Political Animal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 January, 2008, 12:00am
 

Tsang shows team spirit

Who said there's no team spirit in the cabinet of Donald Tsang Yam-kuen? The circumstances surrounding last week's sudden postponement of a consultation exercise on public service broadcasting shows there is, and Mr Tsang is very much part of it. It started with a weekly policy committee meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen on Thursday at which some ministers raised questions on details of the paper prepared by the Economic Development and Commerce Bureau. Hours later, Mr Tsang acted on his teammates' concerns, hinting at a Legislative Council session that the consultation, due to start next week, could be deferred. The formal announcement was left to the minister in charge, Frederick Ma Si-hang, at a Legco debate on Wednesday. A source said the sharp turnabout on the consultation - which features the political bombshell of the fate of RTHK - emerged after the paper was vigorously examined at the Thursday meeting. Concerns about details of the arrangements for staff and the uncertainties about the political scene ahead of the next Legco election prompted a rethink. 'The pan-democrats will feel disappointed that the issue of RTHK is off the agenda,' the source said.

Foundation to measure tears for fears

There are indexes on all sorts of things - economic freedom, air pollution, popularity and unpopularity, happiness, you name it. Now there's a teardrops index. Centum Charitas Foundation president Peter Lee Ka-kit says the newly formed group will take account of it when assessing whether to offer help in a particular case. Mr Lee, son of Henderson Land Development chairman Lee Shau-kee, was speaking about the foundation's plan to launch a website called Charity Online next week. The internet link will provide a forum for members and the public to talk about cases of underprivileged people or victims who need help. 'We will monitor the discussion, people's response and ... act on a case when it strikes the hearts and minds of people,' said the leader of the foundation, formed by the offspring of tycoons with the aim of countering the influence of the pan-democrats.

Friends don't always see eye to eye

In a small and elitist profession like the Bar, friends may turn into adversaries, and vice versa. Civic Party legislator and barrister Ronny Tong Ka-wah revealed yesterday that he once recommended that Wong Yan-lung, now secretary for justice, for the post of solicitor general when Tung Chee-hwa was still chief executive. Times have changed. Mr Wong has recently come under attack from pan-democrats, including Mr Tong's Civic Party, for the government's legal efforts to keep Citizens' Radio off the air and the amending of a speeding charge against a tycoon that has put police use of laser guns under scrutiny.

Activist still puts cash where his mouth is

The democracy-loving senior citizen who paid HK$200,000 in 2005 to publish a newspaper advert asking: 'Tell me, will I be able to see the arrival of universal suffrage?' still wants to know the answer. While his identity remains a mystery, Democrat James To Kun-sun revealed that the man, now nearing 80, took part in the pro-democracy rally on January 13. He also proved that he is still willing to be free with his money for the cause, donating several thousand dollars to pro-democracy groups during the Sunday march.

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