Public Eye

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

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 July, 2014, 3:16am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 July, 2014, 3:49am

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.