Government spin doctor a softball fan?

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 March, 2014, 3:51am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 March, 2014, 4:20am

Government spin doctor a softball fan?

According to the government, the duties of the information co-ordinator for the Chief Executive's Office are to "co-ordinate media and public relations strategies on major policies and to monitor public opinion". This week, political journalists wondered if another role had been added by the incumbent spin doctor, Andrew Fung Wai-kwong: "reminding" reporters to ask "government-friendly" questions.

The spark came on Tuesday morning, when an ATV reporter asked Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying how he could improve his performance two years on from taking the top job. Leung gleefully spent a total of three minutes elaborating on his "achievements". Rumours soon spread that Fung had suggested to editors of government-friendly media that they encourage reporters to ask that specific question.

"I did not do that," Fung told All Around Town. "I am extremely angry - I don't even have the phone numbers of the editors." While he admitted to recently having had lunch with an ATV editor, he denied using the occasion to suggest the controversial question. "I have no control on the orders [the editor] makes to his colleagues," the former democrat said, adding he "absolutely supported press freedom".

Fung might be telling the truth, but it is worth noting that Leung enjoyed the controversial question so much, he even asked for the name of the ATV reporter afterwards. Jeffie Lam


Politics: complicated in any language

It takes a lot of practise to learn a foreign language, and it takes even more courage to put those skills to the test in front of the television cameras. Christopher Chung Shu-kun, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, once confirmed the suspicions of certain Hongkongers about some of our city's lawmakers when he failed to correctly spell the word "legislative".

But he was brave enough to try explaining the relationship between universal suffrage and Article 23 of the Basic Law, in English. "I think we ask central government to have no limitation for the universal suffrage, it's not practical. It is because the fail of the Article 23 drafted 10 years ago, it makes us lost mutual understanding," he said. Kudos, Honourable Chung, for not turning down an English question in front of the cameras, which many pro-government lawmakers habitually do. Tanna Chong


Google Translate strikes again?

Anyone for a game of "pass the message"? In response to a Chinese translation of an RTHK interview with Chris Patten, the Office of the Commissioner of the Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong criticised the city's last governor for "confusing black with white".

Patten had said that democracy "has been given a bad press in the last few years", but he was translated by a Chinese-language newspaper as saying that "the city's democratic development has been suppressed in the last few years". The comeback from the ministry's office was picked up by major Chinese press including Apple Daily and Ming Pao yesterday - complete with the translation error. Tanna Chong