Could pan-dems pay for party-funding law?
Liberal Party leader James Tien Pei-chun says his business-friendly group has nothing to fear from legislation to open up parties' finances to public scrutiny - unlike the pan-democratic camp. The law was mooted after the city's biggest party, the Beijing-loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, raised a record HK$63.8 million at its fund-raising dinner last week. "If there was such legislation, the Liberals would be the party with the least problems because most of our money comes from the business sector," Tien said. But he believes it could backfire on the pan-democrats by exposing donations from "foreign organisations". And Tien argues that the law may not be needed anyway, as a cap is in place on election expenses and candidates must disclose who sponsors their campaigns.
CY quiet on reform in newspaper interview
In full-page interviews with two local newspapers, readers might expect Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to at least touch on the hottest topic of the day: political reform. But politics was conspicuously absent from Leung's chat with the Hong Kong Economic Journal and Hong Kong Economic Times published yesterday. The reports instead focused on the "through train" scheme, which will allow investors on both sides of the border to cross-trade Hong Kong and Shanghai-listed stocks. Leung, regarded as reluctant to grant interviews to the local media on politics, was interviewed by China National Radio in Beijing last month. But the latest reports represented his first major interviews with local newspapers since May last year, when he spoke to the pro-Beijing daily Wen Wei Po. Would Leung have accepted the interview if he had been asked contentious questions on reform? Perhaps only he knows.
A propaganda chief too quick on the button?
Hao Tiechuan , the former propaganda chief at the central government's liaison office, was known for triggering debates with his caustic remarks - but it seems he sometimes put his foot in his mouth. One person closely acquainted with liaison office officials recalled his early encounters with Hao, who was recalled to the mainland earlier this year. "The very first time we talked, Hao spent half an hour reproaching me for every criticism I had made of the Chinese government," the person said. The next time they met, over dinner, the tables were turned. "Hao was shocked to see me," the person recalled. "I had been invited by his boss … Then, Hao was very polite and nice, calling me 'teacher'." That, he said, might hint at the reason for Hao's recall. "He did not even sort out who's who in town before reproaching someone."