Universal suffrage in Hong Kong

Political Animal

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 January, 2008, 12:00am

Position statement on long road to democracy

Senior citizens, in both age and prominence in the community, added a venerable touch to Sunday's pro-democracy rally, as the usual suspects trudged their well-worn path from Victoria Park to Central. The march was notable in that it was the first time that the quartet often referred to as the 'Big Four' of the pro-democracy movement had appeared together at such a rally. But what can we read into their relative positions in the long procession? Well and truly out in front was the outspoken prelate Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, right behind the banner demanding universal suffrage in 2012 and at the head of a band of old folk pleading to be given the vote in their lifetime. Democratic Party founding chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming and Apple Daily publisher Jimmy Lai Chee-ying strode together in the middle of it all. Fetching up the rear - about as far from the 2012 banner as it was possible to be - was newly elected legislator Anson Chan Fang On-sang and her family. Any significance in that, in view of the fact that - despite the theme of the march - Mrs Chan advised the populace that the real goal was universal suffrage in 2017? Probably not.

Readiness with a five-year difference

While senior citizens pressed for universal suffrage in 2012 fearing they might not live long enough to cast a vote for chief executive, a group of youth leaders and students taking part in a political forum displayed greater patience. Participants who spoke at the forum, attended by Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung, said Hong Kong needed time to prepare for democracy. In a counter-propaganda offensive against the democrats' slogan '2012: we are ready', in a full-page advertisement in some Chinese-language newspapers yesterday, the youth leaders declared: '2017: we are ready.' Did this more relaxed attitude - at odds with the usual impetuousness of youth - have anything to do with the fact that the symposium involved a list of Beijing-friendly groups and was held across the border at the Mission Hills Golf Club in Dongguan ? Of course not.

Tsang set to rub shoulders with royals

In his first visit to the Middle East since taking the top job in 2005, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen is poised for a right royal reception in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Arrangements are being made for him to stay at the rulers' palaces and meet the two nations' royal families during a trip beginning on January 25. If confirmed, that will surely be a classy trip, even though Mr Tsang and local business delegates will give the seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai a miss.

Offer for disgraced chief

Disgraced broadcasting chief Chu Pui-hing, who relinquished the helm of RTHK last July, has been approached by Robert Chua Wah-peng and his wife to help expand their interactive television channel into the mainland. They seem to be forgiving about his alleged affair with a table dancer named Coco. 'I think his private life and his professions are two different things. It's a pity that the media like to turn one's misfortune into news,' Mrs Chua said. But the rules prohibit senior officials taking up jobs that may arouse conflict of interest so shortly after departure.