About 'guanxi, face and connections'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 August, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 August, 2000, 12:00am

Dr Robert Chung said the public should look at his claims from a sociological perspective, telling the inquiry he did not intend to make allegations against anyone in his column, published in the South China Morning Post on July 7.

He said the public should read his column from the perspective of what the phenomenon meant for Hong Kong. Dr Chung said he had wanted to draw attention to 'traditional Chinese practices' like guanxi (relationship), giving face, and connections. 'For example, how messages are transmitted through various channels. And why the course of action would be taken like that. Society is run like this. We all should bear responsibility because society encourages such practices. I was thinking along these lines. It is not a matter of right or wrong.'

Dr Chung said he was surprised the Post had also printed on July 7 a front-page news story based on his column, without telling him in advance. If it had done so, he would have been more prepared, he said. Dr Chung, cross-examined by Alan Hoo SC, said he had not intended to say that Mr Tung had asked him to stop opinion polls on him.

He said he was aware of Mr Tung's denial of his claims and had tried to shift media attention to the message that his polls were not welcome.

Panel chairman Mr Justice Noel Power rebuked Mr Hoo for his criticism of the way the South China Morning Post reported some of Monday's testimony. 'We do not have to disabuse articles day by day in the press. We want to get on with this inquiry. . . We do not want to have these [press clippings] waved about at us. If they are misreporting, then you must complain to the press or the Press Council . . . but please get on with the subject of this inquiry,' he said.

Mr Justice Power rejected a request from Mr Hoo to call a Post reporter to testify. 'We do not consider that Miss [Angela] Li could give any evidence which would assist the panel in the resolution of the questions raised by its terms of reference,' he said.

Editor's note: A Post reporter interviewed Dr Chung by phone the night before the July 7 article appeared and told him a news story was planned.