Zhu Rongji

Disney dumbos draw Zhu's ire

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 March, 1999, 12:00am


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PREMIER Zhu Rongji is reported to have criticised Shanghai's leaders for having been 'scooped' by Hong Kong in the battle to host the next Disney theme park.

After the mainland city's admission that it stands virtually no chance of beating the SAR in a direct contest for the US entertainment giant's affections, Mr Zhu apparently questioned how Shanghai, which has been courting Disney for many years, could have been so swiftly overtaken by Hong Kong, which entered the fray only a few months ago.

The Premier suggested this reflected poorly on the eastern coastal city's efficiency and laid down three guidelines to be followed in the theme park contest. Mr Zhu warned the SAR and Shanghai must be careful not to undercut each other by giving away too many concessions during negotiations with Disney.

He also insisted the battle must not be allowed to cause any ill-feeling between the two cities. And the Premier expressed some support for what now seems Shanghai's best hope: the building of two theme parks so both cities can emerge as winners.

Liberal Party dissident Ada Wong Ying-kay has been keeping a low profile after her attack on the party's leadership. She refused to speak to most reporters after her open letter was published in one local paper on Friday, leaving her assistant to deny she was trying to put pressure on chairman James Tien Pei-chun.

While her open letter professed unhappiness at the party's U-turn over the Elsie Leung Oi-sie no-confidence motion, Ms Wong was noticeably absent from a meeting last Tuesday where Liberal leaders were grilled on the issue.

That has prompted speculation about the real reasons behind her open letter. Already some cynical souls are suggesting that, given the Liberals' poor public image, it is good tactics for Ms Wong to make such a high-profile break with the party, if she wants to stand in November's District Council elections.

Over at Legco, higher powers are being blamed for the embarrassing failure of the computerised voting system in the Elsie Leung debate.

An insider confided that secretariat staff usually offer a traditional Chinese prayer ritual before lengthy sittings, which have always previously gone off without a hitch. But, this time, they forgot to do so. So the resulting breakdown is seen as the spirits getting their revenge.

A rare and declining species is set to bite the dust with the scrapping of Ralph Pixton's Sunday morning RTHK Open Line show.

Since it was shifted from Saturday, Pixton's phone has been ringing less and less, and even those calls that come in can be less than insightful. One caller last Sunday had what he seemed to feel was exciting news.

As the millennium arguably does not begin until January 1, 2001, celebrating it next year will leave the current century a year short. That, of course, is hardly a revelation, and has been discussed ad nauseam, as anyone who occasionally reads a newspaper will know.

But poor Pixton seemed not to realise this, promising to mull the matter over and even try to contact someone about it. Sadly his show is facing the axe which means anthropologists will soon be deprived of this rare opportunity to study how residents of such a cosmopolitan city can be so ignorant of the world around them.