(v4.0)

[This website collects certain news and commentary on Hong Kong politics, society and culture. English-news sources exist in abundance, such as South China Morning Post, Hong Kong Free Press, Reddit on Occupy Central, etc). This websites provides transcriptions/translations from Chinese-language sources, including both mainstream media (Hong Kong newspapers, television and radio) and social media (Facebook, YouTube, blogs, discussion forums).]

(Wen Wei Po) July 25, 2017.

The Federation For A Democratic China is holding the "2017 China-Hong Kong-Taiwan political evolution and Japan's China policy symposium" in Japan on July 23-26, 2027. Various anti-China leaders and radicals in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Canada were invited to participate. The meeting is being held in a resort area in Miura city, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Particpants from Hong Kong included Hong Kong University School of Law associate professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Youngspiration ex-legislators Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, League of Social Democrats vice-chairman Raphael Wong Ho-ming, Occupy Central core member and hedge fund manager Edward Chin, Hong Kong Association for the Advancement of Feminism founder Ho Chi-kwan, Canada-Hong Kong Link persident Gloria Fung, current affairs commentator Ching Cheong, etc. According to information, this anti-China symposium has the largest number of Hong Kong opposition members in history.

On July 23, Benny Tai delivered the keynote speech. On this PPT, he deliberately inserted "and" between "One Country" and "Two Systems" such that One Country refers to Hong Kong which has equal standing with other countries such as China and Japan. He said that in order to study Two Systems, one must know the future of this One Country. He said that since China is going to be fragmented with certainty, "then Hong Kong can only head towards independence irregardless."

Benny Tai said that when China collapses, One Country Two Systems won't exist anymore. When China collapses into fragments, national sovereignty becomes problematic. That is when Hong Kong can become independent. Even after Hong Kong becomes an independent nation, it can still join the Federation of China but as an independent nation.

As for "no change in 50 years" in the Hong Kong Basic Law, Benny Tai said that the collapse of China will occur before 2047. "Hong Kong society should continually educate the public about 'self-rule' through continuous resistance at this time." During the meeting, someone asked Benny Tai whether he is saying that China will not develop positively in the future. Tai said that he personally thinks that there is a low probability of China developing positively, and that is why he has not explored that situation in depth. Tai insists that he does not have a fixed position himself, and he is only bringing up various possibilities for discussion purposes. Nevertheless his various so-called viewpoints all seem to lead to the same conclusion: "China will collapse and Hong Kong will become independent."

On July 24, the Youngspiration duo Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching enumerated a list of persecutions as well as bad conditions in Hong Kong. This seems to contradict Benny Tai's description of Hong Kong as still being relatively free. The audience seemed to find this perplexing. Leung Chung-hang used very bad putonghua to speak, and this caused the audience even more perplexed.

Video:

(Day 1 Benny Tai Yiu-ting) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtaD2436Ozg
(Day 1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JgwHKOPNBU

(Day 2 morning) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xA9UERR7AQ
(Day 2 afternoon) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMVQphlYTFI

(Day 3 morning) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGrSOUxAndM
(Day 3 afternoon) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtxNydBQejE

Internet comments:

- Benny Tai says that China will collapse with certainty. How certain are we about this modern-day oracle? I remember that Benny Tai said that if 10,000 people came out to occupy Central for two days, the government will surrender. That didn't quite work out, did it?

- Given Benny Tai's public statements, what if some student were to yell: "Don't let Benny Tai leave! Kill him! Kill him!"?

- Hong Kong wants to become an independent nation recognized by the United States and then join the Federation of China? My brain is exploding ...

- What does this symposium matter anyhow? This is just a chance to get together to eat some wagyu beef, sashimi and sushi. None of the talks will lead to anything. Afterwards, they will all come back to Hong Kong to begin another round of solicitation for even more donations to pay for the legal fees.

- Look, Benny Tai is merely listing some hypothetical situations and exploring possible consequences. This is protected under freedom of academic research. It is no different from astrophysicists studying the possibility of a comet hitting Earth. If and when it happens, we will grateful that someone has given thought to the matter already.

- Look, it is possible that I will win the next Mark 6 lottery first prize. That is why I spend so much time and effort on planning how to spend the winnings ...

- (Oriental Daily) July 25, 2017.

With respect to One Country Two Systems, Benny Tai said that you must study China first because Two Systems don't exist without that One Country. He quoted scholars who discussed the future of China. When China collapses, there are many possibilities, including warlords taking over various regions, fragmentization and anarchy. He said that the chances of China heading towards a federation are low.

As for the future of Hong Kong, Benny Tai said that there are five options: (1) One Country Two Systems; (2) One Country over Two Systems; (3) One Country first, Two Systems next; (4) One Country One System; (5) self-termination/independence. If there are no problems with Chinese national sovereignty, Hong Kong is in no position to gain independence. If China heads towards constitutional rule, Hong Kong may accept it and forego independence.

- The Japanese have a market for the Collapse of China. This has been running for more than 30 years. Each year, they bet on China collapse that year. Each year they lose. When they first got started, China's GDP was 1/4 that of Japan. Today, China's GDP is 3 times that of Japan. But they will keep betting on China collapse. It will have at least one brigade of the Second Artillery Corpos armed with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. This is like betting on odd/even at the roulette table. You keep betting odd and the outcome keeps being even. But you persist, because you believe that sooner or later you will win once and then you can justify yourself.

- If China collapses and becomes fragmentized, Hong Kong will immediately come under martial law imposed by whoever controls the 200,000 PLA soldiers in the Southern Theater Command with headquarters in Guangzhou. Do not imagine for one moment that Hong Kong can slip through to become independent. If Hong Kong want to become independent under the circumstances, it better build a few nuclear warheads beforehand.

- Benny Tai points out that it will be a time of chaos if and when China collapses in 2030. We are dependent on China for so many things (food, water, electricity, etc). So we must be prepared for all the contingencies. For example, we will need desalination plants when the Dongjiang River water is cut off. We will also need a 90-day fuel supply the electricity generation plants when the Daya Nuclear Power Station electricity is cut off. We will need a 30-day food supply before the Seventh Fleet arrive. These are large-scale mega-projects that will require money and space to implement, and the current puppet government will never carry out. So each Hong Kong citizen must contribute his/own share. I for one will go into the neighborhood park tonight and start digging out a basement to store dried noodles. What will you do?

- The conference attendees will be taken to tour a Japanese Self-Defense Force military base on the last day. Will they get to visit a Japanese aircraft carrier that will defend Hong Kong against the Liaoning?

- Current members of the Japanese Self-Defense Force are attending this conference. If there is to be a honest and useful exchange, why didn't someone asked them about their coming war with China? What are the prospects? Can Japan stop the nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles coming at them?

- (HK01) Why is the response thus far from the pan-democrats so lame?

(1) The issue involves some subtle and complicated legal concepts. "Our slogan is that .the High Speed Rail is ceding Hong Kong territory for the co-location and destroying the Basic Law.' But how is this supposed to destroy the Basic Law? We call the press conference 10 minutes after the government announced its proposal, and it was hard for us to give a clear explanation." They would like to form a Concern Group, but that will take time to organize. Meanwhile their press conference is leaving the impression that they don't have much ammunition.

(2) Carrie Lam's administration brought the proposal out during the summer recess of the Legislative Council. Many legislators are away for vacation, and it is hard to get enough people to come together to discuss strategies and make decisions.

(3) The public response to this issue has been tepid. "People are tired, and society is quieter than expected." But this is an important matter of principle, so the fight must continue. They will have to keep fighting no matter how hard it is. They will develop their strategy as they go on.

(4) The pan-democrats have not discussed this issue in depth, because far too many things have been going on recently -- Carrie Lam becoming Chief Executive; Xi Jinping visiting Hong Kong; the death of Liu Xiaobo; the case of the DQ4 legislators; the battle at the Legco Finance Committee; etc. So they could not focus on the not-yet-announced High Speed Rail co-location.

- (Ming Pao) July 26, 2017.

On radio, Martin Lee (Democratic Party) said that the intention of Article 20 of the Basic Law is to give Hong Kong the power to improve its 'high degree of autonomy.' In order to attain One Country Two Systems, Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong and a high degree of autonomy, the Central Government must restrain itself. He said that the co-location proposal will damage the rule-of-law even more severely than an interpretation of of the Basic Law by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, because it is equivalent to killing off all of Basic Law.

- I am fully agreed with Martin Lee's viewpoint. So let the people of Hong Kong take the slow train to Futian (Shenzhen), get off the train for mainland Chinese immigration/customs inspection, reboard and continue. This is a sacrifice that the people of Hong Kong will have to make in order to save their cherished Basic Law.  Every time every Hong Kong citizen makes this trip this way, he/she will remember that Martin Lee brought it to them in order to save the Basic Law.

- The descriptive term for Martin Lee is egghead:

In the American English slang, egghead is an anti-intellectual epithet used to refer to intellectuals or people considered too out-of-touch with ordinary people and too lacking in realism, common sense, sexual interests, etc. on account of their intellectual interests.

...

Egghead: A person of spurious intellectual pretensions, often a professor or the protg of a professor. Essentially confused in thought and immersed in mixture of sentimentality and violent evangelism. A doctrinaire supporter of Middle-European socialism as opposed to Greco-French-American ideas of democracy and liberalism. Subject to the old-fashioned philosophical morality of Nietzsche which frequently leads him into jail or disgrace. A self-conscious prig, so given to examining all sides of a question that he becomes thoroughly addled while remaining always in the same spot. An anemic bleeding heart.

- Why is the government doing this? Because they know that the pan-democrats will automatically oppose this proposal and hence expose themselves as eggheads ("out-of-touch with ordinary people and lacking in common sense").

- (Ming Pao) Hong Kong University School of Law senior lecturer Eric Cheung tat-ming said that data showed that 80% of High Speed Rail train's Hong Kong passengers intend to get off at Futian anyway, so there will be little or no impact on them. Long-trip passengers will find it more convenient to have co-located checkpoints, but he does not believe that ten minutes of extra time will affect them.

- Eric Cheung Tat-ming is an egghead. Even before the High Speed Rail service is running in Hong Kong, he already has passenger data. And he thinks that it will only take 10 minutes to clear immigration/customs at Futian. This is typical of people who have never taken a High Speed Rail train, or even visited China in the last thirty years.

- It takes 10 minutes for one person to complete immigration/customs checking. But when the train pulls into the station, there are 960 passengers. They don't have 960 immigration/customs agents to wait on the passengers. They have maybe 10 or 20, so it may be one hour or two to clear the whole train.

- The most frequently asked question seems to be this: Can I access Facebook on the High Speed Rail train while still in Hong Kong? If you use the train's Wifi to access the Internet, Facebook will be filtered. If you use Mobile Data on your own phone, you can access Facebook or anything else you want. Nobody is going to watch over your shoulder to monitor your activity.

DotDotNews Facebook

Chau Sze Tat (nickname "Invincible Godly Horse") and Civic Passion (nickname "Hot Dogs") continued to bite each other, but this time the victim was the Ming Pao Publishing House. At the Hong Kong Book Fair, Chau sang a song to denigrate Civic Passion in the Ming Pao Publishing House stall at the Hong Kong Book Fair to promote his new book. One verse of the song allegedly denigrate the Chinese people. So the "Hot Dogs" lodged complaints against Chau for inflaming hatred between Hongkongers and mainlanders. The Ming Pao Publishing House defended its author Chau Sze Tat, saying that he is restrained in "conduct, speech and action" and no slur was involved. As a result, the "Hot Dogs" directed their wrath against Ming Pao Publishing House for espousing Hong Kong independence.

The battle among the pro-Hong Kong independence factions has been getting more and more extreme. In the song <Popularity chart of sons-of-bitches>, Chau Sze Tat included lyrics such as: "Passion Times is lying when they falsely claim an audience of more than 10,000", "Wan Chin lead his evil minions to harm people; "Hot Dogs" will not be tolerated by the heavens" and then "Once you make enough money, you ignore the 'Chee-na' people." The "Hot Dogs" flooded the Ming Pao Publishing House Facebook and demanded to know whether the Ming Pao Publishing House supports Chau's anti-Chinese stance.

This is quite hilarious since Civic Passion gained fame by fanning hatred of mainlanders, but Chau's words were clearly beyond the pale. The Ming Pao Publishing House administrators responded to the complaints: "Each year, our company hosts events at the Hong Kong Book Fair. The purpose is to provide an environment for different authors to promote their books to readers. We firmly believe that each and every author will act in a restrained manner at our stall, and behave in terms of conduct, speech and acts. There are no issue of any insults.

This drew the ire of the "Hot Dogs" who turned their attention to Ming Pao Publishing House instead. Sam Wrong wrote this complaint: "During the course of the 2017 Hong Kong Book Fair, the Ming Pao Publishing House author Chau Sze Tat used cheap and vulgar methods to use singing and live broadcasts to attack, harass and interfere with other exhibitors in the course of their cultural activities, including sayings that insulted the Chinese. This is extremely immoral, repelling and against business ethics.

Here is the video of Chau Sze Tat singing his song (YouTube).

