Mike Rowse

Mike Rowse

Mike Rowse has lived in Hong Kong since 1972, and is a naturalised Chinese citizen. He spent six years in the ICAC from 1974 to 1980, then 28 years in the government as an administrative officer until retirement in December 2008. He is now the search director for Stanton Chase International, and also hosts a radio talk show and writes regularly for both English and Chinese media.

Latest from Mike Rowse

Opinion | If you are jobless or earn the minimum wage, Hong Kong is no place to be

The government’s decision to freeze the minimum wage while rejecting calls for unemployment support is a double whammy for the city’s vulnerable. Hong Kong should have done better on humane and social justice grounds.

The government’s decision to freeze the minimum wage while rejecting calls for unemployment support is a double whammy for the city’s vulnerable. Hong Kong should have done better on humane and social justice grounds.

If you are jobless or earn the minimum wage, Hong Kong is no place to be
21 Feb 2021 - 2:15PM
Opinion | What are the real intentions behind the BN(O) visa offer to Hongkongers: altruism or self-interest?

The Five Eyes’ narrative was that the national security law would crush freedom, and that they would offer a safe haven to the oppressed. But their linking of the issue to Xinjiang suggests they are more interested in targeting Beijing.

The Five Eyes’ narrative was that the national security law would crush freedom, and that they would offer a safe haven to the oppressed. But their linking of the issue to Xinjiang suggests they are more interested in targeting Beijing.

What are the real intentions behind the BN(O) visa offer to Hongkongers: altruism or self-interest?
7 Feb 2021 - 3:18PM
Opinion | Hong Kong’s small-house policy is evidence of a leadership stuck in the past

The government has chosen to put off dealing with a policy that exacerbates Hong Kong’s housing crisis, preferring to kick the can down the road. Rather than waste fiscal reserves on reclamation, officials should eliminate existing villages and use that money for compensation.

The government has chosen to put off dealing with a policy that exacerbates Hong Kong’s housing crisis, preferring to kick the can down the road. Rather than waste fiscal reserves on reclamation, officials should eliminate existing villages and use that money for compensation.

Hong Kong’s small-house policy is evidence of a leadership stuck in the past
24 Jan 2021 - 2:30PM
Opinion | Mainland legal system needs to improve, but Western critics of China aren’t helping

The Julian Assange and Meng Wanzhou cases together involve the US, Canada, Britain and Australia, four countries which happen to be members of the ‘Five Eyes’ anti-China, Huawei-sceptical alliance.

The Julian Assange and Meng Wanzhou cases together involve the US, Canada, Britain and Australia, four countries which happen to be members of the ‘Five Eyes’ anti-China, Huawei-sceptical alliance.

Mainland legal system needs to improve, but Western critics of China aren’t helping
10 Jan 2021 - 3:26PM
Opinion | After a dreadful year, three wishes for Hong Kong in 2021

So-called friends of Hong Kong should stop ‘helping’ us. Young idealistic proponents of political reform should be less naive. And, with society still deeply divided, it’s time for all parties to launch a serious effort at reconciliation.

So-called friends of Hong Kong should stop ‘helping’ us. Young idealistic proponents of political reform should be less naive. And, with society still deeply divided, it’s time for all parties to launch a serious effort at reconciliation.

After a dreadful year, three wishes for Hong Kong in 2021
27 Dec 2020 - 7:12PM
Opinion | Repeated government failures to get to grips with Covid-19 are hurting Hong Kong

There seems to be a huge gap between decision-making at the top and the actual conditions. There is no evidence of a proper monitoring system to identify problems; rather, officials appear to be making ad hoc decisions in response to individual events.

There seems to be a huge gap between decision-making at the top and the actual conditions. There is no evidence of a proper monitoring system to identify problems; rather, officials appear to be making ad hoc decisions in response to individual events.

Repeated government failures to get to grips with Covid-19 are hurting Hong Kong
14 Dec 2020 - 8:45AM
Opinion | Once again, political reform is left out of Carrie Lam’s policy address

The plans announced on housing and boosting financial services and tourism are welcome, but the address has several serious omissions. A major missed opportunity was one that has haunted Hong Kong – the lack of a plan to move the city towards the promised goal of universal suffrage.

