads outside government headquarters in Admiralty. The pro-democracy protests escalated with thousands of people spontaneously occupying other areas of the city out of anger fanned by police use of tear gas to disperse protesters. The turnout was "totally unexpected," said Mr Tai.   1. Admiralty Admiralty is the first and most significant protest site since the occupy movement started at the Central Government Complex on Tim Mei Avenue and spread to Harcourt Road and Queensway. 2. Central Traffic is blocked at Connaught Road Central, the financial hub the Occupy Central movement originally aimed to paralyze. 3. Wan Chai Protesters gather at Gloucester Road and Lung Wo Road. Crowds take shelter in the Academy for Performing Arts the night tear gas is used. 4. Causeway Bay An escalating number of protesters spread to Yee Wo Street near Hennessy Road and Lockhart Road in Causeway Bay on September 29. 5. Mong Kok Protesters call on people to occupy Nathan Road and Argyle Street in Mong Kok with sit-in and blockades. 6. Tsim Sha Tsui Canton Road in business district Tsim Sha Tsui is blocked at midnight on October 1, China's National Day and the beginning of China's Golden Week holiday. The occupy movement in Tsim Sha Tsui comes to an end two days later.

Politics

Hong Kong turns a new page as thousands occupy main roads to press for genuine democracy

  • 2014-10-20

Occupy Central has galvanised a whole generation of young people to stand up for their right to elect their leaders. WHEN law professor Mr Benny Tai Yiu-ting wrote in his newspaper column in January last year that a campaign similar to the Occupy Wall Street movement be launched in Hong Kong to press for genuine democracy, he could not have known what was to come next. As The Young Reporter goes to press on October 12, the Occupy Central with Love and Peace movement is in its third week and has disrupted parts of Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay. Protesters, mainly tertiary students, have blocked key roads, causing traffic jams affecting local businesses and tens of thousands of commuters. Occupy Central, conceived as an adult-led civil disobedience campaign, has joined forces with a student-led movement to challenge the establishment's view that Hong Kong should follow what the government called a step-by-step approach in advancing democracy within a framework laid down by Beijing. The defining moment came shortly after 5pm on September 28, when police used pepper spray and tear gas to disperse crowds of protesters trying to break a police cordon outside government headquarters at Admiralty. Protesters' use of umbrellas to shield themselves from the spray has since prompted international media to dub the protests the "Umbrella Revolution," a misnomer, some say, in that the protesters are not trying to overthrow the government. The movement's trigger was a resolution passed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on August 31 that would allow Beijing to decide candidates in future chief executive elections in and after 2017. Pro-democracy activists regard the decision as a "betrayal of universal suffrage," as candidates not favoured by Beijing would have no chance of being nominated. As the protests continue, …

Politics

Key Players

  • 2014-10-20

1. Mr Leung Chun-ying aka CY Leung or "689", Chief Executive of HKSAR Occupy protesters gave Mr Leung the nickname "689" in reference to the 689 votes he received from the 1,200-person election committee in the 2012 CE election. Mr Leung urges lawmakers to accept Beijing's 2017 election framework saying, "We cannot afford a standstill in our constitutional development or else the prosperity or stability of Hong Kong will be at stake." Mr Leung said the occupy movement for democracy is "unlawful". Constitutional Reform Trio 2. Mr Rimsky Yuen Kwok- keung, Secretary for Justice 3. Ms Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Chief Secretary for Administration 4.Mr Raymond Tam Chi-yuen, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs The Hong Kong government formed the Task Force on Constitutional Development in October 2013 to carry out public consultations on reform of the chief executive election in 2017 and the formation of the Legislative Council in 2016. The trio faced criticism for not reflecting mainstream opinion in a July report submitted to the NPC. The second phase of public consultation, scheduled for October, was postponed after the occupy movement kicked off. Occupy Central Trio  5. Mr Benny Tai Yiu-ting Associate Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong This 50-year-old democrat and academic initiated the civil disobedience movement Occupy Central with Love and Peace calling for democratic elections by international standards in January 2013. He has kept a low profile since students took the lead in the occupy movement. 6. Dr Chan Kin-man Associate Professor of Sociology at Chinese University of Hong Kong This 55-year-old academic with research interests in democracy and social movements became a co-leader of Occupy Central in 2013. He says the movement is "touching," and supports the use of non-violent resistance and the student attempts at dialogue with the government. 7. Reverend Chu Yiu-ming Baptist …