Internet comments:

- Chau Sze Tat's Facebook

That bitch Chan Sau-wai is the one who insulted the Chinese people. I have nothing to do with it. If my saying "Chee-ma" is twisted into "Chee-na", we have to avoid saying "Sesame Street", "sesame oil", "sesame soup", "sesame oil" etc in the future, because Civic Passion and the bitch Chan Sau-wai will say that you said "Chee-na." I clarify here that I did not any song that insulted the Chinese. That song was clearly intended to make fun of Civic Passion and that bitch Chan Sau-wai. Instead, it is clear that the bitch Chan Sau-wai wanted to insult the Chinese by turning "Chee-ma" into "Chee-na". She was also trying to suppress freedom of publication and kill off dissidence. She will not be tolerated by Heaven and Earth.

- Chau Sze Tat's defense is that he did not sing:

"Once you make enough money, you ignore the 'Chee-na' people (支那人)."

Instead he sang:

"Once you make enough money, you ignore the 'Chee-ma' people (芝麻人)."

But what the hell is a 'Chee-ma' person? Literally, it means a "Sesame Person". What is that? It would be a stretch to say that he meant "Sesame Street character" or "sesame farmers.'

- Chau Sze Tat clearly meant to say 'Chee-na' according to the context of the song. However, this would cause problems with the general public. So he changed the tone a little bit by saying 'Chee-ma' in order to have deniability. If the shit hits the fan, he will issue a non-apology: "I am sorry for you if you misheard and thus misunderstood what I sang."

- Chan Ka-ho's Facebook

There is even a YouTube video for the song <Popularity chart of sons-of-bitches>, with the subtitle saying "Chee-na" ...

- (YouTube) (YouTube) Another battle took place when Chau Sze Tat showed up at the Passion Times stall munching a hot dog as Chan Sau-wai (Mrs. Wong Yeung-tat) came up to curse him out.

- Blue Phoenix's Facebook

Partial transcript:

Chan: Chau Sze Tat is going to get what is coming. I am not you, so you shouldn't worry. I am not afraid of you. I am telling you. I am cursing you to your face right now. I am not like you peole..

Chau: I am only curse you to your face. What are you afraid of?

Chan: I won't use obscene language. Must you use obscene language every other sentence. What have you said other than obscene language?

Chau: Take a look at yourself going berserk, Sister Sau.

Chan: Not the case. I am telling you. What you said is inaccurate. You are smearing.

Chau: It is all about comeuppance. Are you talking about comeuppance? Nobody is around.

Chan: I am telling you. You are here. Is that what you want? You are not having fun. Do you know our numbers? Fools who don't understand will never understand. A Chinese major who doesn't know IT wants to talk IT with people.

Chau: So I am completely wrong, Sister Sau.

Chan: I am telling you! Right now I am cursing you to your face. I am not just coming over to wag my finger! I am telling you! I have the guts to curse you out to your face! If you have the courage, you would have walked over right there! You are filming over here! You are wasting your time! Why don't you go back to Ming Pao? What don't you publish your books using 'red' capital?

Chau: What don't you go back to dig up more dirt to target people!

Chan: Everybody is saying bad things about you. It is a waste of time!

Chau: ... Alright, let us eat hot dogs ...

- As expected, both sides claimed total victories over the other side on their respective Facebooks as reinforced by their respective followers.

- Here is a photo of Chau Sze Tat promoting his new books at the Ming Pao Publishing House stall:

On June 28th, Chau Sze Tat wrote about Xi Jinping's visit to Hong Kong to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the handover: "There are banners saying 'warmly celebrate' in white letters on red background everywhere. This is vulgar and disgusting just like the black letters on yellow background of Civic Passion." The fact is that Chau Sze Tat's own book has black letters on  yellow background, and the Ming Pao Publishing House stall has white letters on red background. But is this vulgar and disgusting?

- How to protest against Civic Passion:

Ronald Leung's Facebook


I recommend a standard action for all those who go to the Hong Kong Book Fair: Eat a hot dog outside the Passion Times stall!

How Wong Yeung-tat stopped the protest with a counter protest: Show your support for Passion Times by eating a hot dog outside their stall!

- After reading all this, may I quote Yau Wai-ching as my thought?

- Of course, you should care! This is the state of the current Hong Kong independence/self-determination movement. Instead of fighting to destroy the Chinese Communist Party/People's Liberation Army, the Valiant Warriors of the Hong Kong Republic are turning on each other. We need to unify under a charismatic leader (such as Yau Wai-ching) to lead us in the coming battle between Good and Evil.

(SCMP) July 21, 2017.

Hong Kong is expected to lease space inside the future high-speed rail terminus at West Kowloon to mainland Chinese authorities to implement a plan for a joint immigration checkpoint, under a deal to be announced as early as next week. The proposal will likely see mainland laws enforced on Hong Kong soil within the leased area, where mainland border control facilities will be installed, according to two lawmakers familiar with the arrangement.

Mainland officers would man the facilities and Hong Kong law enforcers would only venture into the area in the case of an emergency such as an accident or fire.

The Executive Council, an advisory body to Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, is scheduled to be briefed on the details on Monday, and the arrangement will be announced as early as the following day after the formal approval of the council is given at its regular meeting.

A bill on setting up a mainland port area inside the rail station is expected to be tabled to Hong Kongs legislature in October, with the aim of having it passed by early next year.

The bill will provide for the application of mainland laws to the designated area, as well as specify the arrangements that will allow mainland customs and immigration facilities to be co-located with those for Hong Kong at the terminal.

It will be administered as a restricted area according to mainland laws, as is the case at other land border control points between Hong Kong and the mainland.

Article 18 of the Basic Law Hong Kongs mini-constitution states that national laws shall not be applied in Hong Kong except for those outside the limits of the autonomy of [Hong Kong]. Article 22 states that offices set up by mainland authorities in Hong Kong and the personnel of these offices shall abide by Hong Kong laws.

The West Kowloon station arrangement will be similar to that for the existing Shenzhen Bay port. Hong Kong and Shenzhen struck a deal in 2007 to implement a joint checkpoint arrangement there the first of its kind.

Internet comments:

- The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China

Article 18

The laws in force in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be this Law, the laws previously in force in Hong Kong as provided for in Article 8 of this Law, and the laws enacted by the legislature of the Region. National laws shall not be applied in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region except for those listed in Annex III to this Law. The laws listed therein shall be applied locally by way of promulgation or legislation by the Region.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress may add to or delete from the list of laws in Annex III after consulting its Committee for the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the government of the Region. Laws listed in Annex III to this Law shall be confined to those relating to defence and foreign affairs as well as other matters outside the limits of the autonomy of the Region as specified by this Law.

In the event that the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress decides to declare a state of war or, by reason of turmoil within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region which endangers national unity or security and is beyond the control of the government of the Region, decides that the Region is in a state of emergency, the Central People's Government may issue an order applying the relevant national laws in the Region.

Article 22 
No department of the Central People's Government and no province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government may interfere in the affairs which the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region administers on its own in accordance with this Law. 

If there is a need for departments of the Central Government, or for provinces, autonomous regions, or municipalities directly under the Central Government to set up offices in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, they must obtain the consent of the government of the Region and the approval of the Central People's Government.

All offices set up in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region by departments of the Central Government, or by provinces, autonomous regions, or municipalities directly under the Central Government, and the personnel of these offices shall abide by the laws of the Region.

- Other examples of customs/immigration controls:

- Shenzhen Bay Control Point

Shenzhen Bay Control Point (Chinese: 深圳灣管制站) is a Hong Kong immigration control point on its border with mainland China. It is housed in the same building with its mainland Chinese counterpart, the Shenzhen Bay Port.

Located geographically in Dongjiaotou, Shekou on the southwestern corner of the city of Shenzhen in the Guangdong Province of mainland China, the Shenzhen Bay Control Point is the only border control point where co-location clearance is practised. The Hong Kong portion of the building and its adjacent open area, together with the northern third of the Western Corridor Bridge, are leased to Hong Kong and made within Hong Kong's jurisdiction for an initial period until 30 June 2047. As such, Hong Kong laws apply, instead of PRC laws.

The co-location of immigration and customs facilities with the mainland counterpart, the Shenzhen Bay Port, allows passengers and vehicles for departure and arrival clearance to take place within a short distance.

The control point is surrounded by mainland China and the closed area without being contiguously attached to another part of Hong Kong, except the bridge. Because it is a leased territory, it is legally part of Guangdong Province and thus not an exclave of Hong Kong. However, it is administered as a part of Hong Kong SAR and the Hong Kong Government exercises full jurisdiction within the area.

- How to take the Eurostar train from Paris to London:

Train service: Eurostar
Departure: Gare du Nord station, Paris, France
Arrival: St Pancras station, London, England

Check-in for the Eurostar is through a special level of Gare du Nord separate from the rest of the station. All Eurostar travelers must pass through both French and British passport control before boarding the train. Then you will need to pass a security screening where your bags are scanned and  you walk through a metal detector. Finally you'll arrive in the Eurostar waiting lounge.

After arrival, youll make your way towards the atrium area with its gigantic clock on the center of the wall. Youll descend down a moving walkway towards the customs area where you will pass British customs officers randomly screening passengers.

- Toronto Pearson International Airport Departure Guide

For the majority of U.S. flights, passengers leaving Toronto will go through U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Toronto. This means you arrive in the United States as a domestic passenger.

Checking in for a U.S.-bound Flight

Terminal 1 and Terminal 3

  1. Check in online or use an airport kiosk. [Proceed to the airline check-in counter if you have to check a bag or require additional assistance.]
  2. Proceed to the automated bag drop for checked and oversized baggage.  
  3. Proceed to the pre-board security screening area.  
  4. Proceed to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection hall
  5. Head to your gate

- The reason why Hong Kong can lease land for its Shenzhen Bay Control Point in mainland China is that there is no equivalent of Hong Kong Basic Law Article 22 in the People's Republic of China constitution. Since Hong Kong has a Basic Law Article 22, there cannot be a co-located mainland checkpoint in Hong Kong.

The United States, the United Kingdom and France do not have the equivalent of the Hong Kong Basic Law Article 22 in their respective constitutions either. And that is why they can have co-located customs/immigration control points.

Therefore, in order to defend the Hong Kong Basic Law, we must have separate checkpoints in Hong Kong and mainland China. The future of Freedom, Democracy and A High Degree of Autonomy depends on it.

- (United States Customs and Border Protection)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) air Preclearance operations is the strategic stationing of CBP law enforcement personnel overseas to inspect travelers prior to boarding U.S.-bound flights. Through Preclearance, CBP Officers conduct the same immigration, customs, and agriculture inspections of international air travelers typically performed upon arrival in the United States before departure from foreign airports.

Today, CBP has more than 600 law enforcement officers and agriculture specialists stationed at 15 air Preclearance locations in 6 countries: Dublin and Shannon in Ireland; Aruba; Freeport and Nassau in The Bahamas; Bermuda; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; and Calgary, Toronto, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Winnipeg in Canada. CBP also staffs a Pre-inspection facility for passenger/vehicle ferry traffic to the U.S. in Victoria, Canada.

In Fiscal Year 2016, CBP personnel stationed abroad precleared 18 million travelers, representing over 15 percent of all commercial air travelers to the United States.

- If there is a proposal for United States Customs and Border Protection preclearance in Hong Kong, what would the non-establishment camp say? Will they argue that police brutality in the United States is an urban legend? Or that only a few Okinawan women had been murdered and/or raped by American soldiers?

- (Bastille Post) July 21, 2017.

When the government disclosed that the proposal for joint immigration checkpoint in West Kowloon, the non-establishment camp was ecstatic. Recently, they were upset by the case of the DQ4 but they could not vent their ire by filibustering too much on livelihood issues. So here is a good opportunity.

For most citizens, the key question is convenience of travel. For the non-establishment legislators, the focus is on legal concepts. This is especially true for the Civic Party. Civic Party chairman Alan Leong said on radio that the joint immigration checkpoint will imperil the people of Hong Kong. Civic Party head Alvin Yeung said that mainland China is leading Hong Kong land to establish a beachhead in the manner of the 1898 lease of New Territories to the United Kingdom. Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said that the joint immigration checkpiont is not consistent with Basic Law Article 22, and that if the National People's Congress Standing COmmittee forces the plan through a State Council order, it would be the same as Hong Kong ceding land to the mainland.

- Roy Tam's Facebook

One way or the other, joint immigration checkpoint will be a violation of the Basic Law.

Whether the land is ceded or leased, it is against Basic Law Article 18 to have mainland laws on Hong Kong land.

Over the years, I have said that the High Speed Rail won't work because the joint immigration checkpoint can't work. The people of Hong Kong have put in $100 billion already, to attract more individual travelers from mainland. The main public security will now even be in the city center (West Kowloon). They won't have to smuggle themselves in anymore ...

There will be more problems such as those listed below:

(1) On the Express Rail inside Hong Kong, a baby is born. Is this a Hongkonger or mainlander?
(2) I yell "Vindicate June 4th" and "End one-party rule" inside a train within Hong Kong border, will I be arrested? (I am on Hong Kong soil)
(3) Hongkongers get into fights with mainlanders on the train on Hong Kong soil. Then what?

Anyway, there are lots of problems with the Express Rail Link.

- Duh, here are the answers:

(1) Plenty of babies are delivered on airplanes. What is the nationality of the baby?

(Telegraph)

There are several different factors to take into account when a child is born on a flight, says Vaibhav Tanwar, a senior immigration caseworker at Visa and Migration, an immigration and nationality law specialists.

Firstly, if the flight is from a country signed to the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness agreement, then the child will be a national of where the airplane is registered.

