Leadership needs to beef up lest it disappoints the terminator Could it be that the collateral damage from Tung-gate has spanned the Pacific? California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, recently terminated his first visit to China, originally scheduled for the week of April 18. The actor-turned-politician had intended to promote Silicon Valley but changed his mind, saying he needed more time to prepare his state's budget. If it were a country in its own right - and many Americans will tell you it is - the Golden State would be China's sixth-largest trading partner. Beijing was therefore prepared to roll out the red carpet for our muscle-bound hero. Lai See understands that one of the protocol headaches Arnie's people were wrestling with was a planned stopover in Hong Kong, aka the Hollywood of the East. After all, who would he meet? With Tung Chee-hwa now officially on his way out, The Donald had better start bulking up. Arnold will be back, after all, and he doesn't shake hands with girlie-men. tongue-tied ooil not tung-tied We suspect a collective sigh of relief went around the executive floor of Orient Overseas (International) Ltd (OOIL) at the end of Mr Tung's valedictory press conference. Having committed never to again work for a private organisation, the presumption is that the family shipping firm will have to do without his particular brand of management talent. Hong Kong's economy may have staggered through the last seven years but OOIL has seen its share price rocket 758 per cent to $37.9. Earlier - 30 minutes earlier, to be precise - a hard-pressed non-Tung family management corps had frantically dodged the obvious question. No they couldn't comment on whether Mr Tung would return to the firm since the matter of his resignation was purely a rumour and OOIL, of course, did not respond to rumours. Of course. A forum for 'em The new regime gave the impression of moving a step closer to middle-class democracy yesterday by launching the Public Affairs Forum ( www.forum.gov.hk ). The Home Affairs Bureau said the government now attached great importance to the middle class and their aspirations to participate in public affairs. 'People are welcome to visit the forum website. However, access to the forum discussion room will be restricted to forum members,' a press release concluded. But it appears that the government has appointed just 340 forum members, people described as salaried employees from business, professional and academic fields. In other words, you can look but not contribute. So much for democracy! ITC protects america's bottom line The United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has determined that Chinese exports of tissue paper have 'materially injured' America's tissue-paper industry. Lai See didn't know America had a tissue-paper industry. We stand corrected. According to the ITC, it employs 428 people - total. We're so glad to see the commission so vigilant in its protection of America's vital interests. gdp suffers economies of scale It is a well-known fact that the sum total of China's provincial gross domestic product is greater than the national whole. On Tuesday, National Bureau of Statistics director Li Deshui said the GDP reported by China's provinces implied a national growth rate of 13.4 per cent, against the bureau's official 9.5 per cent estimate. In its report on Mr Li's comments, Xinhua cited the example of former Anhui vice-governor Wang Huaizhong, who, while mayor of Fuyang city, once claimed municipal growth of 22 per cent against an actual 4 per cent. He was later executed for taking bribes. But in a fun variation on the theme, Mr Li also noted that the GDP reported by county governments across the country implied an even higher national growth rate, of 15.5 per cent. The lower you go, in other words, the higher the growth. We look forward to future revelations of China's village GDP statistics.