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 | 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.

21 Sep 2020 - 9:24AM

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
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.

7 Sep 2020 - 10:04AM

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
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.

23 Aug 2020 - 6:39PM

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?
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.

9 Aug 2020 - 7:13PM

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
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?

27 Jul 2020 - 7:03AM

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?
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.

13 Jul 2020 - 3:05AM

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
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.

28 Jun 2020 - 9:04PM

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
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.

14 Jun 2020 - 8:31PM

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
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.

31 May 2020 - 6:12PM

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
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.

17 May 2020 - 4:45PM

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
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.

3 May 2020 - 6:58PM

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
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.

20 Apr 2020 - 9:21AM

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
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.

5 Apr 2020 - 8:41PM

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
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.

13 May 2020 - 2:01PM

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
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.

9 Mar 2020 - 9:00AM

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
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.

23 Feb 2020 - 8:33PM

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
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.

9 Feb 2020 - 7:34PM

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
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.

26 Jan 2020 - 8:28PM

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
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.

12 Jan 2020 - 6:35PM

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
Opinion | What Xi Jinping, Carrie Lam and Hong Kong protesters can do to give Hongkongers a happy 2020

The unrest in Hong Kong has always been a political problem needing a political solution. As the new year approaches, politicians and protesters must reflect, while opposition and police leaders must start leading

29 Dec 2019 - 10:31PM

The unrest in Hong Kong has always been a political problem needing a political solution. As the new year approaches, politicians and protesters must reflect, while opposition and police leaders must start leading

What Xi Jinping, Carrie Lam and Hong Kong protesters can do to give Hongkongers a happy 2020
Opinion | Carrie Lam’s successor must be able to win over Beijing and the Hong Kong public. Two candidates come to mind

Lam’s successor must have credibility with Beijing but also a finger on the pulse of popular sentiment in Hong Kong. Only former Legco presidents Jasper Tsang and Rita Fan have the broad appeal needed to solve pressing problems Lam will leave incomplete.

16 Dec 2019 - 9:15AM

Lam’s successor must have credibility with Beijing but also a finger on the pulse of popular sentiment in Hong Kong. Only former Legco presidents Jasper Tsang and Rita Fan have the broad appeal needed to solve pressing problems Lam will leave incomplete.

Carrie Lam’s successor must be able to win over Beijing and the Hong Kong public. Two candidates come to mind
Opinion | Sensible political reforms the Hong Kong government can offer for the 2020 Legco election and beyond

The government has no excuse to delay the political reforms Hongkongers are clearly demanding. Sensible first steps include breaking up bigger constituencies and abolishing corporate voting in the Legco election, and making the chief executive nominating committee more representative.

1 Dec 2019 - 7:12PM

The government has no excuse to delay the political reforms Hongkongers are clearly demanding. Sensible first steps include breaking up bigger constituencies and abolishing corporate voting in the Legco election, and making the chief executive nominating committee more representative.

Sensible political reforms the Hong Kong government can offer for the 2020 Legco election and beyond
Opinion | Hong Kong in crisis: protest violence is wrong but government inaction is worse

Dangerous behaviour by protesters is unacceptable, as is the abuse of power by police officers. But most unacceptable of all would be for government officials to continue to wring their hands and do nothing.

17 Nov 2019 - 10:43PM

Dangerous behaviour by protesters is unacceptable, as is the abuse of power by police officers. But most unacceptable of all would be for government officials to continue to wring their hands and do nothing.

Hong Kong in crisis: protest violence is wrong but government inaction is worse
Opinion | Beijing should clarify what happens to Hong Kong after 2047, to ease the fear and uncertainty

A simple statement that Hong Kong’s way of life can continue indefinitely after 2047 until otherwise agreed would sets minds at ease in Hong Kong and aid Beijing’s case for reunification with Taiwan.

