Political Animal

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 December, 2010, 12:00am

The temptation of smoked salmon

Jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo will be absent from the award ceremony in Oslo tomorrow, but his image is expected to be everywhere in the Norwegian capital. His friends and supporters from Hong Kong are taking suitcase-loads of materials which bear his name and photo to be distributed to guests at the ceremony. 'We are bringing a message to the international community that Hong Kong people seek Liu Xiaobo's release,' said lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, who left last night with Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan and vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing. They have badges with Liu's face on them, books he authored and postcards calling for Liu's release. What do they hope to do with the empty luggage when they return? 'Why don't we fill them with Norwegian smoked salmon?' Lee said.

Will the chief judge's post be vacant for long?

We have reported on the rumoured departure of Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung before completing his term in July 2012. Despite his denial of such rumours, more speculation has emerged within the legal sector about his future. One lawyer pointed out that since Geoffrey Ma Tao-li succeeded Andrew Li Kwok-nang as chief justice in September, the position of the chief judge of the High Court has remained vacant. 'It has been rumoured for some time that Wong's interest lies in a judicial rather than a political future, and if that is right this might help to explain things,' the lawyer said.

Political jargon can be handy

Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen is seizing every opportunity to showcase his knowledge about the motherland. Political Animal is impressed that Tang - the likely contender for the chief executive in 2012 - is using political jargon frequently used by leaders of the Communist Party. Addressing a seminar for the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre yesterday, he likened Hong Kong to a piece in a chess game and emphasised there was a need to put Hong Kong's long-term development in the perspective of the overall development of the whole country. His remarks are reminiscent of those of late state leader Chen Yun , who in 1959 said it was necessary to co-ordinate all the activities of the nation like pieces in a chess game. Borrowing the wisdom of another late state leader, Tang said the starting point for discussing Hong Kong's role in the nation's 12th five-year programme was the 'two beneficial' standard to benefit the city's prosperity and stability and the country's development. Sounds like the 'three beneficial' standard adopted by Deng Xiaoping in judging the mainland government's work? A quick learner, Tang is catching up fast with a possible rival, Executive Council convenor Leung Chun-ying, who is known for his knowledge about the mainland.

An emotional ... and empty outburst

Wong Kwok-hing of the Federation of Trade Unions was yesterday heavily criticised by independent democrat Andrew Cheng Kar-foo, who accused his union of claiming to back tougher drink-driving penalties without backing Cheng's call for a lifetime ban for serial offenders. In an emotional outburst, Cheng pushed away the speaking podium during a debate and knocked over his glass on his table. Cheng later apologised, as television cameras broadcast live an empty chair - Wong was not even in the chamber.