Political Animal

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

Tsang plays second fiddle at Boao Forum

Whenever Donald Tsang Yam-kuen goes on a trip at which a central government leader is present, the centre of attention for local journalists is when and how the chief executive will meet the state leader. Not so this time. When he attended the Boao Forum for Asia over the past weekend, President Hu Jintao's meeting with Vincent Siew Wan-chang, Taiwan's vice-president-elect, was a much more historic event to cover. Some Taiwanese media initially commented that the importance of Taiwan would be dwarfed if Mr Hu met the heads of Hong Kong and Macau before Mr Siew. It is not known whether Mr Tsang, who met Mr Hu as part of a three-minute group photo session with 50 delegates, was happy with the arrangement.

Legislator given the runaround by officials

Liberal Party legislator Vincent Fang Kang has found himself entangled in red tape as he tries to find out why Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah has not extended the waiver in business registration fees to hawkers. He argues that hawkers are also business proprietors. The representative for the wholesale and retail sector first pressed officials who oversee food and hygiene, only to be told that anything involving money fell under the Finance Bureau. But he was later turned back to food and hygiene officials because it involved policy. Exasperated by the red tape, Mr Fang telephoned the finance chief directly, but to no avail. Eventually he filed a question in the Legislative Council, which he hopes will pin down the right authority.

Councillor may have Legco dreams dashed

Kowloon City district councillor Priscilla Leung Mei-fun might be forced to give up her dream of winning a seat in Kowloon West in the Legco election in September, although she has always said she would not easily give up the contest, whoever her rival for a seat in the constituency.

Dr Leung, associate professor of law at City University, has shown her determination to secure a seat in a number of ways, such as launching a rat-catching campaign in Mong Kok last month, which raised her media profile.

However, political reality is cruel to pro-establishment figures who have no party support such as Dr Leung - especially when your contender is the Liberal Party's new star, Michael Tien Puk-sun, younger brother of party chairman James Tien Pei-chun.

Political Animal heard that the central government's liaison office was in the process of persuading Dr Leung to give up, as it was worried that pan-democrats would take advantage of a standoff between her and Michael Tien, and win another seat in Kowloon West. And there was no sign that Michael Tien would decide against running after securing the party's support. Pundits said Dr Leung had not yet made up her mind.

Lesson one - no more euphemisms

The government's leading advisory group has set out a comprehensive report on how to improve national education through a wide range of avenues - a daunting task that will involve various departments ranging from Immigration to Education. Another daunting task is the recommended promotion of public awareness of 'socialism with Chinese characteristics'. There is probably enough public awareness of this euphemism already - better concentrate on explaining what it means.