If the country is not part of the agreement, then the location of the airplane within international airspace will be the childs nationality. For example, if a child is born with USA airspace they would become an American national. However, if that country doesnt allow the child born in the country to become a citizen, it will then adopt the nationality of either the mother or father.

The same rules apply to babies born on cruise ships. Births tend to be more common at sea, due to the duration of journey.

The issue is broadly split between two principles - jus sanguinis and jus soli, right of blood and right of soil, respectively. The former means citizenship is determined not by place of birth but by the nationality of the parents, while the latter is the reverse.

(2) I yell "Vindicate June 4th" and "End one-party rule" inside a MTR train on the Hong Kong Island line. Will I be arrested? Yes, if the train was crowded and if the other passengers are upset by your primal screams, you can be arrested for disturbing the peace.

In the case of Roy Tam, he can yell "I want genuine universal suffrage" inside his Hong Kong home and nobody will mind. But if he "occupies" Admiralty and stop all vehicular traffic for 79 days so that he can yell "I want genuine universal suffrage", he will be charged with creating a public nuisance with a maximum sentence of 7 years in jail (or something).

(3) Hongkongers get into fights with mainlanders on the train on Hong Kong soil? They already do plenty of fighting on airplanes:

(ChinaSMACK) December 17, 2014.

At 9am, on Air China Flight CA433 from Chongqing to Hong Kong, a dispute occurred between passengers on-board. The cause involved two female passengers in one row being upset with a child behind them being too noisy, with the passenger in the row behind blaming the front passengers seat for affecting them. These several passengers got into a physical fight on the plane over this, with the plane nearly turning back as a result. After arriving in Hong Kong, Hong Kong police immediately intervened to handle the dispute.

Fighting in public is handled by the police at the next stop. If the train was heading to China, the crew will radio ahead and the Chinese public security bureau will be waiting at the next stop. Vice versa if the train was heading to Hong Kong. You would be facing a full-scale riot by all passengers if you insist that the train be turned back to the origin.

- (Bastille Post) July 21, 2017.

I read some newspaper headlines this morning that High Speed Rail will be using a "mobile border" so that mainland law applies as soon as you board the train. This seems quite scary.

First of all, what do we do now if we want to go to Shanghai by train? We take the MTR to Luohu, pass through the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese immigration checkpoints located in the Luohu Customs Building and take the High Speed Rail train to our destination.

The proposal for the High Speed Rail is to have the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese immigration checkpoints co-located in West Kowloon, and the High Speed Rail train will head directly to the destination. At the destination as well as intermediate stops, passengers can disembark and enter the city immediately with no further customs/immigration checks.

In either case, we as passengers choose to go to mainland China by leaving through the Hong Kong immigration checkpoint and entering a mainland Chinese immigration checkpoint. If you are scared of going to mainland China, you should not be going at all. Just stay in Hong Kong, and mainland laws cannot take away your freedom and democracy.

A traveler to mainland China is going to have to go through Hong Kong and mainland Chinese immigration checkpoints. The only difference is whether the checkpoints are located in West Kowloon or Shenzhen. As soon as you arrive in mainland China, mainland laws apply.

Conversely, if you don't co-locate the immigration checkpoints, the traveler will clear Hong Kong immigration control in West Kowloon, get on the train and travel to Shenzhen, disembark with all luggage to go through the mainland immigration/customs checkpoint and re-board the train.

For the traveler, the West Kowloon mainland immigration checkpoint won't take away your freedom. If there are restrictions on your freedom, you should know about them before you set off to mainland China.

At this time, many non-establishment legislators are localists and radical pan-democrats. They and even the large traditional pan-democratic parties are saying that co-location is unacceptable and they will filibuster the relevant legislation.

How about letting the people of Hong Kong decide. Do they want ...?

(1) Have co-located Hong Kong/mainland checkpoints in West Kowloon without further inspection after crossing the border

or

(2) Have only a Hong Kong immigration checkpoint at West Kowloon and then all passengers will be forced to disembark with their luggage to be inspected in Shenzhen first before re-embarking on the journey

This is a simple choice, and I believe that most Hongkongers will choose (1) but the pan-democratic legislators will oppose (1).

Politicians like to turn nothing into something, because this is how they derive existential meaning.

- Ko Chi-sum's Facebook

The direct London-Paris train has a joint immigration checkpoint in London. I have taken the train before. So the French were enforcing French laws on British soil. This has been the case for many years without any problems. Now Hong Kong is a part of China. So why can this be so wrong? The non-establishment camp is looking for make something out of nothing. What do they hope to achieve? Another interpretation of the Basic Law from the National People's Congress Standing Committee? Or make a bundle of money from the legal fees for judicial reviews?

- Ko Chi-sum's Facebook

At this time, it is obvious that some people think that having a joint immigration checkpoint is most convenient for their travels, but other people are afraid that they might lose their freedom and democracy.

So let me propose a solution that will please both sides.

At the West Kowloon Station, there will be two entrances.

Entrance A is for those who prefer to have a joint immigration checkpoint. They will go through the Hong Kong and mainland immigration checkpoints, clear customs and board pre-designated cars on the train (say, front of the train).

Entrance B is for those who prefer to have separate immigration checkpoints. They will go through the Hong Kong immigration checkpoints and board other pre-designated cars on the train (say, back of the train).

The train will make a brief 2-minute stop at Futian station in Shenzhen.

All those in the front of the train will stay on and travel to their respective destinations on the same train.

All those in the back of the train will disembark with their luggage. They will walk to the mainland immigration checkpoint, clear customs and then they head to the waiting room to wait for the next trains that goes to their ultimate destinations.

What happens if a person taking Entrance B forgets to disembark at Futian? When the person arrives at the destination (say, Beijing), he/she will be detained by the public security bureau. Since there is no immigration checkpoint there, he/she will be sent back to Futian for immigration clearance. He/she will pay for his/her own one-way train fare, plus the round-trip fare for the two public security officers who escort him/her.

Thus, the people of Hong Kong will be offered total freedom of choice. If they want freedom and democracy, they can take Entrance B. If they want totalitarianism and Communism, they can take Entrance A.

Of course, they can choose not to go to mainland China altogether, and take their vacations in Taiwan/Japan/South Korea/Thailand.

After one year of testing, the numbers will tell us what the people really want. The body is more honest than the mouth.

- (Ta Kung Pao) July 25, 2017.

Yesterday Apple Daily posted a situation in which they say that a person may be arrested in the carriage of a High Speed Rail train while still in Hong Kong for seditious speech such as commemorating somebody or the other.

This is lousy film script. The carriage of a High Speed Rail train is a public area. It is not a funeral parlor hall in which people can raise banners, carry coffins, pay respects, burn joss sticks, etc. If you see someone doing that in a train, you should be upset and you should be calling the police (whether the mainland public security or the Hong Kong Police).

More importantly, why do you have to do this in a High Speed Rail train of all places. There are plenty of places for you to do so. For example, people hold candlelight vigils for the thousands of students who were murdered by the People's Liberation Army on June 4th 1989. Have the Hong Kong Police ever arrested anyone for doing so?

The reason why you want to hold a commemorative service in a High Speed Rail train carriage is that you want to provoke the mainland security bureau. If you provoke them, you deserve what is coming to you.

The fact is that co-location of immigration checkpoints is inevitable. If you obey mainland laws in those areas where mainland laws (immigration, customs, security) are in effect, nobody will bother you. You have nothing to worry about. Each day, two hundred thousand Hongkongers travel back and forth to mainland China, by airplane, train, bus and boat. How many of them are arrested for no reason?

- (SpeakoutHK @YouTube)

Claudia Mo: This is ceding land. This is practically ceding land.

Ma Yan-kwok: Hong Kong is not a sovereign nation, so it does not have its own territory. The sovereignty and ownership of the land of Hong Kong belong to the People's Republic of China. So Hong Kong cannot be ceding West Kowloon station to mainland China. This is completely wrong. Claudia Mo is speaking as if Hong Kong is an independent nation. Perhaps she wants to advance Hong Kong independence.

Kwok Ka-ki: A joint immigration checkpoint will be a blow to One Country Two Systems.

Ma Yan-kwok: If China wants to take back One Country Two Systems and go with One Country One System, a simple decision by the National People's Congress to get rid of the Basic Law will do it. But China hopes to and has promised to carry out One Country Two Systems. For twenty years after the handover, China has not gotten rid of One Country Two Systems. Instead she is even more determined to do so. There is no worry that Kowloon or Mong Kok will become a place under mainland Chinese rule. This has to do with the High Speed Rail.

Dennis Kwok: Letting mainland officials come to enforce mainland law is setting the precedent for destroying One Country Two Systems.

Ma Yan-kwok: The opposition is best at using the name of democracy to fight against the Chinese Communists. They will resist anything coming from mainland China. Whether it is good or bad. Whether a solution exists or not. They will use various reasons, such as legal arguments, or people's fears to fight the Chinese Communists. West Kowloon is an area where resources are expensive. A lot of time and work has been done there. If you end up an ineffective transportation service, you will have wasted a lot of taxpayers money and let the people of Hong Kong down. I wish the non-establishment camp would stop thinking that their goal is to fight the Chinese Communists, and not think that their voter base come from opposing national development. No matter what you think about mainland China, the developments in mainland China are out there for the world to see. Hong Kong is such a small place. If you want to oppose national development, you will imperil the interests of the citizens of Hong Kong.

- (SpeakoutHK) July 24, 2017.

Civic Party head Alvin Yeung said that "Co-location is the same as ceding land ..."

Ming Pao's editorial said that this is a fake issue. According to Hong Kong Basic Law Article 7:

The land and natural resources within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be State property. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be responsible for their management, use and development and for their lease or grant to individuals, legal persons or organizations for use or development. The revenues derived therefrom shall be exclusively at the disposal of the government of the Region.

As to whether having mainland Chinese personnel in Hong Kong will work, please refer to Basic Law Article 14:

The Central People's Government shall be responsible for the defence of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be responsible for the maintenance of public order in the Region.

Military forces stationed by the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for defence shall not interfere in the local affairs of the Region. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may, when necessary, ask the Central People's Government for assistance from the garrison in the maintenance of public order and in disaster relief.

In addition to abiding by national laws, members of the garrison shall abide by the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

It has been 20 years since the handover. There is enough experience to say that it works.

- (SCMP) July 25, 2017.

The central government intends to let the local government pass a law and finalise the deal, but will act on its own if that does not work out, according to Tian Feilong, a member of the Chinese Association on Hong Kong and Macau Studies, a semi-official think tank.

This is to respect the high degree of autonomy guaranteed for the people of Hong Kong, Tian, a Basic Law academic at Beijings Beihang University, said. However, if Hong Kong lawmakers fail to legislate within a reasonable time, the central government will have to take the initiative, he added. It will no longer be a model for a land lease, but legal redesignation of land use.

Tian said there were two options for getting such a redesignation: one was for the National Peoples Congress Standing Committee to pass a resolution giving mainland law enforcement agencies power to operate in the station; the other was for the State Council to issue a directive upon the citys chief executive to that effect.

- (Bastille Post) July 25, 2017.

Secretary Rimsky Yuen said that it was the idea of the Hong Kong government to build the High Speed Rail in Hong Kong, as opposed to an order from the Central Government. The High Speed Rail was not going to pass through Hong Kong to reach some other city, so it does not matter whether the High Speed Rail terminates in Shenzhen or Hong Kong.

At the time of the 1997 handover, Hong Kong as well as China were hit by the Asian financial crisis. According to a Shenzhen deputy mayor, his city was in bad shape and wanted to break out. He came to Hong Kong to observe how the Hong Kong Productivity Council was helping small- and medium-sized technology companies to innovate. He went back to Shenzhen and reproduced the program, but scaled up by a lot more. More than a decade later, Shenzhen is hugely successful. It goes to show that at the time of the handover, Hong Kong was actually more advanced than Guangdong province.

When Tung Chee-hwa became Hong Kong Chief Executive, he proposed to Guangdong to issue multi-trip individual visas for their citizens to visit Hong Kong in order to stimulate tourism and spending. The Guangdong government counter-proposed a Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge to improve logistics into mainland China. This showed that Guangdong province was still largely dependent upon Hong Kong logistics.

The discussions went on for several years. In the end, Guangdong province had a 180 degree change in attitude. They were now no longer interested in a Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge. In 2001, China joined the World Trade Organisation, and imports/exports soared. Guangdong province was more interested in developing its own airports and logistics industry. They did not want to hand the business over to Hong Kong by building the bridge.

It was the Central Government which stepped in. In 2003, the Hong Kong economy was devastated by SARS. So the Central Government ordered Guangdong province to issue individual visit permits. In 2007, the agreement was reached to build the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge.

At the time of the handover, mainland China wanted to copy Hong Kong or cooperate with it. Ten years later, they want to do it themselves and have nothing to do with Hong Kong. Cooperating with Hong Kong means that people, materials and capital will flow there. The world has changed by then.

In 2015, Ma Xingrui became Shenzhen city Communist Party secretary. In 2016, the Shenzhen MTR asked for bids, and the Hong Kong MTR was one of the bidders. Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung went to see Ma Xingrui to lobby for the Hong Kong MTR. In the end, the Hong Kong MTR did not get the bid.

If I were Ma Xingrui, I would not award the contract to the Hong Kong MTR. Hong Kong is Shenzhen's competitor. Unless the Central Government favors Hong Kong, it would be best to maintain a distance. Today Ma Xingrui is the governor of Guangdong province.

