Hong Kong Politics

Conspiracy theories abound, but they don't provide answers

Barry Cheung and C. Y. Leung celebrate Leung's election win.

In politics, conspiracy theories are rife. They have sprung powerfully into life since Barry Cheung Chun-yuen, an Executive Council member and top aide to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, was forced to quit all his public positions during the inquiry into the collapse of the Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange, which he founded.

Monday, 3 June, 2013, 7:14am 1 comment

Exco members' poor exit strategy

Barry Cheung Chun-yuen. Photo: Edward Wong

My college professor used to say, "My best advice in life is this: quit while you're ahead". It's great advice for people in every walk of life. But some of our politicians seem to live by a different adage, that of rapper MC Hammer: too legit to quit. Take Barry Cheung Chun-yuen and Franklin Lam Fan-keung, both being investigated for wrongdoing. Cheung finally resigned from his position as an executive councillor a week ago while Lam is on indefinite leave from Exco.

3 Jun 2013 - 2:32am 2 comments

June 4 vigil slogan stirs up simmering row in pro-democracy camp

Illustration: Lau Ka-kuen

They have been accustomed to pressure - mostly coming from a northerly direction - for 20-plus years. But this year, the organisers of the annual June 4 vigil are feeling the heat from an unlikely source much closer to home.

3 Jun 2013 - 5:53am 2 comments

Liaison office staff warned not to take gifts

Zhang Xiaoming. Photo: Xinhua

The central government's liaison office has warned its staff to "decline gifts such as food and fruit during festivities", including this month's Dragon Boat festival. The statement comes after Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping made a call last December to end official extravagance.

2 Jun 2013 - 6:03am

It's not Leung, it's the system

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Photo: Sam Tsang

All this talk about the central government having a reserve plan to replace the unpopular Leung Chun-ying makes me want to say this: it's the system, stupid, not the chief executive. Changing the chief executive would change nothing. Hong Kong would still lurch from one political crisis to another. The Occupy Central movement would still march on.

1 Jun 2013 - 1:36am 3 comments

Exco has been losing power and authority since handover, says Legco chief Tsang

Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing. Photo: Sam Tsang

Jasper Tsang's suggestion follows last week's resignation of Exco member Barry Cheung Chun-yuen, who is being investigated by police in connection with his failed Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange. Another Exco member, Franklin Lam Fan-keung, has been on indefinite leave of absence since November after coming under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

27 May 2013 - 12:07pm 5 comments

New free-to-air TV licences will bring variety to viewing

Lawmakers Ann Chiang Lai-wan and Emily Lau Wai-hing appear on OurTV.hk talk show. More channels can allow for better quality political debate. Photo: David Wong

Gone were those days when viewers in the Pearl River Delta defied officials by setting up special antennae to receive TV from this side of the border. Meanwhile, back in Hong Kong, during the past week or so, speculation spread that the Executive Council had finally come to a consensus about handing out new free-to-air TV licences. 

27 May 2013 - 4:22am

Tiananmen Square crackdown divides Hong Kong's protest movement

About 1,600 protesters joined the march. Photo: Sam Tsang

The emphasis of this year's June 4 night vigil - "Love the country, love the people" - has sparked a row between Hong Kong's veteran democrats and pro-autonomy activists, with the latter claiming that whether the mainland is democratic or not is irrelevant to Hong Kong people.

29 Aug 2013 - 4:13am

Pan-democrats lost credibility by staying silent during filibuster

Pan-democrat lawmakers speak to media in Tamar after Legislative Council President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing announced the end of the filibuster tactics by lawmakers Wong Yuk-man, Leung Kwok-hung and Chan Wai-yip and Raymond Chan Chi-chuen. Photo: Sam Tsang

When the radicals made their debut in the Legislative Council during Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's era, they made the then chief executive flinch. Over the years, their pranks have become more sophisticated; their launch pads for bananas now accommodate filibusters.

27 May 2013 - 5:00am

Lawmakers' poverty fact-finding trip to Europe is scrapped

Frederick Fung Kin-kee

Lawmakers have scrapped plans for a week-long poverty fact-finding trip to Sweden and Finland, which could cost taxpayers HK$565,000. They decided the money would be better spent visiting Taiwan and Japan, which are more akin to Hong Kong.

26 May 2013 - 6:40am 11 comments

Filibuster saga a reminder that democracy is a messy business

Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, president of Legislative Council. Photo: Edward Wong

After more than 160 hours of "debate" in the Legislative Council, starting on April 24, the budget bill was finally enacted, enabling the legislature to vote through more than HK$350 billion of funding for public expenditure. Hong Kong's unwelcome version of a "fiscal cliff" was narrowly averted after officials issued dire warnings of impending disruption to critical public services, and much drama and altercation in Legco.

26 May 2013 - 4:35am

A dangerous demagogue in our midst

A portrait of lawmaker Wong Yuk-man taken in his office at Legislative Council in Tamar he quit People Power. Photo: David Wong

Among democrats everywhere, you inevitably find a few demagogues. They are the most extreme, and reject any accommodation and compromise.

11 Jun 2015 - 3:50pm 8 comments

Only real reform can calm Hong Kong's political volcano

Benny Tai Yiu-ting. Photo: SCMP

A chubby, mild-mannered legal scholar seems to be disturbing the sleep of the high and mighty from Hong Kong to Beijing. How else can you explain why four major local business groups denounced Benny Tai Yiu-ting's master plan to Occupy Central next year, including taking out advertisements in major newspapers this week?

22 May 2013 - 2:53am 6 comments

Legco chief rejects pan-dems' two-thirds vote plan to end budget filibuster

Jasper Tsang Yok-sing. Photo: Sam Tsang

The Legislative Council president has sparked new controversy after he rejected pan-democrats' suggestion that any bid to end a filibuster should require two-thirds of lawmakers' votes.

20 May 2013 - 10:26am 1 comment

Rule me out of forging consensus on political reform: Elsie Leung

Elsie Leung. Photo: David Wong

Elsie Leung Oi-sie, deputy director of the Basic Law Committee that advises the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on the Basic Law's implementation, told the South China Morning Post it would not be suitable for her to take up such a role because she did not hold any portfolio on constitutional reform, official or otherwise.

20 May 2013 - 5:27am