Public Eye

Slip of tongue or not, Beijing will set the tone on reform

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2014, 3:55am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 March, 2014, 3:55am

Slip of tongue or not, Beijing will set the tone on reform

Does it matter whether it was a Freudian slip, a slip of the tongue, or if Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor really meant it when she said Basic Law experts had given the final word on political reforms? The truth is, however much we yell and shout, the central government will have the final say on the kind of universal suffrage we get. Lam used the Chinese idiom "setting the tone of the gong with one final hit" to mean mainland officials had pointed to the path we must follow. The officials have made clear that path does not include public nomination. Pan-democrats said Lam's words proved public consultation on reforms was just for show. She tried to put a different spin on her comment, but anyone who buys that is a fool. There is no way the central government will allow Hongkongers the final hit in setting the tone of the gong. The sound of that final hit will be emanating from Beijing.


We owe the mainland over triad thugs' extradition

Public Eye is, of course, happy that the two alleged triad thugs accused of knifing former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to are now in custody in the city. But we cannot help feeling uneasy about how the pair got into police hands. Mainland police grabbed them in Dongguan , Guangzhou, where they had allegedly fled, and handed them over to Hong Kong despite the absence of an extradition pact. We do not know if the pair voluntarily chose to face Hong Kong justice. They committed no crime on the mainland and, strictly speaking, could have refused to return although we all know how the mainland's heavy-handed police would have dealt with such resistance. We now owe the mainland one. What will Hong Kong do if, for example, a mainland dissident flees here and the mainland demands his return? The government will have to do a quid pro quo; it would be double standards for us to cry foul.


Swift police work on recent attacks leaves us wondering

Hats off to the police for their quick work in nabbing the suspects connected with two attacks on journalists. If past attacks on journalists are anything to go by, the masterminds will never be caught, but the swiftness with which the police acted got Public Eye wondering. How come they were so swift in tracking down suspects linked to the latest two assaults on newshounds but have come up empty for more than a decade in hunting the dog poisoner? Are newshounds more important than actual hounds? Don't answer that.


Assaults on journalists are a slap in police's face

Whichever way you look at it, the attacks on journalists were a slap in the face of the police. The masterminds of previous attacks are all still at large. The brazen daytime strike on Lau amounted to the mastermind saying: "Come and get me." Despite all the big talk by top officials, including the chief executive and police commissioner, that the government would not stand for it, two more journalists got beaten up just weeks after the Lau assault. If that's not a slap in the face, what is?

Michael Chugani is a columnist and television show host.