So from the viewpoint of Shenzhen, it is a good thing if the High Speed Rail service stops in Shenzhen for immigration/customs control. Less business for Hong Kong means more business for Shenzhen.

The world has changed. Hong Kong cannot afford to sit around and wait for business to come. It will have to go to get business. We cannot sit around and debate the co-location of immigration checkpoints. We should be thinking about how to use Hong Kong's High Speed Rail to get more business. That would be much more constructive.

- Oh my God! We are going to have gun-toting outside military/para-military forces in Hong Kong! We're all going to die! Or something ...

- Oh, wait, are you talking about the marines stationed inside the US Consulate on Garden Road? Or are you talking about the People's Liberation Army soldiers in Tamar?

- (SCMP) Fuss over joint checkpoint is much ado about nothing. By Alex Lo. July 26, 2017.

Call me naive, but I dont understand why there is all this fuss over a joint checkpoint at the West Kowloon terminus of the high-speed rail link to Guangzhou. Hong Kong has done something similar before, and so has Macau. This is not to mention many other comparable arrangements exist between countries around the world.

There are three main issues: trust, legality and common sense.

I get it. Many Hong Kong people dont trust mainland authorities, especially when they are given powers to enforce mainland laws on Hong Kong soil. But, this is what I dont get. You are boarding an express train to the mainland anyway. If you are afraid of being caught by mainland agents, for whatever reason, maybe you shouldnt get on the train in the first place.

Secondly, is this so-called co-location legal or constitutional? Well, I am no expert on the Basic Law. But I am glad that Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, the Civic Party legislator, wrote that the core legal concepts involved in the so-called co-location arrangement just cant be simpler and ... even a layman who hasnt gone through any legal training can instantly understand.

Kwok and his party colleagues, many of them barristers, think co-location breaches the Basic Law. Well, maybe, who knows? But then, Albert Chen Hung-yee, a member of the Basic Law Committee and a law professor at the University of Hong Kong, thinks its perfectly workable and legal. Senior counsel Alan Hoo, chairman of the Basic Law Institute, thinks likewise.

Suffice it to say that our legal experts dont agree among themselves and that their positions depend more on their political backgrounds. Therefore, the constitutionality of co-location is by no means obvious one way or another.

Lastly, common sense. Hong Kong immigration and customs officers have been operating at the Shenzhen Bay Control Point for more than a decade, and no one makes a big deal of it. Why? Because its convenient and saves time. If we can do it in Shenzhen, why cant they do it in Hong Kong?

Since 2013, Macau has effectively expanded its jurisdiction into the mainland when University of Macau students were allowed to attend classes, access uncensored internet, use patacas and be liable to Macau law on its campus on Zhuhais Hengqin island.

If two jurisdictions mutually agree on such extraterritorial arrangements to make life easier for their people, I dont see a reasonable objection.

- (HKG Pao) At 8:00pm on July 24 2017, Apple Daily published an article about mainland security being allowed to carry guns in the High Speed Rail station for security purposes. At 11:30pm, HKG Pao published an article to call for people to vote on co-location of immigration checkpoints. After 12 hours, Apple Daily has 1,845 votes with 1,394 being ANGRY. After 12 hours, HKG Pao has 3,512 votes with 3,466 LIKE's.

- The King of Judicial Reviews Kwok Cheuk-kin has filed a judicial review for the court to issue an injunction to ban Chief Executive Carrie Lam/Executive Council from allowing mainland Chinese public security agents to enforce mainland Chinese laws inside the West Kowloon High Speed Rail terminal. Kwok said that if the mainland public security agents can make arrests in West Kowloon, then they can do the same in Central district because Hong Kong is part of China." Therefore Kwok demands a judicial review in order to find that this is against the Hong Kong Basic Law.

- Calling the Castle Peak Psychiatric Hospital! One of your patients has escaped ...

(Hong Kong Free Press) July 17, 2017.

The owner of the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper has sold off his pioneering tabloid publication Next Magazine to an investor amid financial difficulties.

Businessman Kenny Wee acquired the first ever magazine founded by media tycoon Jimmy Lai for HK$500 million on Monday, through a wholly-owned company named W Bros. Investments Ltd. Next Magazines four sister publications Sudden Weekly, Face, ME! and Next+One have also been sold.

Holding company Next Digital announced on the stock exchange on Monday that Wee will pay HK$320 million of the HK$500 million purchase price to Lai, while the remainder of the sum will be injected into the five magazines.

(Hong Kong Free Press) July 18, 2017.

On Monday, Next Magazine reported that an employee questioned Next Media CEO Cassian Cheung during a morning staff meeting regarding comments made by owner Lai, who claimed back in 2013 that he would not sell any of his publications.

If I sell, then I would be a son of a bitch for the rest of my life, he said in an interview at the time. Hong Kong is my home. I have a responsibility to fight for democracy and universal suffrage, and I cant shirk from it. Cheung replied that Lai meant he would be a son of a bitch if he sold his entire Next Media group, and not only Next Magazine.

(Hong Kong Free Press) July 24, 2017.

On Monday, Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai announced the sale of his pioneering investigative tabloid Next Magazine to businessman Kenny Wee for HK$500 million amid financial difficulties. The move sparked fears from the Next Media groups labour union that the outspoken magazine would lose its editorial independence, while Wee has threatened to dismiss employees who are biased against him.

Next Magazine staff questioned whether Lai had reneged on his promise not to sell off his publications; he told reporters in 2013 that he would be a son of a bitch for the rest of his life if he did so. Thursdays edition of the magazine hit out at Lai, accusing him of selling out the publication in its cover story.

But American executive Mark Simon, Lais right-hand man, told HKFP he is confident that Next Magazine would retain its editorial independence even though Wee would be a different type of owner. There is not another Jimmy Lai coming for Next, he said. But why is that the expectation?

Simon said that Wees free newspaper Metro Daily which he owned from 2013 until last month has never shunned business with the Next Media group, even as pressure from Beijing caused many local companies to withdraw advertisements from Lais pro-democracy publications.

The newspaper world is small in Hong Kong, and we have a favourable impression of Metro, he said. We printed them for a while, handled some distribution, and they even bought content from us.

Though Wee promised editorial independence for Next Magazine, he also previously claimed that he is more of a moderate, and that it is not necessary to always oppose the government as a journalist.

Is it required that Mr. Wee take a seat at the next Occupy Central? Simon said. All owners are different.

What will keep Next honest is the market, he added. If Next starts taking dives, folks notice, and in a social media world that means a downfall. I dont think Kenny bought Next to lose.

Meanwhile, Thursdays Next Magazine cover story not only criticised Lai for selling the publication, but also spelled out a list of controversies involving new owner Wee. These included a conviction for spitting at a reporter, creditor lawsuits regarding his ownership of Metro Daily and E Weekly, and a friendship with former leader Leung Chun-yings daughter that got his family invited to Government House last year.

The 44-year-old businessman hardened his line after he found out about the story, telling Sing Tao Daily on Tuesday that 5 per cent of the magazines staff were a tumour to the rest of the team.

[They] slam everything they dont like, they dont investigate or find proof, and write biased reports, he said. I have zero tolerance for this type of tumour.

Simon told HKFP that he, too, had little sympathy for the editors who published the Thursday story. If it was any other publication I would worry about the 5 per cent tumour remark, but this is Nextand you saw that cover of the July 20 issue. It was a hard crack at Wee and our major shareholder, Jimmy Lai.

Now I make no bones I was not a fan of [Wees comments], which is our right at Next, but it was the editors at Next Magazine that fired first at the guy who was buying their magazine.

So, while others would replace some in management more diplomatically, Next kind [of] earned that response, he said.

Simon added that he was more concerned about the futures of the journalists whom Wee says he would like to retain at Next Magazine: I would like those more junior people, people who need the pay cheque, to have a chance at making their own decision. Simon said that the Next Media group was happy with Wees promise to retain the vast majority of the staff in Next Magazine.

Although Wee is often followed by Hong Kong paparazzi due to his marriage to actress Suki Choi, media columnists have described his background as mysterious. He made a fortune in the food and beverage business, but his business has been suspected of being a front for mainland Chinese red capital a charge he denied in his Sing Tao Daily interview.

Simon said he only met Wee once, but said he conducted inquiries on his background in the lead-up to several earlier business deals. [Wees] restaurants have good cash flow. Also I know a few of his business associates, he said. I put his net worth at about US$70-80 million after the Metro sale. So he has the money.

 In Thursdays cover story, Next Magazine took questions regarding Wees source of wealth a step further. The magazine wrote that it could not find any property transaction records involving luxury residences that Wee previously claimed he bought including at Sorrento, The Harbourside and The Arch.

There are calls nearly every month from potential buyers for all [of Next Medias] assets, said Simon. Most are clowns.

Internet comments:

- (Hong Kong Free Press) July 18, 2017. On Monday, new owner Kenny Wee told reporters from Next Magazine and sister newspaper Apple Daily that he would not interfere with editorial independence. Take a look at Metro Daily over the past four years, he said. Its always been green [the colour of the newspapers theme], and has not turned red [succumbed to Communist influence].

However, Wee added that the magazines employees must not view him through coloured lenses and compare him with Jimmy Lai, the pro-democracy owner of Next Media. If you choose someone, theyll also choose you, said Wee. Some people might not want to go over to the new owner. Some people might not listen to me after discussions then I would have no choice, I have to ask them to leave. If you are a successful person, if you are a tolerant person with a vision, or if youre an experienced journalist, then you should not look at anyone through coloured lenses, including your new boss or your new colleagues. If youre like that, then you have no business staying at Next Magazine.

- (Sing Tao) July 20, 2017.

New owner Kenny Wee said that just as Next Weekly employees have the freedom to express their wishes, he also has the freedom to decide which employees can stay. He said that if they don't want to work at Next Weekly, they can quit. "I will keep those who have confidence. There is no reason to call a restaurant bad if you have never ever dined there. This is a frog in a well mentality. I want talented people."

Kenny Wee said that keeping the "malignant tumors" around will contaminate everybody. Based upon what he knows, 5% of the company are "malignant tumors." He said that certain senior staff members use colored lenses to make decisions. Within the editorial staff, "they will make biased criticisms without investigation or confirmation. I have zero tolerance for such malignant tumors." Previously on television, Kenny Wee has wondered if the media has to oppose the government all the time? Do you oppose the government even if it has done nothing wrong? He said then that he will not let such employees stay.

As for Next Weekly report yesterday about his personal history, Kenny Wee said that it contained many mistakes. After reading it, he can only laugh. He said that he is not acquainted with the two Chief Executives  named in the report. He accompanied his wife Suki Chui to dinner with friends twice at Government House, but the report said that he is well-acquainted with CY Leung. "Is it a crime to accompany my wife to Government House? This is taking things out of context."

He said that the workers have devoted more than twenty years to make this magazine. But "someone has decided to carve out a personal kingdom." He said that he cannot let one person's decision affect the livelihoods of more than 400 families. He said that it would hurt a lot to shut down Next Weekly. The person who made that proposal (namely, editor-in-chief Wong Lai-tong) was mean and should not kill off a successful magazine.

Kenny Wee said that he has no layoff plans, but he cannot guarantee that nobody will be dismissed. It would be unfair otherwise if some workers decide not to do their work. He said that there are fewer than 400 persons at Next Weekly now. He hopes to hire more people for the Breaking News division in Section A and the Entertainment Paparazzi in Section B of the magazine. Kenny Wee said that the magazine will continue to be bold, it will have freedom of press, and it can criticize the government, senior government officials and the Chief Executive.

Kenny Wee said that people speculate that he is a "red" capitalist. "Frankly, nobody is going to invest money in Next Weekly except me." He emphasized that no "red" capital is involved in this deal.

Kenny Wee said that he does not know Jimmy Lai. The deal was made through company representatives. Kenny Wee said that Jimmy Lai sold Next Weekly to him probably because he has no political background, he is neutral and he previously owned Metro Daily.

- The Hong Kong Journalists Association is concerned that Next Weekly may be turned "pro-communist" by its new mainlander owner. There is a fundamental misunderstanding of what made Next Weekly tick.

Here is the truth about the rise of Next Digital in a table: (Oriental Daily) July 18, 2017. The number of convictions by Next Digital publications under the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance (period: December 1993 to July 17, 2017) are listed in this table:

Apple Daily, 62 convictions, fined between $4,000 to $50,000 each time
Next Weekly, 22 convictions, fined between $2,000 to $40,000 each time
EasyFinder/Face, 18 convictions, fined between $1,000 to $50,000
Eat & Travel Weekly, 2 convictions, fined between $5,000 to $10,000
Sudden Weekly, 4 convictions, fined between $2,000 to $5,000
Next Weekly (Taiwan), 12 convictions, fined between $5,000 to $20,000
Sharp Weekly, 11 convictions, fined $10,000 each time

The fall of Next Digital has to do with the creeping creepy political bias. Advertisers and readers began to flee because they can no longer trust what is printed.

 - Let us examine the Book A of the July 20th edition of Next Weekly. The book has 84 printed pages, including the front and back covers. Who are the advertisers?

