Donald Tsang

Political Animal

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 November, 2010, 12:00am

Riposte expected after mainland ordination

Beijing's ordination of Catholic bishop Joseph Guo Jincai without Vatican approval over the weekend has mystified many people. As critics see it, the provocation in the eyes of the Vatican seems to make no sense amid improving Sino-Vatican diplomatic dialogue since the last 'illicit' ordination four years ago. Religious circles are buzzing about possible strong retaliation to Beijing's move. Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, former head of the Hong Kong diocese and now a papal adviser on mainland church affairs, has hinted at excommunication for the eight mainland bishops who took part in the ordination when Guo was made bishop of the Chengde diocese in Hebei province. Referring to the Holy See's 'misguided compassion' under which others on previous occasions have been pardoned, Zen wrote from Rome: 'What other crimes would they not be prepared to commit for 'the good of the Church'?'

He said he wanted to cry alone for the harm done to church unity rather than attend a papal consistory, at which the topic of religious freedom was discussed. Beijing, on the other hand, was said to have decided to go ahead after top-level deliberations, knowing full well the impact it might have on efforts to rebuild diplomatic ties with the Vatican. How matters will develop ahead of a key mainland Catholic conference next week depends on the wording of a possibly damning statement expected to be issued by the Vatican today.

Employer with a conscience?

Is tycoon Michael Tien Puk-sun - the garment chain boss who quit the pro-business Liberal Party last week after a falling out over party direction - the new icon of an employer with conscience? At least one core party member, stung by Tien's insinuation that the business leaders who make up the party are 'heartless employers', doesn't think so.

'Stop joking. How can he be so selfish and use the party as a stepping-stone for his own future?' asked the member, alluding to feelings of 'gross injustice' among fellow members at Tien's parting shot as he left after supporting the boycott of Cafe de Coral. The party said earlier it understood the fast-food chain's wish to stop its paid lunch break for staff, which would have nullified a planned pay rise. The member said that even though Tien might woo more grass-roots support by identifying with the masses, it was too early to say whether he would also get Beijing's backing in the 2012 Legco election. 'There are many who toe Beijing's line while still being able to claim public support. [He is] not the only one [to seek it].'

Tsang steps into the sporting limelight

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, whose administration is fighting an uphill battle to win public support for putting in a bid to host the 2023 Asian Games, finally found time to enjoy the events of Guangzhou's Asian Games. He set off for the provincial capital yesterday and started a two-day visit by cheering for the Hong Kong women's squash team in their game against the national team. In a move that defied protocol, he entered the squash court after the game and had his picture taken with Hong Kong player Rebecca Chiu Wing-yin, gold medallist at the 2002 Pusan Games. At last, he had a chance to be seen in the action - after earlier expressing regret at having no time to watch the soccer matches played by Hong Kong's team, which failed to make it to the finals.