Politics

From Occupy Central to Umbrella Revolution

  • 2014-10-20

January 16, 2013 –Mr Benny Tai's debut "To achieve genuine universal suffrage, we may need to prepare a more ‘lethal' weapon — Occupy Central," Mr Benny Tai Yiu-ting writes in his column in the Hong Kong Economic Journal. Together with Reverend Chu Yiu-ming and Dr Chan Kin-man, Mr Tai proposes to force the central government to implement an electoral system "in accordance with international standards" for the 2017 Chief Executive election by paralysing the economic and political centre of Hong Kong. The movement is later named "Occupy Central with Love and Peace". June 10, 2014 – White Paper released Ten days before an unofficial referendum held by Occupy Central activists, Beijing releases a white paper emphasising the central government's total control over Hong Kong. It says: * All the executive, legislative and judicial practices in the HKSAR must conform to the Basic Law. * China's central government has comprehensive jurisdiction over all local administrative regions, including the HKSAR. * The high degree of autonomy enjoyed by Hong Kong is subject to the level of the central leadership's authorisation. June 22, 2014 – Civil referendum Working with the Public Opinion Programme of The University of Hong Kong and the Centre for Social Policy Studies of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Occupy Central activists hold an unofficial civil referendum on the constitutional reform proposals and ask the public if LegCo should veto the government proposal if it cannot satisfy international standards by allowing genuine choices by voters. Of the 800,000 votes cast, more than 87% vote "yes" on the second question. August 17, 2014 – Anti-Occupy Central parade More than 100,000 people march from Victoria Park to Central to voice their opposition to the Occupy Central movement. Some participants reportedly receive money and other forms of rewards. The parade is the culmination …

Politics

[Cover Story] Most parents blind to psychological abuse

  • 2014-06-16

Spotlight on Cinderella - The call for a new law to protect children from psychological abuse

Politics

Public services compromised by manpower shortage, say unions

  • 2014-06-15

Legislators and scholars call for reassessment of manning ratios

Politics

Tough re-entry into the workforce

  • 2014-05-05

Lawmakers have cast doubt on the government's efforts to attract housewives back to the workforce amidst calls for greater protection of female employees.

Politics

[Cover Story]Cash in on charitable donations

  • 2014-03-17

Reported by Tsau Jin Cheng, Karen Leung and Natalie Leung The absence of a centralised charity law in Hong Kong has led to legal loopholes exploited by individuals and organisations to generate income through bogus fundraising. Two years ago, a man bought a pack of Chinese sausages that cost $480 from a fundraising booth on a housing estate called Lung Poon Court in Diamond Hill. The man found no donation boxes for collecting proceeds but gave the hawker his money, all the while thinking that it would be used for charitable purposes. He later found out through his neighbours that the hawker rented the area to set up a booth to do his own business, rather than to raise funds for the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, one of Hong Kong's most reputable charitable organizations providing a wide range of welfare services. Tung Wah invites volunteers from both the public and private sectors – including housing estates such as Lung Poon Court – to help in raising funds for its Tung Wah Charity Gala held annually in Hong Kong. The incident violated Tung Wah's rules of fundraising and Lung Poon Court was suspended from engaging in Tung Wah's fundraising activities for at least three years. Lawmakers have pointed to the absence of legislation and a commission overseeing charities in Hong Kong. "People are punished for inappropriate fundraising only when it has been discovered and reported to the police," said Ms Tam Heung-man, a district councilor who represents Wong Tai Sin. "There isn't any approval process for determining which organizations will be allowed to hold fundraising activities or what kind of charitable events they are," said Ms Tam. She added that the same group of people who had disguised themselves as fundraisers signed up to volunteer with Tung Wah in their charity …

Politics

Plug the Personal Data Leak

  • 2014-03-14

A protracted delay in implementing a key clause of the city's data protection legislation has raised alarm amid heightened risk of private information leakage.