Political Animal

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 April, 2010, 12:00am

Social Democrats roll out the rallying cries

Central Policy Unit chief Lau Siu-kai did his best to pour cold water on suggestions - raised by a Chinese University survey last week - that growing social conflict in Hong Kong could spill over into violence.

So we wonder what he made of the latest campaign propaganda produced by the League of Social Democrats for next month's by-elections which the organisers bill as a de facto referendum but which the government views as a routine, if vexatious, electoral procedure.

We also wonder what the league's ally in the 'referendum', the Civic Party, which has been fretting that a too-radical approach will deter middle-class voters, thinks of it.

Undeterred by huffing from the pro-Beijing camp that it is trying to start an uprising and promote Hong Kong's independence, the league now appears to be calling not just for one uprising but for five.

Dressed up in the best revolutionary red, the booklet says every vote put in a ballot box on May 16 will be a vote for a revolutionary change.

'Lets rise up together, for justice, the underprivileged, our rice bowls, for education, and our conscience,' the party says. It also calls unequivocally for universal suffrage in 2012, although the date - already ruled out by Beijing - was not mentioned specifically in the original campaign material.

Low-profile cleric returns for quiet farewell

He left in February as quietly as he came 10 years ago, and in a similar manner Archbishop Eugene Nugent, the Vatican's former de facto envoy to Hong Kong who was named as papal nuncio to Madagascar last month, is returning to say farewell to friends.

In a week-long visit later this month Nugent will be honoured by the diocese at a Mass and dinner in the Holy Spirit Seminary to be hosted by Bishop John Tong Hon. A series of other celebrations will be held before he leaves to assume his new posting early next month. A low profile was part of the job for Nugent who as head of the Holy See Study Mission had the job of resolving thorny issues involving the mainland Catholic Church despite having no diplomatic status and receiving no public recognition for his efforts. The Irish cleric is remembered by both the clergy, and in particular by parishioners of St Anthony's Church in Pok Fu Lam where he used to celebrate Sunday Mass, as a kind person, described by Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun as 'a family member' of the local church.

Hong Kong journalists pulling out of Bangkok

As the deadly clashes between anti-government protesters and troops in Bangkok escalate, journalists from Hong Kong are starting to pull out. The development came as the Hong Kong Journalists Association issued a statement yesterday, expressing its 'deep concerns' about the safety of journalists, following the killing of a Japanese cameraman over the weekend. Both TVB and Cable TV sent crews to what has become a battlefield city, but other than builders' plastic hardhats, none of the journalists have been issued protective equipment such as bullet-proof vests. The association called on media management to provide adequate training and equipment to frontline staff in dangerous areas. It is understood most Hong Kong journalists will have been recalled by today.