Inside front cover: The Hong Kong Mahjong Company, which runs a 'recreational' mahjong facility in Wanchai
Page 5: MTR's Express Rail Link
Pages 6-7: Next Plus (self-advertisement)
Page 9: Next Health Channel (self-advertisement)
Page 63 Next Car Channel (self-advertisement)
Inside back cover: Sammy Beauty Centre)
Outside back cover Wakmann swiss-watch

Book B of the July 20th edition of Next Weekly has 60 printed pages, including the front and back covers. Who are the advertisers?

Inside front cover + page 1: Designer Bridal Room
Page 3: MTR's Fare Saver
Page 17: Cosmo Boxx (beauty store app)
Page 23: Next Media Marketing (self-advertisement)
Inside back cover: Nine classified ads (for domestic helpers, wigs, personal injury lawsuits, evening school, private investigator, fortune telling)
Outside back cover: the Top (leather care)

How are they going to support 300 or so employees? And we don't know how many of these advertisers are actually paying the full amount on the rate card.

Meanwhile the Book A of the July 19th edition of competitor Eastweek. The book has 116 printed pages. Who are the advertisers?

Inside front cover: Panasonic (electronics)
Page 5: Broadway (consumer electronics retail)
Page 7: Ngong Ping 360 (travel)
Page 9: Samsung (electronics)
Page 21: CMK (consumer electronics retail)
Page 23: Sing Tao news group (self-advertisement)
Page 26: ThiEYE (electronics)
Page 32: HSBC bank (bank; half-page)
Page 39: Eastweek (self-advertisement)
Page 40-42: MassMutual (insurance)
Page 45: Public Bank (bank)
Page 49: Headline Daily (self-advertisement)
Page 53: East Week Express (self-advertisement)
Page 57: Headline Daily( self-advertisement)
Page 61: AIA (insurance)
Page 65: AIA (insurance)
Page 69: AIA (insurance)
Page 87: Sammy Beauty Centre
Inside back cover: TP-Link modems (electronics)
Outside back cover: China Mobile (telecommunications)

Meanwhile the Book B of the July 19th edition of competitor Eastweek has 172 pages. Who are their advertisers?

Inside front cover: PHYSICAL (fitness center)
Pages 6-7: Hong Kong Disneyland
Pages 10-13: Wisderma (beauty cream)
Page 37: Philips Lumea Prestige (personal care)
Page 41: Trendy Zone (consumer electronics)
Page 49-50: Hair Regen (hair regeneration)
Page 63: Kaeru (personal care)
Page 71: Medosan (personal care)
Page 76: Dr Morita (personal care)
Page 89: Balmain (watches)
Page 107: Hong Tai (travel agency
Page 121: Euroasia International Medical Group (cosmetic surgery)
Page 123: Chicco (children)
Page 125: Chicco (children)
Page 126: Jakewell (children)
Page 127: Touch (self-advertisement)
Page 128: ESF (education)
Page 133: HKT education (education)
Page 134-135: Eastweek (self-advertisement)
Page 149: Euroasia International Medical Group (cosmetic surgery)
Page 151: Angel Face (weight reduction)
Page 165: Sing Tao Magazine Group (self-advertisement)
Page 167: Euroasia International Medical Group (cosmetic surgery)
Inside back cover: Regal Palace (Macau restaurant)
Outside back cover: Kee Wah (pastry)

- (Oriental Daily) July 21, 2017. Previously, legislators who took money from Jimmy Lai have asked business why they are not advertising in Next Media publications. Former Chief Secretary Anson Fong, who has also taken money from Jimmy Lai, wrote to ask HSBC, Standard Chartered and East Asia Bank why they are not advertising in Next Media publications.

It goes without say that these are not fact-seeking questions as such. Instead they are intended to apply pressure on those advertisers. But advertisers are not obliged to explain to legislators what their advertising strategies are. So this proved not to be useful.

- There is a triangular relationship among contents, readers and advertisers.

If you have the contents, the readers will come.
If you have the readers, the advertisers will come.
If you have the advertisers, you will have the money to build the contents.

Most magazines start by investing to build the contents at a loss. The readers will come for those contents, and then the advertisers will come. Hopefully they will make a profit.

Next Weekly is in now in a situation where it cannot afford to build up the contents, it has loss large numbers of readers and the advertisers are running away. Rebuilding the contents will be tougher than starting a brand new magazine, because Next Weekly is a damaged brand already. You will have to invest a lot more to convince the readers that you are different now and that you are better than your competitors. But if you want to sit pat and not invest more, you are looking at more than $100 million in losses per year.

- (Bastille Post)

Why did Next Magazine die?

(1) Boycotts. This is the common explanation for the drop in advertising revenue. It is a fact that pro-China companies do not advertise in Next Weekly, but you are being lazy here. I spoke to a Next Digital senior manager recently and he offered the same explanation. I asked him, "Even if Apple Daily and Next Weekly are boycotted by pro-China advertisers in Hong Kong, this cannot be happening in Taiwan. But why was advertising revenue also dropping in Taiwan?"

When we conduct a scientific experiment, we have a test group and a control group. The Taiwan Next Weekly is our control group which is unaffected by Hong Kong factors. Year-to-date March 2017, Hong Kong Next Weekly had advertising revenues of $57.8 million which is a year-to-year drop of 46%. Meanwhile Taiwan Next Weekly had advertising revenues of $42.8 million which is a year-to-year drop of 53%! Taiwan saw an even greater drop than Hong Kong. The boycott effect has been exaggerated.

(2) Digital revolution. The digital revolution has an impact. How much? I was interviewed by Next Weekly more than three years ago by Bastille Post. Their team consists of one reporter, one photographer and one video camera man. They said that they were going to post the interview on their website. I asked the reporter: "If you post the interview on the website, who is still going to pay $20 for the print magazine?" The reporter could not give an answer. I thought at the time that they sent three people to conduct this interview to be posted on the website, which is going to cost too much for too little impact. So the impact of the digital revolution on Next Digital is actually a problem that they created for themselves.

(3) Strategic mistake. According to Next Weekly editor-in-chief Wong Lai-tong, "In retrospect, we were ignoring our core business. Do our competitors suffer as much? We made sure that we got the hit rates, but this may not be appropriate for a magazine." At Next Digital, a lot of print media contents were posted online for free. This only caused the print media circulation to drop more precipitously than the competition. Three years ago, the print media had $1.5 billion in advertising revenues. Now it is $560 million, or about one-third left. Meanwhile the online media had $640 million in advertising revenues three years ago. Now, it is $650 million. That is to day, print media ad revenues have fallen greatly but online media ad revenues have flattened out three years ago already. How do you make up for the missing $940 million ad revenues? Next Digital sacrificed print media in order to go digital, but the results were disastrous.

Year 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016 2016-2017
Print ads $3.474 billion $3.269 billion $2..57 billion $2.328 billion $1.784 billion
Online ads $157 million $364 million $640 million $660 million $650 million
Total costs $2.176 billion $1.92 billion $1.817 billion $1.442 billion $1.236 billion
Labor costs $819 million $838 million $823 million $655 million $631 million
P/L ($946 million) $248 million $169 million ($324 million) ($394 million)

-  Next Weekly is losing more than $100 million a year. Why is Kenny Wee willing to pay $500 million for it? Well, that depends on whether he genuine wants the sale to go through.

Once up a time, Next Weekly was the flagship of anti-Communist media in Hong Kong. Democratic Party founding chairman Martin Lee asked rhetorically whether the proof of the success of One Country Two Systems must depend on Jimmy Lai going down on his knees. He implied that Next Weekly is a rock-steady fortress of democracy that will not be surrendered to the enemy. But before too long, Jimmy Lai is down on his knees begging for $500 million of 'red' capital.

Today the myth of the Fortress of Democracy has been totally dismantled. If I were Kenny Wee, I would start making anonymous revelations about the pro-China background of my potential financiers. This will immediately caused the Taiwan government to veto the sale of Next Weekly (Taiwan). This will immediately allowed me to renege on the whole deal and I walk away with no harm to my reputation.

But the net result will be to make the Taiwan government look authoritarian, deprive Next Digital/Jimmy Lai of the desperately needed cash infusion and destroy the Next Weekly brand. What more can I ask for?

- (Oriental Daily) July 23, 2017. How can the money-losing Next Weekly be worth $500 million? Did Jimmy Lai really find a sucker? But all business people are crooks, so what makes you think that this buyer is a sucker? The buyer is putting down a deposit of $10 million, which is less than the standard rate of 10% (=$50 million). This means that the buyer is hesitant. Once he finds out the state of Next Weekly, he will surely quit. Besides the offer was for Taiwan and Hong Kong magazine titles, and the Taiwan government has clearly said that they won't approve of any deal involving mainland money. So it is no wonder that many people are pessimistic about whether this deal will be completed. Wasn't it the same when Jimmy Lai tried to sell his Next TV in Taiwan?

- (SilentMajorityHK) By Chris Wat Wing-yin. July 19, 2017.

Two weeks ago, the Hong Kong Journalists Association issued its annual report on Freedom of Expression. They pointed out that "of the 26 mainstream media outlets in Hong Kong, nine of them are controlled by mainland China or have Chinese investors." They specifically named TVB being controlled by a Chinese Communist Party member through a confidentiality agreement ...

The next day, Apple published several reports under the title "35% of Hong Kong media are red, freedom of press in danger," "media managers in collusion with authorities" and so on.

Previously, the investment of Alibaba into the South China Morning Post, the investment by the Chinese "Rupert Murdoch" Li Ruigang in TVB, Henry Cheng Kar-shun and red capitalists investing to save Cable TV ... these incidents were criticized by Jimmy Lai's media outlets and the HKJA as the death of Freedom of Press.

A few days ago, Jimmy Lai announced that he is selling Next Weekly for $500 million. The deputy publisher and editor-in-chief Wong Lai-tong said that this deal is "selling the workers into brothels." Even Emily Lau and Kwok Ka-ki are worried that Next Magazine would turn 'red' because the buyer Kenny Wee may be backed by 'red' capital.

When any person or organization had anything China connection, Jimmy Lai and his pals would call them prostitutes. Today Boss Lai is selling his own child into a brothel.

The normally belligerent Hong Kong Journalists Association has only a moderate statement about Jimmy Lai selling his son. That statement did not even mention the name "Jimmy Lai."

This is an astonishing display of the highest level of "double standards."

When does a person sell his child? Of course when he is in dire financial straits. At this time, Next Digital is financially troubled, but its boss Jimmy Lai still has investments in other businesses all over the world. So why does he have to sell his child?

Could it be for justice? Since he believes that the enemy is 'red' capital, he should be staying until the very end. If the bridgehead is lost, he should blow up the bridge and die with the enemy. On no account must be hand the fortress over to the enemy for $500 millino and leave his soldiers behind to be raped and killed.

For those who believe that Hong Kong media is being taken over by 'red' capital, why aren't they saying anything about Jimmy Lai handling over a major pro-democracy stronghold over to the 'red' capital. If Ma Yu investing in the South China Morning Post is 'red' infiltration, if Li Ruigang investing in TVB is 'red' infiltration, then Jimmy Lai's sale of Next Weekly to a 'red' capitalist is killing freedom of press. So why is no one condemning Jimmy Lai.

The editor-in-chief's tearful complaint has allowed us to peek at the truth. The money guy has taken the money and sold you out. Will the Yellow Ribbons wake up?

(Bastille Post) July 19, 2017.

People are interested in the financial backing for Kenny Wee, with some speculating that he is backed up by "red" capital. Yesterday I spoke to a mainland tycoon and even he thought that the Central Government was behind Kenny Wee.

But an informed Beijing source said that the Central Government would not be so stupid as to buy Next Weekly. His information is that no only will the Central Government not step in, but they will not encourage anyone else to do so.

The reason is very simple. For the longest time, Jimmy Lai's Next Media Group has been hostile towards Beijing. Now that business is bad, it is clear that Next Weekly will have to fold if no buyer takes over. From Beijing's point of view, it is better to let it die naturally. If a group of Hong Kong/Taiwanese tycoons came up with the money to take over the magazine, it would be giving $320 million to Jimmy Lai to continue his fight with Beijing. Why would the Central Government let this happen?

In 2012, Next Media tried to sell its Taiwan business (including Next Weekly, Apple Daily and Sharp Daily) to a consortium of financial groups for HK$4.64 billion. These Taiwan financial groups sought a reaction from Beijing and got the response "No support." The reason is the same. If Jimmy Lai rakes in several billion dollars from Taiwan, he will have more ammunition to use against the Central Government. Of course, the Central Government did not support such a move. So the Taiwan group backed off, because they didn't want to cause trouble for themselves.

The Beijing source said that there are many uninformed rich people in Hong Kong and Taiwan. They think that there must be a "red" background in this deal. But if they went to ask the Central Government, they would be told solemnly that there is no connection and that they should not get involved.

No matter whether this deal will go through or not, it is for certain that "red" capital is not involved. Furthermore, the Central Government will not regard those investors positively.

(HKG Pao) July 19, 2017.

It was in mid-May that Kenny Wee was negotiating to buy Next Weekly. Many people were anxious at Next Digital. In early June, Jimmy Lai hosted the senior management at dinner and declared: "How can I sell to Kenny Wee!"

As the saying goes, if you believe so much as 10%, you will lose eyesight in both eyes.

One of those present suddenly remember the history of Giordano. In October 1995, Jimmy Lai sold 10% of the Giordano shares and said that he won't be selling out for at least six month. In less than that night, Jimmy Lai played the role of son-of-a-bitch by selling all his shares. Jimmy Lai was a son-of-a-bitch all along.

