Sonny Lo
Sonny Lo
Sonny Lo Shiu-Hing is a veteran political commentator and observer of the politics of Hong Kong and Macau. He has published many books on the two cities' governance, democratisation and crime control, among other topics.

Taiwan’s ruling party has only itself to blame for voters’ revolt. However, the KMT’s strong showing does not make it a shoo-in for the presidential election, and Beijing should see the importance of respecting voters’ wishes.

The effective steps taken by the authorities in Hong Kong, Macau and on the mainland to prepare for the superstorm, including inter-governmental efforts, helped avert a repeat of last summer’s Typhoon Hato tragedy.

The two Chinese SARs should see the benefit of supporting the central government’s push to develop Hainan into a free-trade port and a thriving centre for tourism and leisure, which is likely to include gaming.


Beijing’s latest sweeteners encouraging more Taiwanese to do business on the mainland show it is already thinking past the current pro-independence government in Taipei and expecting a more conciliatory one in the near future.

An assertive civil society in Hong Kong is hamstrung by the lack of mediators between opposing camps. Can the new NPC deputies help to alter the zero-sum nature of Hong Kong politics?

With the central government pushing for national security legislation in Hong Kong, pan-democrats could use a few bargaining chips to spur democratic development.


China under Xi Jinping has adopted a so-called "heartland" geopolitical strategy not only to counter outsiders' perception of a "China threat" but also to project an image of a peaceful, self-confident and assertive nation.

The stalemate between the Occupy movement and the Hong Kong and Beijing governments does not bode well. To break the impasse, all sides will need to act.

The failure of protest leaders and the government to begin talks means continuous confrontation. A police crackdown may well be inevitable.

The arrest of students who stormed Civic Square on Friday and the police's use of tear gas to disperse crowds of protesters near government headquarters in Admiralty on Sunday night brought matters to a head.

The emotional polarisation between the pan-democratic and pro-Beijing camps over Beijing's decision on political reform for Hong Kong totally ignores the political space available for democrats.

Although Fernando Chui has been re-elected as chief executive in Macau with 380 out of the 396 votes cast by Election Committee members, his paternalistic government faces daunting challenges in the next five years.

The ongoing controversy over donations to political groups and individual politicians has reopened the long overdue issue of the need for a political party law in Hong Kong.

As Hong Kong struggles to come up with a suitable method for electing the chief executive in 2017, one solution may be to use public opinion polls as a constitutional convention or requirement to accompany any "mainstream" model.

The rapid rise of populism, both from the pan-democratic camp and pro-Beijing front, is challenging the social stability of Hong Kong.

While some Hong Kong observers see Beijing's white paper on "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong as nothing new, a careful reading of the document shows an attempt to recast the political reform debate here in the context of national security.

The continuing failure of Asian states to compromise over their territorial disputes and to tackle domestic squabbles through negotiations has raised a serious question about whether Asians can and will be able to manage their conflicts peacefully in the coming years.

The high-profile anti-prostitution campaign and arrest of sex workers in Dongguan has highlighted the intertwined relationship between the central and local governments in crime control while illustrating how Beijing is tackling the proliferation of vice establishments.

The high-profile questioning of players from a Hong Kong football club by officers of the Independent Commission Against Corruption has raised serious issues, including whether local soccer matches have been marred by cross-border betting and bribery.

Since the Chinese declaration of an air defence identification zone in the East China Sea, the US has been adopting a skilful balancing strategy to rein in both Tokyo and Beijing. This strategy has been working well in several aspects.

The continuous escalation of tensions between China and Japan over the sovereignty of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands is worrying. While Japan took an unprecedented step in nationalising the islands last year, both sides have been engaged in a shouting match that culminated most recently in the Chinese declaration of an air defence identification zone in the East China Sea covering the islands. If Japan and China continue to flex their military muscles, it would not be surprising to see military skirmishes break out one day, possibly as a result of an accident.

While the current public discussion on political reform in Hong Kong focuses on the methods for electing the chief executive and Legislative Council, an examination of how our district councils function seems to have been neglected.

While the recent meeting between some Hong Kong pan-democrats and former Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh prompted immediate criticism from pro-Beijing media and the pro-establishment camp, the reality is that Hong Kong's post-handover political development has witnessed some degree of "Taiwanisation".

Advocates for democratisation in Hong Kong tend to see functional constituency elections in the Legislative Council as politically retrogressive, protecting the business sector's interests, and view their abolition as inevitable. Yet little attempt has been made to examine how elections for functional constituencies could be democratised in a way acceptable to both the pro-democracy and pro-business camps.

Next September, the Apec finance ministers' meeting will be held in Hong Kong as China plays host. The gathering presents a golden opportunity for a breakthrough in Beijing-Taipei relations and Hong Kong can play a crucial role.

Hong Kong has long put off formulating and enacting a political party law. But if political reform is to move forward, now is the best time to debate whether such a law is in the city's best interests.

Mainland China's anti-corruption campaign has been gathering pace since Xi Jinping became president in March. Members of the Politburo's Standing Committee reportedly voted against a proposal this summer to adopt a Hong-Kong-style amnesty of corrupt officials.

The recent resignation of political assistant Henry Ho Kin-chung and media criticism of development secretary Paul Chan Mo-po have again highlighted the problem of governability in Hong Kong. But is the problem one of integrity of appointed officials? Or is it due to the proportional representation system, as Executive Council convenor Lam Woon-kwong said?

Few local commentators have examined how the Occupy Central movement next year may result in violence, but there are several scenarios that could lead to such a conclusion.