4 Nov 2019 - 6:56AM

A simple statement that Hong Kong’s way of life can continue indefinitely after 2047 until otherwise agreed would sets minds at ease in Hong Kong and aid Beijing’s case for reunification with Taiwan.

Beijing should clarify what happens to Hong Kong after 2047, to ease the fear and uncertainty
Opinion | Hong Kong’s protests have reshaped the city, and the November district council elections will show how much

Tolerance of violence and distrust of police are not normal for Hong Kong, yet that’s the city’s present situation. Barring sudden change – or cancellation – this suggests the next elections will see a stark shift towards the pan-dems.

20 Oct 2019 - 6:50PM

Tolerance of violence and distrust of police are not normal for Hong Kong, yet that’s the city’s present situation. Barring sudden change – or cancellation – this suggests the next elections will see a stark shift towards the pan-dems.

Hong Kong’s protests have reshaped the city, and the November district council elections will show how much
Opinion | Hong Kong’s government needs short- and long-term solutions to the protest crisis – what it can’t do is wait indefinitely

Unresponsiveness from the government – supposedly accountable to both Hongkongers and Beijing – has been a major factor in this crisis. Officials must quickly announce action to show they are listening, even if the measures don’t take effect right away.

6 Oct 2019 - 6:40PM

Unresponsiveness from the government – supposedly accountable to both Hongkongers and Beijing – has been a major factor in this crisis. Officials must quickly announce action to show they are listening, even if the measures don’t take effect right away.

Hong Kong’s government needs short- and long-term solutions to the protest crisis – what it can’t do is wait indefinitely
Opinion | Maybe Britain or the US will come to Hong Kong’s rescue. And pigs might fly

Britain will not reverse policy and start recognising Hong Kong BN(O) passport holders as citizens. The US will not throw open its doors to immigrants from Hong Kong. No one is coming to our rescue. The only capital city worth visiting in a pickle is Beijing.

23 Sep 2019 - 4:49PM

Britain will not reverse policy and start recognising Hong Kong BN(O) passport holders as citizens. The US will not throw open its doors to immigrants from Hong Kong. No one is coming to our rescue. The only capital city worth visiting in a pickle is Beijing.

Maybe Britain or the US will come to Hong Kong’s rescue. And pigs might fly
Opinion | For both Hong Kong protesters and the government, it is time to go back to school

As term starts and protests begin to thin out, the government should use the chance to relearn leadership and accountability, and start tackling the issues of housing and suffrage.

8 Sep 2019 - 8:33PM

As term starts and protests begin to thin out, the government should use the chance to relearn leadership and accountability, and start tackling the issues of housing and suffrage.

For both Hong Kong protesters and the government, it is time to go back to school
Opinion | Carrie Lam must address legitimate demands to end the Hong Kong protests in time for Chinese National Day

With the 70th birthday of the People’s Republic just weeks away, it is imperative that the Hong Kong government urgently address the legitimate grievances of protesters. It should withdraw the extradition bill, order an independent inquiry and introduce electoral reform.

25 Aug 2019 - 7:26PM

With the 70th birthday of the People’s Republic just weeks away, it is imperative that the Hong Kong government urgently address the legitimate grievances of protesters. It should withdraw the extradition bill, order an independent inquiry and introduce electoral reform.

Carrie Lam must address legitimate demands to end the Hong Kong protests in time for Chinese National Day
Opinion | Hong Kong’s concept of ministerial accountability is as dead as the extradition bill. Perhaps it should be withdrawn

The introduction of the accountability system in 2002 saw three ministers resign under public pressure in the first 18 months. But, since then, the idea of ministers quitting for their political failures seems to have been forgotten.

11 Aug 2019 - 9:08PM

The introduction of the accountability system in 2002 saw three ministers resign under public pressure in the first 18 months. But, since then, the idea of ministers quitting for their political failures seems to have been forgotten.

Hong Kong’s concept of ministerial accountability is as dead as the extradition bill. Perhaps it should be withdrawn
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