- (HKG Pao) July 21, 2017.

Is Next Weekly worth $500 million? A prospective buyer must surely evaluate the deal from a business perspective (e.g. is it worth the price?).

But it is also possible to book at it from a non-business perspective. This is interesting because there are actually no completely opposite perspective.

The first perspective is that this deal is done to help China. But does China want your help? The news that Next Weekly is looking for a buyer has been around for a while, and more than one person have asked the Central Government about it. Everybody got a negative response, sometimes adding "Please don't touch this!"

Now that someone is paying $500 million to buy Next Weekly plus the long-defunct Sudden Weekly, this must be very confusing. Since China does feel that buying Next Weekly is helping them, who is this supposed to help?

The opposite perspective is that this is supposed to help. Kenny Wee had just sold Metro Daily for $400 million. He may have to pay off existing debts. Where is he going to find $500 million to complete the deal? He will have to raise more debts. Where is his money coming from? What is more sure is that it is not going to be 'red' capital, irrespective what the concerns of certain people are. We can guess, but we won't know for sure.

Finally, the question is: Is Next Weekly worth $500 million? Business-wise, the magazine is losing more than $100 million a year. If Next Digital keeps it around for a couple more years, it will probably destroy Apple Daily and the online business with it as well. But the appearance of an idiot to take over Next Weekly for $500 million must be a godsend.

Even more ridiculous is that fact that Next Weekly magazine is being bundled at $20 as a combination of Next Weekly and Eat and Travel Weekly. The sale to Kenny Wee includes only the money-losing Next Weekly but not the money-earning Eat and Travel Weekly! Ha ha! How can this be a deal worth $500 million? And pigs will fly too.

And what will happen to a Next Weekly that is not anti-communist? All its loyal readers will run away! Are the advertisements going to rush back in with a huge drop in readership? Ha ha! Can you believe this?

It does not matter whether you believe this or not. It only matters that the buyer believes it. I for one fail to see how Next Weekly can be worth $500 million. But that doesn't mean much, because the person who is putting down $500 million may derive other benefits that are not know to you or me.

- (Oriental Daily) July 22, 2017.

Along comes retired Catholic cardinal Joseph Zen with his grand saying: "It is unthinkably evil to annul the votes of 127,000 voters." Then he asked rhetorically: "Why haven't the citizens come out en masse to make a stronger protest?"

When I read this, I was shocked. Does the retired cardinal want a new round of riots in Hong Kong? On further reading, this was exactly what he wants. He said that this type of evil act "will definite cause another Occupy Movement in any other country." Joseph Zen is blaming the people of Hong Kong for not coming out for another Occupy Movement, and even start among Mong Kok riot. Dear Cardinal Zen, don't you normally preach that God is peace-loving?

Joseph Zen lacks political wisdom. After the court rules on the DQ4 case, he waited patiently day after day for the citizens to come out and make noise. Instead he found Hong Kong to be peace and tranquil. He could not understand why, so he has come out to openly complain. If Joseph Zen has any wisdom, he should know that this case is not going to irk the citizens into rioting.

The antics during the oath ceremonies were both childish and unlawful. No western democratic society will tolerate with it. The Hong Kong government is acting in accordance with the law. What is there for the people to be angry about?

The cases of the DQ2 and DQ4 legislators were judges in the courts, not by the Hong Kong government or the National People's Congress Standing Committee. In the case of the DQ2, the judge stated that it had nothing to do with the National People's Congress Standing Committee interpretation of Basic Law Article 104.

The court is sacrosanct. How can you protest against a court? Are you going to call for the people to rise up and burn the courthouse down? The opposition camp is not able to find an opening, so how can you start a riot?

- (Bastille Post) July 25, 2017.

Secretary Rimsky Yuen said that it was the idea of the Hong Kong government to build the High Speed Rail in Hong Kong, as opposed to an order from the Central Government. The High Speed Rail was not going to pass through Hong Kong to reach some other city, so it does not matter whether the High Speed Rail terminates in Shenzhen or Hong Kong.

At the time of the 1997 handover, Hong Kong as well as China were hit by the Asian financial crisis. According to a Shenzhen deputy mayor, his city was in bad shape and wanted to break out. He came to Hong Kong to observe how the Hong Kong Productivity Council was helping small- and medium-sized technology companies to innovate. He went back to Shenzhen and reproduced the program, but scaled up by a lot more. More than a decade later, Shenzhen is hugely successful. It goes to show that at the time of the handover, Hong Kong was actually more advanced than Guangdong province.

When Tung Chee-hwa became Hong Kong Chief Executive, he proposed to Guangdong to issue multi-trip individual visas for their citizens to visit Hong Kong in order to stimulate tourism and spending. The Guangdong government counter-proposed a Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge to improve logistics into mainland China. This showed that Guangdong province was still largely dependent upon Hong Kong logistics.

The discussions went on for several years. In the end, Guangdong province had a 180 degree change in attitude. They were now no longer interested in a Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge. In 2001, China joined the World Trade Organisation, and imports/exports soared. Guangdong province was more interested in developing its own airports and logistics industry. They did not want to hand the business over to Hong Kong by building the bridge.

It was the Central Government which stepped in. In 2003, the Hong Kong economy was devastated by SARS. So the Central Government ordered Guangdong province to issue individual visit permits. In 2007, the agreement was reached to build the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge.

At the time of the handover, mainland China wanted to copy Hong Kong or cooperate with it. Ten years later, they want to do it themselves and have nothing to do with Hong Kong. Cooperating with Hong Kong means that people, materials and capital will flow there. The world has changed by then.

In 2015, Ma Xingrui became Shenzhen city Communist Party secretary. In 2016, the Shenzhen MTR asked for bids, and the Hong Kong MTR was one of the bidders. Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung went to see Ma Xingrui to lobby for the Hong Kong MTR. In the end, the Hong Kong MTR did not get the bid.

If I were Ma Xingrui, I would not award the contract to the Hong Kong MTR. Hong Kong is Shenzhen's competitor. Unless the Central Government favors Hong Kong, it would be best to maintain a distance. Today Ma Xingrui is the governor of Guangdong province.

So from the viewpoint of Shenzhen, it is a good thing if the High Speed Rail service stops in Shenzhen for immigration/customs control. Less business for Hong Kong means more business for Shenzhen.

The world has changed. Hong Kong cannot afford to sit around and wait for business to come. It will have to go to get business. We cannot sit around and debate the co-location of immigration checkpoints. We should be thinking about how to use Hong Kong's High Speed Rail to get more business. That would be much more constructive.

- Oh my God! We are going to have gun-toting outside military/para-military forces in Hong Kong! We're all going to die! Or something ...

- Oh, wait, are you talking about the marines stationed inside the US Consulate on Garden Road? Or are you talking about the People's Liberation Army soldiers in Tamar?

- (SCMP) Fuss over joint checkpoint is much ado about nothing. By Alex Lo. July 26, 2017.

Call me naive, but I dont understand why there is all this fuss over a joint checkpoint at the West Kowloon terminus of the high-speed rail link to Guangzhou. Hong Kong has done something similar before, and so has Macau. This is not to mention many other comparable arrangements exist between countries around the world.

There are three main issues: trust, legality and common sense.

I get it. Many Hong Kong people dont trust mainland authorities, especially when they are given powers to enforce mainland laws on Hong Kong soil. But, this is what I dont get. You are boarding an express train to the mainland anyway. If you are afraid of being caught by mainland agents, for whatever reason, maybe you shouldnt get on the train in the first place.

Secondly, is this so-called co-location legal or constitutional? Well, I am no expert on the Basic Law. But I am glad that Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, the Civic Party legislator, wrote that the core legal concepts involved in the so-called co-location arrangement just cant be simpler and ... even a layman who hasnt gone through any legal training can instantly understand.

Kwok and his party colleagues, many of them barristers, think co-location breaches the Basic Law. Well, maybe, who knows? But then, Albert Chen Hung-yee, a member of the Basic Law Committee and a law professor at the University of Hong Kong, thinks its perfectly workable and legal. Senior counsel Alan Hoo, chairman of the Basic Law Institute, thinks likewise.

Suffice it to say that our legal experts dont agree among themselves and that their positions depend more on their political backgrounds. Therefore, the constitutionality of co-location is by no means obvious one way or another.

Lastly, common sense. Hong Kong immigration and customs officers have been operating at the Shenzhen Bay Control Point for more than a decade, and no one makes a big deal of it. Why? Because its convenient and saves time. If we can do it in Shenzhen, why cant they do it in Hong Kong?

Since 2013, Macau has effectively expanded its jurisdiction into the mainland when University of Macau students were allowed to attend classes, access uncensored internet, use patacas and be liable to Macau law on its campus on Zhuhais Hengqin island.

If two jurisdictions mutually agree on such extraterritorial arrangements to make life easier for their people, I dont see a reasonable objection.

- (HKG Pao) At 8:00pm on July 24 2017, Apple Daily published an article about mainland security being allowed to carry guns in the High Speed Rail station for security purposes. At 11:30pm, HKG Pao published an article to call for people to vote on co-location of immigration checkpoints. After 12 hours, Apple Daily has 1,845 votes with 1,394 being ANGRY. After 12 hours, HKG Pao has 3,512 votes with 3,466 LIKE's.

(SCMP) July 15, 2017.

An intense political drama gripped Hong Kong on Friday as the High Court stripped four opposition lawmakers of their seats in the legislature for improper oath-taking, in a tough ruling that further alienates the pan-democratic camp and sets the stage for months of legal appeals, protests and acrimony ahead.

Long Hair Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu Chung-yim were disqualified by the Court of First Instance while in the middle of a Legislative Council meeting which was postponed for a day as they refused to leave the chamber immediately.

The court, ruling on legal action initiated by former chief executive Leung Chun-ying, was unambiguous in clarifying that oath-taking must be done strictly by the book with no additions or deviations before, during or after an oath no matter how well intended.

Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung based his ruling on both common law principles and a controversial interpretation of the citys mini-constitution by Chinas top legislature that earlier saw two newly elected pro-independence lawmakers kicked out of Legco for insulting the nation during their swearing-in.

It is also not only to provide a legal basis to check and punish future breaches by the oath taker It is also a constitutional legal requirement that the oath taker, in taking the oath, must also sincerely and truly believe in the pledges under the oath that he or she is taking, he said.

All four vowed to appeal, presenting a picture of defiance at a press conference first and a protest at night joined by hundreds of supporters outside government headquarters.

Related Links:

Court of First Instance Document HCAL 223/2016.

[#687] The $5,000,000 Lawyers (2017/03/01)

[#621] Two Down (DQ2), Four More Next Up (DQ4) (2016/12/06)

Internet Comments:

- (SCMP) July 15, 2017. The judgment dashed any hope of reconciliation between opposition lawmakers who called it a declaration of war and the new administration of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. Responding to the ruling, she made it clear she would not intervene for the sake of better relations. Building bridges still has to be done in a lawful way, she said. I dont think a chief executive or any government official should sort of compromise on the rule of law just because we want to be friendly.

- Would you like Carrie Lam to intercede and order the Department of Justice to withdraw the judicial review after the ruling has been made? What justification can she offer? This can only be political horse trade over the dead body of the rule of law.

- The opposition asserts that the executive branch is attacking the legislative branch. In their view, Nathan Law was elected by 50,818 voters; Lau Siu-lai by 38,183 voters; Leung Kwok-hung by 35,595 voters; Yiu Chung-yim by 2,491 voters in the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape constituency. The disqualification of these four legislators meant that the wishes of 127,087 voters have been subverted.

- (Oriental Daily) July 19, 2017.

The DQ4 said that when the government went through the court to disqualify them, the wises of the voters have been violated. They said that their seats were given to them by the voters, and therefore only the voters can take the seats back. When the DQ4 and their supporters articulate this view, they actually look as if they genuine believe this.

Dear friends, have you ever heard a death row inmate tell the executioner: "You have no right to take my life. My life came from the parents, and only they can take it away"? Death inmates may be desperate to cling to their lives, but even they can't spout this kind of nonsense.

I don't understand how the DQ4 and their supporters could say this? Are they even worse than death row inmates? They say that everything and anything goes during the oath, and the voters can decide four years later whether to re-elect that person or not. Well, does that apply to the legislator who takes off all his clothes during the oath? Or the legislator who punches another legislator in the course of a Legco meeting? Do all these transgressions have to wait four years for the voters to decide in the next election? And if I don't want to run for office again, I will have the license to do anything I want (murder, robbery, rape, etc) because nobody (not the government, not the police and not the court) can touch me!? How can anyone say such nonsense?

- Here is Eddie Chu Hoi Dick response at the RTHK City Forum when asked whether they had reflected on what they did during their oaths: "What should I reflect about? What should I reflect about, sir? I was elected by 80,000 people! What should I reflect about?"

So Eddie Chu Hoi Dick assumes that anyone elected by the people can never do wrong because everything that they do is in accordance with the wishes of those voters.

- (HKG Pao) By Chris Wat Wing-yin. July 16, 2017.

... Even an idiot can see that this has nothing to do with justice, democracy or whatever. This was a perfect demonstration of banging heads against a solid wall. More than one hundred thousand voters cast their votes to send you to the Legislative Council. You were going to get a big salary plus special privileges and benefits. Instead, you engage in child's play. It is as if you defaced your admission ticket for fun, which caused it to become invalid. As a result, you are kept outside the gate. And now you have the nerve to come out and tell the people to pay for your legal bills? You should count yourself luck if those voters did not come at you.

