• Fri
  • Nov 28, 2014
  • Updated: 7:48pm
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 July, 2014, 3:16am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 July, 2014, 3:49am

Democracy hopes hang by a thread. Who will blink first?

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.
 

Democracy hopes hang by a thread. Who will blink first?

Beijing gave us the finger. We gave one right back. Beijing told us in a policy document that allowing the public to nominate chief executive candidates was out of the question. Hongkongers told Beijing through nearly 800,000 votes in an unofficial referendum that we would not settle for anything less than public nomination. That message was sent again yesterday, when many thousands joined the annual July 1 protest march. Someone has to blink first if we want universal suffrage starting in 2017. Will it be Hong Kong people or the central government? Can anyone honestly see Beijing suddenly saying public nomination is now possible after having repeatedly insisted it violates the Basic Law? Can anyone honestly see pan-democrat legislators voting for a political reform package that excludes public nomination after nearly 800,000 Hongkongers voted in favour of it? Talk about a stalemate. The government will put out a political reform proposal by year's end. You can bet your bottom dollar Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will have run it by his bosses in Beijing first. That means it won't contain public nomination. The ball will then be in the court of public opinion and the Legislative Council. But the people have already spoken. They want public nomination. That means no deal. Anyone taking bets on whether Hong Kong will really end up with universal suffrage in 2017?

 

Some inconvenient facts about the new towns

Have Hongkongers become so gullible that they can be fooled all of the time? Can't they see through the fog of politics that have shrouded the truth behind the northeast New Territories development? What sickens Public Eye is that the Hong Kong public is being blackmailed by a bunch of villagers aided by politicians who care more about serving their own interests than society. The planned new towns will provide decent housing for 175,000 people. About 60 per cent will be public or government-subsidised flats for low-income families. Only about 1,000 families will be uprooted. Many are squatter families who pay nothing for their homes now. Yet they will be paid HK$600,000 for moving. Those who want to continue farming will be given new land. But greed knows no limit. Some are demanding HK$2 million to move. That's money from your tax dollars. Public Eye is no fan of property tycoons, but in the case of the new towns, villagers are not being uprooted so tycoons can profit by building luxury homes. Most of the new homes will be for ordinary Hongkongers. But these are inconvenient facts for our self-serving politicians. They have chosen instead to back the villagers and their supporters who stormed the Legislative Council. These same politicians have slammed the C.Y. Leung administration for doing nothing about subdivided flats, the shortage of public housing, and unaffordable home prices. Yet they now stand in the way of decent and affordable homes for 175,000 just to serve their own interests by backing a few hundred people who want HK$2 million from the public purse.

 

Don't turn CY hatred into a family affair

Many Hongkongers loathe C.Y. Leung. But family should be off-limits, even for those who despise him. The man has asked for breathing space while he deals with his troubled 22-year-old daughter, who posted Facebook pictures of a slashed wrist. Some say she forfeited her right to privacy by making public her apparent suicide attempt. But surely, Hongkongers are compassionate people rather than circling vultures that feed on those who are down.

 

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

 

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16

This article is now closed to comments

mymak
This is a complicated issue. One could certainly question the choice of words that Mr. Chugani is using. People who genuinely live in licensed houses that were licensed to their families are not squatters. They were licensed to live there in the 1960s because they were not indigenous villagers and farmed the land. But in many cases the original licensees are now renting out the properties or have sold them (on the black market). $600,000 and a flat should be more than ample for the second group of people.
The second issue is not so complicated. You should, I think, apologise to Mr. Chugani for such a vehement personal attack. It should not be acceptable to raise the issue of someones' race/ethnicity when discussing public issues.
53990b0b-86cc-40d7-90c9-35040a320969
Interesting comments here, support to Michael.
Kubrick
I must agree. Last week was a new low for the SCMP, when it published the pictures of a traumatized young lady having committed self-harm. Attempts to justify this on the grounds that her father holds a certain position were lame, self-serving and unsustainable. If the Editor had any morals he would apologize.
The superficial attempts to make things good with a story about Regina IP's daughter laid bare the low standards at the SCMP.
whoaman
Yes, these legislators are a bunch of jokers regarding almost all the latest issues. We need more housing, and I have no mercy for most HK villagers, almost all of whom are greedy land owners (at least all the ones I've met and had as landlords. Lau Wong Crook is the classic example as well). Even squatters have to eventually pack up and move on.
mymak
blue - its been interesting talking with you this morning - but I have to leave now. I think the one thing we can agree on is that the SCMP really needs to sort out the 'REPLY' function on this site. Half the time it doesn't work.
blue
1

"Who do you compensate - the license holders or the tenants?"

If the tenant bought the license for a flat fee and are essentially the new de facto license holders, then I recognize them as the new property owners.

2.

"The point is that race should not be an issue in deciding whether you agree with someone or not. What Mr. Chugani was doing by writing about his experiences was to say that he would not run away from racists. He may still hold the same political views as those racists but with the exception of their racism. You can't simply change what you believe in because a minority who believe the same thing turn out to be bigots. "

You are right that Michael can't simply change his beliefs because others who share his belief also happen to be bigots. But I didn't ask him to change his beliefs. He is free to have whatever belief he wants. It's a free society after all, and I'd never support the suppression of Michael's beliefs. But without a doubt my point that Michael is a big time self hating Pro Beijing Stooge is proven.
wonderkov
Mark my words. There will be riots on the streets if Beijing does not allow universal sufferage by 2017. HK will become truly ungovernable.
mymak
blue -
1.Who do you compensate - the license holders or the tenants? Why pay $2million to someone who is just renting a property? This is not helping out ordinary people, this is negligent use of taxpayers money. All licensed house owners know the deal. It is that at any time the government can take back the property and they will receive government housing. They seldom actually work the land anymore so it is just a house. A straight trade but now they need to pay a small amount of rent.
2. I see your point. I remember reading the original story, but.. The point is that race should not be an issue in deciding whether you agree with someone or not. What Mr. Chugani was doing by writing about his experiences was to say that he would not run away from racists. He may still hold the same political views as those racists but with the exception of their racism. You can't simply change what you believe in because a minority who believe the same thing turn out to be bigots.
blue
Indeed. The comment system is quite broken. It was quite interesting talking with you as well! Cheers!
kctony
yes, instigated by some pro-Beijing fanatics.

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