Beaten martyrs should bear stigmata Of the mainland officials who have commented on the beating by police in Xinjiang this month of three Hong Kong journalists, Deng Zhonghua, director general of the department of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, may have been the most apologetic. Deng was asked his views on the incident when he gave a lecture on China's diplomacy and Hong Kong's international standing organised by the Foreign Ministry commissioner's office in Hong Kong. While making clear that it was not a matter within his portfolio, the diplomat said: 'We regret that something unhappy happened and that people don't like to see what happened.' The Xinjiang government claimed police had acted as they did because they suspected the journalists had incited protesters while covering a demonstration in the regional capital, Urumqi . Deng said the central government still welcomed Hong Kong and foreign journalists covering news on the mainland. The diplomat's apology comes days after a Beijing loyalist questioned people's support for a campaign by journalists' groups to vindicate their colleagues. Former policeman Ling Kim-kong, a member of the Savantas Policy Institute headed by ex-security minister Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, used an article in the Hong Kong Economic Journal last week to say: 'The mainland government only allows limited freedom ... and will not welcome the public and the media challenging the actions of law-enforcement officers.' If the three journalists had been beaten they would have had wounds on their bodies, he wrote (we hope he was not speaking from personal experience). Ip, who is visiting the United States and gave a presentation at the University of Pennsylvania on Hong Kong's democratisation, could not be reached for comment. May the book sell better than the tickets Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen, widely seen as a candidate for chief executive, could be among the most anxious of those awaiting the publication of Mike Rowse's book on the HarbourFest saga. The volume by the retired InvestHK director general, due in November, is expected to elaborate on his and Tang's roles in the HK$100 million series of concerts staged to raise Hong Kong's spirits after severe acute respiratory syndrome but which Rowse was accused of bungling. A civil service disciplinary panel fined Rowse HK$156,660 and reprimanded him severely. A court cleared him of wrongdoing in July last year. Rowse, who retired in December, has called his self-published book No Minister - a title that looks like a pointed reference to an incident outlined in court. In his ruling, the judge - Mr Justice Michael Hartmann - noted Rowse's e-mail to the then-financial secretary on August 4, 2003, asking: 'Who is the minister for HarbourFest?' and Tang's response: 'Stop dreaming! The only way you are going to save your skin is to sell tickets and make the event a success.' Dalai Lama calls upon us all to be brave Beijing's officials worried that the Dalai Lama is forging relations with Hong Kong activists are unlikely to be happy about the latest disclosure of such ties. After James Lung Wai-man, head of the Southern Democratic Alliance, said he planned to start a Tibetan friendship group here, another fringe activist has announced he has met the Tibetan spiritual leader. Philip Li Koi-hop said the Dalai Lama had called on Hongkongers 'to be brave and seek justice' during their meeting last week.