... I am increasingly sympathetic with the supporters of the opposition. Do they have word "Sucker" etched on their faces?
New Year's Day? Donations please.
June 4th? Donations please.
July 1st? Donations please.
Pre-election time? Donations please.
Post-election time? Donations please.
Legal troubles? Donations please.
DQ'd? Donations please.
You are asked to open your wallet for them all the time, as if you owe them. No wonder participation and donations have tumbled recently.

Joshua Wong is now saying that Nathan Law's office was paying more than 10 aides whose full-time jobs are to oppose the government. Are you still naive enough to drop $100 into their donation box? Compared to their $200,000 monthly budget or Jimmy Lai's multi-million "black gold", your donation is trifling.

You voted them in. But they chose to bang their heads against the wall. Now they want you to pick up their medical bills. Is this reasonable? Nobody pointed a gun at Lau Siu-lai and forced her to read the oath ever so slowly. Nobody waved a knife to force Nathan Law to alter his intonation. They brought it upon themselves. Why should the voters foot the bill for them?

"Political suppression" is the slogan for confidence men to make money. The true purpose is this: "Please donate money."

- (SCMP) July 15, 2017. The ruling has effectively curtailed the bargaining power of the pro-democracy bloc. With Leung, Law and Lau all directly elected lawmakers out of the picture, the pan-democrats, already a minority in the legislature, have lost their limited veto power to block motions and amendments to bills tabled by their pro-establishment rivals. They will also be unable to stop Beijing loyalists and government allies from changing Legco rules to prevent the pan-democrats from filibustering contentious bills.

- Here is a 2011 article on the Indian parliament: How to restore decorum & gravitas in our parliament?

The erosion of decorum and gravitas in parliamentary proceedings is a phenomenon often seen in Parliaments of democracies with a multi-party parliamentary system, with no party strong enough to enforce its political will on the conduct of the parliamentary proceedings.

One saw it in the pre-de Gaulle French Parliament and one continues to see it often in the parliaments of democracies such as Italy, Japan, South Korea and some South American countries.

de Gaulle did manage to improve the functioning of the French Parliament by having a new Constitution introduced. Despite this, the experience on the whole has been that the erosion cannot be prevented or reversed through rules and regulations alone or through flippant measures such as denying salary to Members of Parliament disrupting parliamentary proceedings. The only way of dealing with this erosion is through the practice of a robust system of parliamentary ethics, the initiative for which has to come from the ruling party.

This phenomenon is generally not seen in democracies with a two-party system or with a restricted number of political parties where parliamentary strengths are evenly matched. Two examples are the UK and India before 1970. The predominant presence of the Congress in the Indian Parliament and the parliamentary etiquette of the post-Independence leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru ensured the prevalence of decorum and gravitas even in the most contentious of situations. The self-confidence arising from predominance in numbers ensured a certain dignity and self-restraint in the conduct of the MPs of the ruling party, which was reciprocated by the members of the opposition.

The erosion in the decorum and gravitas consequent on the emergence of a multiplicity of political parties initially started in the State legislatures in the 1960s and has subsequently spread to the Parliament, causing frequent spells of paralysis in the functioning of the Parliament, to which the ruling and opposition parties have contributed in varying measures.

The initiative for reversing the erosion through better parliamentary etiquette and conduct has to come from the ruling party ...

- (SCMP) July 15, 2017. The Department of Justice said it had no plan to go after any other lawmaker.

- (CAP 542 Legislative Council Ordinance) Section 73 Proceedings against persons on grounds of disqualification.

73(2) Proceedings under this section may not be brought after 6 months from the date on which the person concerned acted, or claimed to be entitled to act, as a Member.

So the fact is that the Department of Justice actually cannot go after any other lawmaker.

- Actually, there are a number of judicial reviews filed by citizens against these and other legislators. Four more "pro-democracy" legislators made obvious changes to their oaths: Chan Chi-chuen (People Power), Cheng Chung-tai (Civic Passion), Shiu Ka-chun and Eddie Chu Hoi-dick. Those cases are moving inexorably ahead, albeit slower. But the government has set the precedents, and prior cases count for everything under Common Law. Those judicial reviews were filed around November 2016, which are within the 6-month window of opportunity.

- CAP 542 Legislative Council Ordinance Section 73.

(1) An elector, or the Secretary for Justice, may bring proceedings in the Court against any person who is acting, claims to be entitled to act, as a Member on the ground that the person is disqualified from acting as such.

Tsuen Wan resident Law King-yeung applied for a judicial review of the status of Eddie Chu Hoi Dick and Cheng Chung-tai. The case will be heard on July 26, 2017. There isn't anything that Carrie Lam or anyone else can do to stop this case from moving forward.

- Here is full list:


Lam Cheuk-ting (Democratic Party): Addition after the oath: "Down with corruption! Down with Wolf Ying"
Roy Kwong Chun-yu (Democratic Party): Addition after the oath: "Hong Kong is the homefield for the people of Hong Kong. Do not forget our initial goals. Go, Hongkongers!"
Helena Wong (Democratic Party): After the oath: "Restart constitution reform! Down with CY Leung! The Water Works Department must test the water immediately."
Wan Siu-kin (Democratic Party): During the oath: Pause between "Republic" and "Chinese People".
Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung (Labour Party): After the oath, he ripped up a prop copy of the August 31st resolution
Chan Chi-chuen (People Power): During the oath, he split pause between "Republic" and "Chinese People." After he oath, he said: "I am a Hongkonger. I want to have universal suffrage. I will filibuster to stop evil laws."
Siu Ka-chun (Professional Alliance): After the oath, he banged a drum and yelled: "Umbrella Revolution may have been defeated but it has not vanished. We will resist the authoritarian regime. We are back."
Cheung Chung-tai (Civic Passion): After the oath: "Constitution by the people to re-establish a new charter. Hongkongers for themselves. Long live Hong Kong!"
Eddie Chu Hoi Dick: After the oath: "Democratic self-determination. Tyranny will be defeated. Oppose Andrew Leung for chairman."\

- (Oriental Daily) November 14, 2016.

27-year-old waiter Ricky Chan Ka-wai filed a judicial review at the High Court against legislators Nathan Law, Leung Kwok-hung, Cheung Chiu-hung, Siu Ka-chun, Wan Siu-kin, Lam Cheuk-ting, Helena Wong Pik-wan, Roy Kwong Chun-yu, Eddie Chu Hoi Dick, Chan Chi-chuen and Cheng Chung-tai over their oaths of office. The applicant said that the oaths are invalid under the National People's Congress Standing Committee's interpretation of Basic Law Article 104. Chan emphasized that he filed the application as an individual citizen.

Previously a taxi driver had already filed a judicial review against legislators Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law, Cheng Chung-tai, Siu Ka-chun, Chan Chi-chuen and Eddie Chu Hoi Dick over their oaths of office.  The applicant contends that the oaths were invalid according to the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance and the National People's Congress Standing Committee's interpretation of Basic Law Article 104.

- (SCMP) July 15, 2017. The disqualification is retroactive to October 12, 2016 the date the four were sworn in, raising the prospect of further clashes with the government over the salaries and allowances they will be asked to return. All four will have to pay legal costs as well a total of HK$3 million to the government and HK$1 million each to their own lawyers. The court ruling includes an injunction barring them from acting as or claiming to be lawmakers.

- (Wen Wei Po) July 17, 2017. According to the published Legco data, Nathan Law claimed $2.25 million, Lau Siu-lai $2.18 million, Yiu Chung-yim $2.05 million and Leung Kwok-hung $1.7 million in operating expenses over the past 9 months. Their salaries were about $850,000 each over the past 9 months. Leung Kwok-hung admitted that he may have to file for bankruptcy if he loses the appeal.

Under Cap 542 Legislative Council Ordinance Section 39,

39. When a person is disqualified from being nominated as a candidate or from being elected as a Member

(1) A person is disqualified from being nominated as a candidate at an election, and from being elected as a Member, if the person --

(i) is an undischarged bankrupt or, within the previous 5 years, has either obtained a discharge in bankruptcy or has entered into a voluntary arrangement within the meaning of the Bankruptcy Ordinance (Cap. 6) with the persons creditors, in either case without paying the creditors in full. (Amended 25 of 2003 s. 22)

Leung Kwok-hung was asked a hypothetical question: "If you can taken the oath again, would you have done something like what you did?" He said that if he knew that the HKSAR government would be taking such "unreasonable" measures, he would not have given the authorities the chance to "abuse the judicial process."

- (SCMP) July 15, 2017. Rights group Amnesty International Hong Kong was fiercely critical: Todays decision confirms the Hong Kong governments agenda to silence and effectively punish any speech critical of the present political system, wherever it may occur, even within the legislature.

- Amnesty International Hong Kong is making a completely one-sided statement. The 'pro-democracy' side will talk only about ideas such as freedom of speech. Abstractly, that sounds good. They will never broach the subject of what the DQ4 actually did ...

(Wen Wei Po) December 2, 2016.

Lau Siu-lai https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4peDyPJixk

On October 12, 2016, Lau Siu-lai preceded her oath with these words: "I, Lau Siu-lai, promise that when I go from the streets into the Legislative Council, I will continue with the spirit of self-determination in the Umbrella Movement to walk with the people of Hong Kong. I will unite with those inside and outside the Legislative Council to oppose the authoritarian regime. We will live in honesty and openness; we will break through coldness and indifference and create the road to democratic self-determination. We will topple the tall wall, determine our own fates and make ourselves strong."

Then she proceeded to read out the oath of office at the slow speed of six seconds per word. Her oath lasted 10 minutes. Afterwards, she said: "Fight for universal pension; implement the policies for marketplaces; defend the dignity in the lives of the people of Hong Kong." She took up a total of 13 minutes for the entire process. At the time, the Legislative Council secretary-general Chan Wai-On who administered the oath did not react.

Afterwards, Lau Siu-lai posted on Facebook under the title: <Slow reading was used to show the absurdity of the oath>: "I read the official oath word by word. The oath became more than 90 unconnected words without any coherence, relationship or meaning. The audience cannot grasp any sentence or tone. In this way, the audience can determine their own meaning based upon their subjective speculations. This is done in order to show the hypocrisy of business-as-usual ... the fluent articulated oath is hypocritical, the harmonious legislature is also hypocritical." She added: ""What I said before the oath is the more honest version."

After receiving complaints and reviewing the video recording, Legco president Andrew Leung declared the oath to be invalid and administered the oath again on November 2. On that occasion, Lau Siu-lai read the oath at a normal pace.

Yiu Chung-yim https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea8UsHmnVho

On October 12, Yiu Chung-yim read the oath until he completed the part of pledging allegiance to the People's Republic of China. At that point, he inserted "I will supoport the Hong Kong system, fight for genuine universal suffrage and serve towards sustainable development in Hong Kong." Afterwards the Legco secretary-general Chan Wai-on said that Yiu had altered the oath and demanded Yiu to retake his oath.

Yiu then proceeded to read the oath. Upon completing the oath, he added: "I will supoport the Hong Kong system, fight for genuine universal suffrage and serve towards sustainable development in Hong Kong." At the time, Legco secretary-general Chan Wai-on said that Yiu had altered the oath and told him to return to his seat. Later Legco president Andrew Leung rules that Yiu's oath was invalid. At Yiu's request, the oath was administered again on October 19.

Leung Kwok-hung https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLn6JIUEfbs

At the oath ceremony, Leung Kwok-hung wore a shirt for "civil disobedience." He held an umbrella with slogans such as "End one-party tyranny" and a prop that represents the August 31st decision of the National People's Congress. As he proceeded, he shouted slogans such as "Umbrella Movement, no yielding, no concessions," "I want double universal suffrage" and "Down with CY Leung" etc.

His oath was broken up with 29 pauses that averaged 2 seconds each, including a pause between "the Chinese People's" and "Republic" as well as racing through another "People's Republic of China." After the oath, he shouted: "Rescind the National People's Congress August 31st resolution, I want double universal suffrage, the people will determine their own futures without needing the permission of the Chinese Communists." He tore up his paper prop that represents the August 31st decision of the National People's Congress and littered the pieces onto the ground.

At the time, the Legco secretary-general Chan Wai-on did not react. Later Legco president Andrew Leung did not address the matter.

Nathan Law Kwun-chung https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q4OnNgspWjs

Before reading out the oath on October 12, Nathan Law aid that the English term for the oath was "affirmation" whose Latin meaning was being more firm and resolute. He said that the oath is a solemn rite, but the rite has "degenerated into a tool for the authorities" "that compels the popularly elected representatives to bend under the system and its authoritarianism." He said that he had to complete this required procedure, "but it does not mean that I submit myself to authoritarianism." He said that he "will not pledge allegiance to a regime that murders its own people" and that "change begins with resistance."

During his reading of the oath, he read "pledge allegiance to the People's Republic of China(?)" in the tone of a question as opposed to a statement. After reading the oath, he shouted: "Power to the people, tyranny will persih!" At the time, the Legislative Council Chan Wai-On did not react. Afterwards, Legco president Andrew Leung ruled that Nathan Law's oath was valid.

The case is an open-and-shut no-brainer. Once this is brought to court, any judge is going to disallow the oaths. The evidence consists of video recordings of the oaths. Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung does not intend to go down in history as the judge who found that Lau Siu-lai's one-word-every-six-second oath to be solemn, sincere and proper. He will be a laughing stock all over the world. It will also open the floodgates for copycat behavior in all walks of life.