The plans announced on housing and boosting financial services and tourism are welcome, but the address has several serious omissions. A major missed opportunity was one that has haunted Hong Kong – the lack of a plan to move the city towards the promised goal of universal suffrage.

Once again, political reform is left out of Carrie Lam’s policy address
30 Nov 2020 - 4:00AM
Opinion | Arrest of RTHK journalist, criticism of judges: shooting the messenger doesn’t make the bad news go away

Rather than blame the reporter for exposing poor policing or hit out at judges for exposing shoddy prosecution work, perhaps critics should turn their attention to the real problems.

Rather than blame the reporter for exposing poor policing or hit out at judges for exposing shoddy prosecution work, perhaps critics should turn their attention to the real problems.

Arrest of RTHK journalist, criticism of judges: shooting the messenger doesn’t make the bad news go away
16 Nov 2020 - 6:58AM
Opinion | Carrie Lam must tackle Hong Kong’s political hot potatoes in her policy address, not play safe

While the Greater Bay Area and the pandemic are important issues, the government must reach out to the community, particularly young people, and not sweep the fallout from the extradition bill protests under the carpet.

While the Greater Bay Area and the pandemic are important issues, the government must reach out to the community, particularly young people, and not sweep the fallout from the extradition bill protests under the carpet.

Carrie Lam must tackle Hong Kong’s political hot potatoes in her policy address, not play safe
3 Nov 2020 - 5:59PM
Opinion | Déjà vu as Carrie Lam backs plan to let Hongkongers on mainland vote in Legco elections

Any controversy or objection would appear to have been swiftly brushed aside as the chief executive announces broad support for the initiative with little time to waste. Does any of this sound familiar?

Any controversy or objection would appear to have been swiftly brushed aside as the chief executive announces broad support for the initiative with little time to waste. Does any of this sound familiar?

Déjà vu as Carrie Lam backs plan to let Hongkongers on mainland vote in Legco elections
19 Oct 2020 - 8:36AM
Opinion | Fate of Disneyland, Ocean Park hangs on Hong Kong’s tourism future

Before decisions can be taken on the theme parks, Hong Kong needs to consider whether it even wants to revive its tourism industry, and what role it should play in its economic vision.

Before decisions can be taken on the theme parks, Hong Kong needs to consider whether it even wants to revive its tourism industry, and what role it should play in its economic vision.

Fate of Disneyland, Ocean Park hangs on Hong Kong’s tourism future
4 Oct 2020 - 10:25PM
Opinion | The hardest budget Hong Kong has ever had to produce

The scale of the financial secretary’s challenge is monumental. Hong Kong needs to spend more to tackle the health and economic crises even as revenue drops with people out of work, businesses falling apart and property prices softening.

The scale of the financial secretary’s challenge is monumental. Hong Kong needs to spend more to tackle the health and economic crises even as revenue drops with people out of work, businesses falling apart and property prices softening.

The hardest budget Hong Kong has ever had to produce
21 Sep 2020 - 9:24AM
Opinion | Reaction to Hong Kong’s mass coronavirus testing reveals city’s Pavlovian politics

While the opposition tends to object to any proposal coming from the chief executive or the central government, Carrie Lam has also reacted defensively to legitimate questions about her policies.

While the opposition tends to object to any proposal coming from the chief executive or the central government, Carrie Lam has also reacted defensively to legitimate questions about her policies.

Reaction to Hong Kong’s mass coronavirus testing reveals city’s Pavlovian politics
7 Sep 2020 - 10:04AM
Opinion | Is the opposition in Hong Kong clever enough to focus on winnable political battles with Beijing?

Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. If no meaningful initiatives are being put forward, someone else is likely to step in, as happened with Beijing and the national security law. This is a good reason for the opposition to tackle Article 23 legislation and extradition laws first.

Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. If no meaningful initiatives are being put forward, someone else is likely to step in, as happened with Beijing and the national security law. This is a good reason for the opposition to tackle Article 23 legislation and extradition laws first.

Is the opposition in Hong Kong clever enough to focus on winnable political battles with Beijing?
23 Aug 2020 - 6:39PM
Opinion | The coronavirus didn’t stop Hong Kong holding an election. Carrie Lam’s poor judgment did

With the right planning, Hong Kong could have ensured that voting in the Legislative Council election took place safely, with minimal health risks. Worse, the postponement has created two related constitutional problems that only Beijing can solve.

