A departure from the norm | South China Morning Post
  • Fri
  • Apr 10, 2015
  • Updated: 10:42pm
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 June, 2013, 5:13am

A departure from the norm

BIO

Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.
 

Something doesn't add up. It's got to do with whistle-blower Edward Snowden's revoked passport. The United States says it was revoked before Snowden high-tailed it out of Hong Kong. It's pointless to revoke a passport without letting interested parties know. But our government insists it didn't know. Either it's lying or US security officials are such dunderheads that terrorists everywhere must be smiling. Our government says that Snowden left "through a lawful and normal channel". Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying even said he exited with a valid passport. But WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he left with an Ecuadorian refugee document. Which is true? Departing passengers have their passports scanned at the ticket check-in counter and immigration when they leave. If a passport was revoked, would it show up at this point? Snowden had entered Hong Kong with a US passport. Surely, immigration red flags would have popped up if he had left with Ecuadorian documents, as Assange claims. Such a departure would be anything but "normal" unless it is normal practice for Hong Kong immigration to let people in with one passport and depart with another. Nothing adds up unless you conclude Beijing instructed Leung to let him go. In that case, the chief executive's boast of Hong Kong upholding the rule of law is just bull. Snowden's departure was not normal, it was political.

 

Council's stance is simply garbage

Today you will know why the Legislative Council is derisively called " lap saap wui", like its Chinese name " lap faat wui". But " lap sap wui" in Cantonese means "garbage council". Legco has lived up to that name before but today it will prove it really is a self-serving "garbage council" that puts votes ahead of the overall interests of the society it serves. Hong Kong's three dumps are filling up fast. Wasteful Hongkongers are among the world's top rubbish producers. The Tseung Kwan O landfill will overflow by 2016. Today, the government will ask Legco's public works subcommittee for spending approval to expand the landfills. But the pan-democrats have said they'll oppose it. The pro-establishment side is dithering. Our legislators are too gutless to offend "not in my backyard" Tseung Kwan O residents who fiercely oppose the expansion. They fear losing votes if they confront the residents. The next Legco election is in 2016 when landfills will overflow. The government should let our city be swamped by rubbish, then point the finger in election year at those who opposed the expansion. Let's see how many votes these gutless legislators get then.

 

Dissident's journey from hero to zero

Blind mainland dissident Chen Guangcheng has proved yet again why Beijing is secretly happy to let the Americans have such people. Political dissidents like Chen are hailed as heroes by the West when in China. But once freed to live a life of plenty in the US, they quickly lose their hero status, are no longer a pain in the butt for China, and end up making fools of themselves. That's exactly what has happened to Chen. Instead of being grateful to New York University for hosting him as a visiting scholar for a year after his release, he has savaged NYU for allegedly kowtowing to mainland pressure to dump him. There's gratitude for you. What did he expect? A lifetime iron rice bowl? Even Jerome Cohen of NYU, who helped Chen get in, denied bowing to any mainland pressure and insisted the stint was for just a year. Like other dissidents in the US, Chen's star will soon fade. Public Eye can almost see the smirk on Beijing's face.

 

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