Civil Society

Harness the power of collective social action for Hong Kong

Lord Wei

It was a pity that a recent forum in Hong Kong on social reform went largely unreported. The "star" of the show was Lord Wei, the youngest, and only British-born Chinese, member of Britain's House of Lords. He advised Prime Minister David Cameron on his "Big Society" project to tackle social problems, and attracted controversy when he accused some charities of competing too much with each other and being out of touch with the public and donors.

Friday, 19 April, 2013, 2:48am

Talking points

South African President Jacob Zuma

South Africa hosts the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban. It is the African nation's first time hosting the meeting of representatives of its fellow BRICS members, Brazil, Russia, India and China. 

26 Mar 2013 - 3:28am

Civility v patriotism in Hong Kong courts

Social activist Koo Sze-yiu outside court. Photo: Thomas Chan

I learned something new about Hong Kong this month: in this great city, in our law-abiding society, if you really must burn something, better that it be your neighbour's dog than the national flag.

28 Feb 2013 - 3:37am 2 comments

Civil society can help China modernise

How civil society can work to ease the turmoil in a modernising China?

While people tend to roll their eyes when they hear a new catchphrase being unveiled by the upper echelons of the Communist Party, it is worth thinking about what the "new modernisations" might mean for the growing role of civil society in China.

1 Dec 2012 - 2:41am

Don't pin reform hopes on Chinese leaders' youthful idealism

Don't pin reform hopes on Chinese leaders' youthful idealism

A New York Times article last week on China's incoming premier quoted one of his contemporaries as saying: "Like all of us back then, Li Keqiang was idealistic, open-minded, incisive and eager to see China change." The speaker was Wang Juntao, a pro- democracy activist once jailed by the government for his role in the Tiananmen protests, and who now lives in exile.

24 Nov 2012 - 3:03am 2 comments

Xi Jinping's public relations test

Xi Jinping looks like he can create a bond with the people of China.

The months of speculation are mercifully over. Questions of whether there would be nine or seven are now resolved; who is in and who is out is settled. When the new Chinese Communist Party leadership walked before the world's press last week, there was a feeling of anticlimax. If Hu Jintao had wanted to create a process that ended up boring everyone into submission, it worked.

23 Nov 2012 - 1:51pm 1 comment

China authorities pushing happiness amid rising discontent

Guangdong party secretary Wang Yang is widely mocked for his support of the public satisfaction drive. Photo: Dickson Lee

With dissatisfaction growing over corruption, inequality, food safety and numerous other social problems, mainland authorities are shifting their focus from economics to emotions.

Simply put, they want everyone to be happy.

5 Nov 2012 - 7:53am

In China or US, government must hear the people

The era of the smug one-party state avoiding facing the complaining masses is over in China and beyond. Photo: AP

Does China pick better leaders than the US? Well, probably - but that's missing the point. During this period of leadership transition for two of the world's most powerful nations, the London-based Intelligence Squared organised a debate in Hong Kong on the motion, "China picks better leaders than the West".

5 Nov 2012 - 2:32am

A more confident Chinese people tests Communist Party rule

The party's monopoly of public moral authority is long gone, and now its monopoly of political power is at risk as well.

Sometimes the books that a country's top leaders read can reveal a lot about what they are thinking. So one of the books recently read by some of the incoming members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party may come as a surprise: Alexis de Tocqueville's The Old Regime and the Revolution.

3 Nov 2012 - 2:50am 2 comments

Amid global gloom, cities can spark growth

This week, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are holding their Annual Meetings in Tokyo. The mood has already been set by the downgrading of growth forecasts.

13 Oct 2012 - 5:15am

Volunteers discover how helping others helps yourself

Within the next few days, students will have ended their school year and packed for holidays in exotic destinations, visits to home countries, summer camps, internships and part-time jobs. But long summer days can sometimes stretch with boredom. For teenagers whose college applications loom on the horizon, volunteering is a way to fill some of those sweltering days.

1 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

Helping others experience nature a thrill for all ages

Five years ago, the only bird Emily Kwan Wing-lam could recognise was a sparrow. But now, when a spotted dove appears outside her classroom, she can name it, and tell her classmates all about it.

Kwan, who will turn 13 next month, is one of the youngest volunteers at the Hong Kong Wetland Park in Tin Shui Wai.

25 Jan 2012 - 12:00am

Volunteering is a great experience

Our new curriculum requires us to do at least eight hours of volunteer work. I welcome that because I love volunteering.

Last year I joined a programme at the YMCA which helped the elderly. Their heartfelt smiles cheered me up.

20 Sep 2011 - 12:00am

Getting down and dirty - for good causes

Besides the rewards of helping others or doing something worthwhile for our planet, volunteering is a great way to make friends and meet people who share similar interests. It can also be a fun way to learn new things.

1 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

Volunteer - but with your heart

Students at international schools are often strongly encouraged to do voluntary work as part of their extra-curricular activities.

Such work aims to help those people less well off, such as the poor, the handicapped or those having other difficulties.

It is good for us to serve as volunteers if we want to help the needy.

28 Jun 2011 - 12:00am