With the right planning, Hong Kong could have ensured that voting in the Legislative Council election took place safely, with minimal health risks. Worse, the postponement has created two related constitutional problems that only Beijing can solve.

The coronavirus didn’t stop Hong Kong holding an election. Carrie Lam’s poor judgment did
9 Aug 2020 - 7:13PM
Opinion | Legco election: what choices do moderate Hong Kong voters have in September?

Broadly speaking, only non-destructive opposition politicians and a revamped DAB will appeal to moderate voters. The elections should go ahead in September, despite Covid-19. If other communities can do it, why not Hong Kong?

Broadly speaking, only non-destructive opposition politicians and a revamped DAB will appeal to moderate voters. The elections should go ahead in September, despite Covid-19. If other communities can do it, why not Hong Kong?

Legco election: what choices do moderate Hong Kong voters have in September?
27 Jul 2020 - 7:03AM
Opinion | When the coronavirus and racism collide: the good, the bad and the ugly

The beauty of dedicated health care workers, the ugliness of incompetent leadership and the sheer explosiveness of Covid-19 racism are all food for thought – along with a gaffe by new minister Erick Tsang.

The beauty of dedicated health care workers, the ugliness of incompetent leadership and the sheer explosiveness of Covid-19 racism are all food for thought – along with a gaffe by new minister Erick Tsang.

When the coronavirus and racism collide: the good, the bad and the ugly
13 Jul 2020 - 3:05AM
Opinion | As national security law looms, here’s what is really ailing Hong Kong politics

The simple truth is that our administration knows how to administer but not how to govern. The opposition knows how to obstruct but not how to work the system to get things done. This is a case of chronic immaturity syndrome.

The simple truth is that our administration knows how to administer but not how to govern. The opposition knows how to obstruct but not how to work the system to get things done. This is a case of chronic immaturity syndrome.

As national security law looms, here’s what is really ailing Hong Kong politics
28 Jun 2020 - 9:04PM
Opinion | When Hong Kong’s three worst-performing ministers have survived, accountability is dead and buried

Secretary for Security John Lee and Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng should have borne more responsibility for the extradition bill saga, while Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan has distinguished himself by his lack of achievement.

Secretary for Security John Lee and Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng should have borne more responsibility for the extradition bill saga, while Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan has distinguished himself by his lack of achievement.

When Hong Kong’s three worst-performing ministers have survived, accountability is dead and buried
14 Jun 2020 - 8:31PM
Opinion | Hong Kong has no one to blame but itself for Beijing’s intervention in national security legislation

Incessant political squabbling and a refusal to compromise left Beijing with no choice but to take the lead on national security laws. The local government has been aloof and unresponsive while the opposition has failed to offer any serious counterproposals.

Incessant political squabbling and a refusal to compromise left Beijing with no choice but to take the lead on national security laws. The local government has been aloof and unresponsive while the opposition has failed to offer any serious counterproposals.

Hong Kong has no one to blame but itself for Beijing’s intervention in national security legislation
31 May 2020 - 6:12PM
Opinion | US-China geopolitical struggle does not mean Hong Kong’s needs should be swept under the carpet

Hong Kong needs an independent commission of inquiry into the extradition bill protests. It is also time for a road map towards political reform.

Hong Kong needs an independent commission of inquiry into the extradition bill protests. It is also time for a road map towards political reform.

US-China geopolitical struggle does not mean Hong Kong’s needs should be swept under the carpet
17 May 2020 - 4:45PM
Opinion | Hong Kong’s coronavirus containment strategy must begin easing restrictions – or risk losing control

If the government is perceived to be moving too slowly, social discipline could break down. It’s time to open outdoor recreational venues and schools. Opening up to the outside world will be more tricky, but can start with Macau and Taiwan.

If the government is perceived to be moving too slowly, social discipline could break down. It’s time to open outdoor recreational venues and schools. Opening up to the outside world will be more tricky, but can start with Macau and Taiwan.

Hong Kong’s coronavirus containment strategy must begin easing restrictions – or risk losing control
3 May 2020 - 6:58PM
Opinion | Hong Kong protests: to bridge city’s ‘blue’ and ‘yellow’ divide, police watchdog must walk the talk

If the police watchdog is to be trusted, it must be seen to act proactively. The recent case of a tussle over video footage would be a good place to start.

