Paris shows us a clear road to a cleaner future | South China Morning Post
  • Sat
  • Apr 18, 2015
  • Updated: 4:55pm
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 March, 2014, 4:37am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 March, 2014, 4:37am

Paris shows us a clear road to a cleaner future

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.
 

Paris shows us a clear road to a cleaner future

If Paris can, why can't Hong Kong? Public Eye will tell you why. Our policymakers are gutless. Our public transport operators are profiteers. Our top officials love their chauffeur-driven cars too much. That is why Paris can restrict car use and offer free public transport to fight pollution but Hong Kong cannot. Smog in the French capital worsened so much last weekend that officials issued health warnings for vulnerable people, made public transport free and restricted car use to alternate days. How many times have Hong Kong officials issued similar health warnings? Countless times. And what do they do each time they issue warnings? Nothing. Our air is getting dirtier although officials claim it is improving. Roadside pollution is a major cause. Yet policymakers break their butts to cater to cars. They build more and more roads and bridges. They even narrow pedestrian pavements in order to widen roads. And they time traffic lights to favour vehicles, not pedestrians. The next time Hong Kong has a bad air day, we should demand that officials do as Paris is doing. We should start with ending taxpayer-financed cars for top officials. We should impose alternate-day car use on all those rich guys whose drivers park illegally with engines idling. Then we should hit all car users. And we should insist that the bus companies and the MTR Corporation, which makes billions of dollar a year, give free rides to all.

 

Pan-democrats in the wrong over Ricky Wong tussle

Who rules the city: the law, the policies or the chief executive? That was the widely quoted sound bite from Ricky Wong Wai-kay in October when the government rejected his television licence bid. The usual bunch of pan-democrats homed in to warn darkly of the law giving way to rule by man under Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Now let's tweak that quote. Who rules the city: the law, the policies or Ricky Wong? Public Eye dares the pan-democrats who donned halos to declare the sanctity of our rule of law to answer that. It will expose their hypocrisy. They have again sided with Wong in his latest tussle with the government, over his purchase of a television licence from China Mobile. It is a licence for mobile gadgets such as phones. Wong tried to use it as a back door into home television sets by replacing China Mobile's transmission method with that used by ATV and TVB. The law does not allow that. If it did, would China Mobile have sold what would effectively have been a free-television licence, minus the tough rules for ATV and TVB, for a paltry HK$142 million? Pan-democrats slammed the law as outdated. But the law is the law. Are they saying we should bend it for Wong because it is outdated? Did they not accuse Leung of rule by man? Wong at first asked the government to put filters in tens of thousands of homes to block his signals. That is like a heroin dealer saying: "Let me sell. Just stop the junkies buying." Imagine if tycoon Li Ka-shing asked for public money to help his business. But since it was Wong who asked, we heard not even a murmur from the pan-democrats. Public Eye is an ATV freelancer. There, we have declared our interest. It is selectively required in hypocritical Hong Kong these days to exercise free speech.

Michael Chugani is a columnist and TV show host. mickchug@gmail.com

 

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