If the police watchdog is to be trusted, it must be seen to act proactively. The recent case of a tussle over video footage would be a good place to start.

Hong Kong protests: to bridge city’s ‘blue’ and ‘yellow’ divide, police watchdog must walk the talk
20 Apr 2020 - 9:21AM
Opinion | Coronavirus crisis in Hong Kong means political reform is needed more urgently than ever

To reshape an economy and livelihoods left battered by the coronavirus, the Hong Kong government must make bold decisions and confront vested interests. Without major changes to the political structure, the city will no longer be among the top choices for the best and brightest.

To reshape an economy and livelihoods left battered by the coronavirus, the Hong Kong government must make bold decisions and confront vested interests. Without major changes to the political structure, the city will no longer be among the top choices for the best and brightest.

Coronavirus crisis in Hong Kong means political reform is needed more urgently than ever
5 Apr 2020 - 8:41PM
Opinion | Elections in the aftermath of coronavirus: how Hong Kong’s blue and yellow camps should alter their strategies

Both pan-democrat and pro-establishment parties cannot afford to ignore the crippling impact of the coronavirus pandemic, protests and trade war on the economy and how this will influence voter behaviour in the Legco election.

Both pan-democrat and pro-establishment parties cannot afford to ignore the crippling impact of the coronavirus pandemic, protests and trade war on the economy and how this will influence voter behaviour in the Legco election.

Elections in the aftermath of coronavirus: how Hong Kong’s blue and yellow camps should alter their strategies
13 May 2020 - 2:01PM
Opinion | Hong Kong doesn’t just need more housing, it must also find more ways to turn renters into owners

The government’s backing for Lantau Tomorrow, reaffirmed in the budget speech, is a pragmatic solution to increasing the housing supply. At the same time, the government must boost the home ownership rate to give more people a stake in society.

The government’s backing for Lantau Tomorrow, reaffirmed in the budget speech, is a pragmatic solution to increasing the housing supply. At the same time, the government must boost the home ownership rate to give more people a stake in society.

Hong Kong doesn’t just need more housing, it must also find more ways to turn renters into owners
9 Mar 2020 - 9:00AM
Opinion | Paul Chan’s budget should ease the pain of the coronavirus crisis in Hong Kong, but not much more

Under great pressure to be generous with our ample reserves, the financial secretary must keep in mind that Hong Kong faces two other major challenges apart from a virus outbreak. Our political crisis, for one, cannot be solved by throwing money at the problem.

Under great pressure to be generous with our ample reserves, the financial secretary must keep in mind that Hong Kong faces two other major challenges apart from a virus outbreak. Our political crisis, for one, cannot be solved by throwing money at the problem.

Paul Chan’s budget should ease the pain of the coronavirus crisis in Hong Kong, but not much more
23 Feb 2020 - 8:33PM
Opinion | Coronavirus outbreak: Why I refuse to queue up for masks and participate in the general panic

The outbreak calls for a calm and considered response, keeping in mind its severity compared to other diseases and the utility of products such as masks.

The outbreak calls for a calm and considered response, keeping in mind its severity compared to other diseases and the utility of products such as masks.

Coronavirus outbreak: Why I refuse to queue up for masks and participate in the general panic
9 Feb 2020 - 7:34PM
Opinion | Ocean Park’s glory days are behind it – use the site for housing, and invest in Hong Kong Disneyland instead

Between dwindling attendances and fierce regional competition, Ocean Park’s glory days are behind it. Better to use the 91.5-hectare site to meet a pressing need in the city – housing.

Between dwindling attendances and fierce regional competition, Ocean Park’s glory days are behind it. Better to use the 91.5-hectare site to meet a pressing need in the city – housing.

Ocean Park’s glory days are behind it – use the site for housing, and invest in Hong Kong Disneyland instead
26 Jan 2020 - 8:28PM
Opinion | Five ways Beijing’s new man in Hong Kong can help the city return to peace and prosperity

The new director of the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong must take official briefings with a pinch of salt, not overestimate foreign influence in the protests and trust that most Hongkongers love their country.

The new director of the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong must take official briefings with a pinch of salt, not overestimate foreign influence in the protests and trust that most Hongkongers love their country.

Five ways Beijing’s new man in Hong Kong can help the city return to peace and prosperity
12 Jan 2020 - 6:35PM