- If a witness takes the oath in Lau Siu-lai's manner, Mr Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung would throw him into jail for contempt of court.

- Leung Kwok-hung said: "This can't happen in any place with true democracy." I loved to see a list of "places with true democracy" that will accept Lau Siu-lai's oath of office.

- Actually, the only places that will accept these oaths are authoritarian countries. If Kim Jong-un wants to take his oath in that manner, who is going to object?

- Here is a trip down memory lane with US State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau. So is there going to be a more coherent response with the DQ4 now?

(US State Department Press Briefing, November 15, 2016)

MS TRUDEAU: Thank you. Legislators-elect who altered the wording of their oaths of office. The United States strongly supports and values Hong Kongs legislative council and independent judiciary, two institutions that play a critically important role in promoting and protecting the special administrative regions high degree of autonomy under Basic Law and the one country, two systems framework that has been in place since 1997. We believe that an open society with the highest possible degree of autonomy and governed by the rule of law is essential for Hong Kongs continued stability and prosperity as a special administrative region of the Peoples Republic of China.

QUESTION: Okay, maybe I missed it. So you think that you dont like this action by the court?

MS TRUDEAU: We believe that the Chinese and the Hong Kong SAR government and all elected politicians in Hong Kong should refrain from any actions that fuel concern or undermine confidence in the one country, two systems principle.

QUESTION: So does that mean that you that altering the oath, youre opposed to, or that the court stripping them of their office is of concern? Which or both?

MS TRUDEAU: Both. We --

QUESTION: So you dont like the fact that they changed the oath and you dont like the fact that the court ruled the way it did.

MS TRUDEAU: We believed that actually, both. So one, it was an independent the independent legislative council, the independent judiciary, we believe played that important role. But we also call on both the Hong Kong politicians as well as the Chinese Government.

- (SCMP) July 15, 2017. The four lawmakers disqualified on Friday over their oath antics could face claims by the Legislative Council for the return of up to HK$11 million in salary and allowances, plus up to HK$7 million in legal fees.

- Time to open your wallets and hand over your money for the DQ4 to give to the lawyers.

- (HKG Pao) July 15, 2017. After failing to get a huge turnout that evening, Joshua Wong went on with the more important business of soliciting donations. He wrote: "We are very tired of thinking about the legislators dealing with the very complex appeal process. We are also very concerned about the huge legal fees, the more than one dozen aides who will become unemployed and the party losing the financial support from the Legislative Council.

After losing the monthly $200,000 office budget, Demosisto may not be able to sustain basic operations after August. So Joshua Wong is asking the young people who support them to make monthly donations through this cold winter.

Wan Chin jumped in to point out that Demosisto had no concrete plans after the demonstration that evening beyond asking for money. He told Joshua Wong not to worry, because "there are enough middle-class hypocrites who would vote for you in a by-election."

- (HKG Pao) Here are the number of LIKE's for the various posts at the four major pro-establishment websites (SilentMajorityHK, SpeakoutHK, Good News HK and HKG Pao) by 530pm:

- (HKG Pao) After the court ruling was published, the DQ4 immediately called for a general rally outside Government Headquarters at 8pm. How many hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy citizens came out to show their support? Even Apple Daily said that there were 300 people, including reporters and the aides of the DQ4.

- Where do Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching fit into all of this?

When Leung and Yau vacated their Legco offices, they left behind a note: "If you keep the mountain green, you will have be able to collect firewood some day. War is tricky. You must never let people anticipate what you will be doing. Save yourself to fight with the 'old guys' in the future."

Who are the 'old guys'? Are these the 'traditional pan-democrats' who egged the young radicals to dig graves to bury themselves?

On Sunday at the RTHK City Forum, legislator James To (Democratic Party) said that if the National People's Congress Standing Committee had not issued its interpretation of Basic Law Article 104, then the legislators could follow the local ordinances as well as the High Court's previous ruling to alter their oaths. The legislators can seek legal advice beforehand to make sure that they don't step over the line.

However, the equilibrium was upset when Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching went way over the line to insult all Chinese people. Several tens of thousands of protestors gathered around the Legislative Council to express the global outrage. The National People's Congress Standing Committee issued an interpretation to clarify what the requirements for an oath was. So Leung and Yau were disqualified, and then the DQ4 followed because they also stepped over the line.

When Leung and Yau lost their case, they were facing legal fees as much as $6 million. At the time, the pan-democrats called the two "Communist moles" who "deceived stupid voters into voting for them," "brought infamy to the Legislative Council" and "gave the weapons to CY Leung to use suppress democracy." On that night, Yau went to Mong Kok to rally support but everybody ignored her. Given what happened to the DQ4, Leung and Yau must be feeling some satisfaction.

- (Hong Kong Free Press) July 19, 2017.

Disqualified localist lawmaker Yau Wai-ching has invited the other disqualified lawmakers to come together and discuss legal arguments for their potential appeals.

The six were all disqualified after Beijing issued a rare interpretation of the Basic Law, Hong Kongs de facto constitution, which said that lawmakers must take their oaths sincerely and accurately.

The press conference on Tuesday was the first time they have appeared together after four lawmakers were ousted last week. They entered the Legislative Council as private citizens.

The nature of the cases against the six of us are the same they should not be handled separately. Thus after we speak to our lawyers, we will try to talk to [the others] to come up with legal arguments, Yau said.

Baggio Leung said the public should not let themselves be deceived and divided anymore. This incident clearly showed it does not matter to the Chinese Communist Party whether you think you are a democrat, someone supporting the rule of law, someone fighting for freedom, or someone fighting for independence or self-determination you all want to take power away from the authoritarian regime, he said.

Leung said if the Court of Final Appeal does not accept their application, it means they have lost the case and will likely have to pay the governments legal fees, which the lawyers estimate to be between HK$8 and 10 million. We are quite certain we dont have the ability to pay declaring bankruptcy would seem to be the only way out, he said.

Yau said it was too early to talk about by-elections. Anyone who has not obtained a bankruptcy discharge or paid creditors in full in the past five years cannot run for office.

- (Citizen News) July 18, 2017. At the press conference, Leung Chung-hang said: "Whether you think that you are a democrat, or someone who supports rule-of-law, or someone who is fighting for freedom, or someone who is fighting for independence/self-determination, the Chinese Communists would not think that you people are different from each other" because "everybody basically wants to take away some power from the authoritarian regime." He asked citizens not to divided.

- Wan Chin: "Oh, so Hong Kong independence/determination is the same as Democratic China. Now you tell us?"

- Internet derivative art:


Left to right: "Promiscuous," "Inferior," "Stupid," "Trash," "Garbage," "Useless"


"Collective resignation by all pan-democrats"

- You want to ask Leung-Yau for legal advice? Bwaaahhh! #626 They've Got New Legal Theories (2016/12/15). More recently, the Legal Aid Department rejected Leung-Yau's application for legal aid on the grounds that the likelihood of them winning is close to nil.

- What Leung-Yau can tell is the list of legal arguments that have failed so far. If something works, wouldn't they have used it already?

- The court ruling included injunctions against the DQ4 from acting as members of the Legislative Council and claiming to act as members of the Legislative Council. When the court ruling was published, the DQ4 were attending a Finance Committee meeting at the Legislative Council. They refused to leave, and the meeting was terminated as a result. The next morning, the DQ4 attempted to barge into a Legislative Council meeting. As you might expect, none of the Rule-of-Law pan-democrats are talking about contempt of court.

- When the law is on your side, you uphold the rule of law. When the law is not on your side, you uphold the rule of might.

- When the court rules for you, you say that we must respect the independence of the judiciary. When the court rules against you, you say that the judiciary must be subservient to politics.

- (SCMP) Disqualification of lawmakers shows up the hypocrisy of the pan-dems. By Alex Lo. July 17, 2017.

The need to protect the rule of law and an independent judiciary has been a major pan-democratic cause. But now that a High Court case has turned against four pan-democratic legislators, its odd that they and their allies feel not the slightest shame in denouncing and disobeying the judgment.

Do they only respect court rulings that turn their way?

Long Hair Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu Chung-yim have been disqualified as lawmakers for breaching oath-taking laws during their swearing-in ceremony at the Legislative Council last October. The Court of First Instance ruling also bars them from identifying themselves as lawmakers and from attending Legco meetings. They and their allies have denounced the court case launched by the previous administration of Leung Chun-ying as a declaration of war. They have also warned the ruling will set a precedent on how public oaths need to be taken.

I dont get it. If people dont want to swear by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, by China and/or by the Basic Law, they shouldnt run for public office.

Aided and abetted by their colleagues from People Power, the Civic Party, the Democratic Party, the Labour Party and other localists, the four tried to force their way into a Legco finance committee meeting at the weekend. Their colleagues then crashed the meeting, which would have approved HK$3.6 billion in new annual funding for education, covering kindergarten to university. This kind of mindless temper tantrum has become routine among pan-dems in Legco. Perhaps they should play by the rules which they claim to uphold.

The four are set to appeal the court decision; they may get lucky. More importantly, they should look on the by-elections for their vacated seats as a de facto referendum.

Long Hair knows all about this. In 2010, he was among five pan-democrats who resigned from Legco and then won back their seats in by-elections. While he wont be able to run again, pan-democrats will try to win back six seats four from the latest court case and those of two others, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, who were disqualified in an earlier judgment.

If they win most or all the seats back, the pan-dems can legitimately claim an unassailable mandate. But if they lose, well, no doubt they will cause more chaos, in Legco and out.

- What is to be done? According to an armchair social activists:


On September 28, there will be a collective resignation.
The people will surround the Legislative Council and occupy Central district
To demand the dissolution of the entire Legislative Council for brand new elections.
The people (and not Chinese Communists) should decide who shall be legislators!


collective resignation!
The time has come for a revolution in the streets!

- (HKG Pao) July 15, 2017. On Facebook, legislator Cheng Chung-tai (Civic Passion) wrote:
"The court has disqualified all four legislators. Let us have a collective resignation. This legislature has no reason to continue." He gave three reasons: (1) to defend the residual honor of the people of Hong Kong; (2) to return the power of monitoring the government to the people; (3) to avoid Hong Kong becoming an authoritarian society.

Immediately, netizens asked: "Why don't you lead the way and resign?" and "Why don't you tell us what is your value in the legislature?"

- Wan Chin's Facebook

I cannot blame the pan-democrats for not willing to participate in a collective resignation. If you were disqualified, you can still run in the by-election. But if you resign on your own, you are not eligible to run in the by-election.

- Democratic Party legislator Andrew Wan's Facebook (now deleted)

Han Lin-shan, Raymond Wong,  you bastards are calling for a collective resignation. You are moles.
What is biggest impact of the disqualification of those legislators? Veto power by Legco constituency groups? Or 1/3 veto power? Right now, the loss of six legislators is such a big problem already. If we resign collectively, the pro-establishment camp will be able to do anything that want. Article 23, Legco procedural rules, mainland border control in Hong Kong ... they will pass everything. What kind of logic is this? Collective resignation is a form of political naivete, or sabotage. Han and Wong are moles.

- What else is to be done? This comes from armchair revolutionary Benny Tai Yiu Ting:


If the current administration hopes to salvage some minimal trust after the disqualification of the four legislators, then they must break with the previous administration. If they can do the following, they will get a little bit of trust back from everybody:
1. They must promise not to initiate legal proceeding to disqualify more legislators.
2. They must promise not to seek legal fees from the four disqualified legislators.
3. They must promise to hold by-elections not later than four months when all appeals have been exhausted, including the cases of Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching; they will not delay the by-elections in order to hold all of them at the same time.
4. They must state that they will not support any revision to Legco procedures before the by-elections have been completed.
5. They must promise that they will not submit any controversial bills (such as Article 23 legislation or constitutional reform) before the by-elections have been completed.
It is not too difficult for the Carrie Lam administration to make these promises. Everything is within the powers of the government, and it will bring desirable political effects. The important thing is whether she is genuinely sincere about mending relationships.

- What the fuck is he thinking? For example, look at #2 about not seeking legal fees from the four disqualified legislators. Look, the lawyers are going to be paid one way or the other. If the government excuses the DQ4, then the government picks up the tab. In other words, the taxpayers will be paying the lawyers. Why the fuck should I pay for Lau Siu-lai's legal bills over her silly oath. She is a teacher with a PhD degree, and a responsible adult. Why should I pay for her stupidity?

The court ruling stipulates that the DQ4 must pay for the legal fees. Citizens can open their wallets and pay for them. But if the government does so, I will be the first one to file a judicial review. I am indigent and my likelihood of winning is 100%, so I will appeal with legal aid all the way to the Court of Final Appeal.

- And look at #1 about not disqualifying other legislators. As a professor in law, Benny Tai is apparently not aware that other judicial reviews are being filed by private citizens against other legislators. The government's work is already done by setting the Common Law precedents. On July 26, a courting hearing is scheduled for the cases of Cheng Chung-tai and Eddie Chu Hoi Dick. If Carrie Lam and/or the courts combine quash these judicial reviews, it would  be a breach of Hong Kong Basic Law Article 35:

Hong Kong residents shall have the right to confidential legal advice, access to the courts, choice of lawyers for timely protection of their lawful rights and interests or for representation in the courts, and to judicial remedies.

In fact, Benny Tai recently said that without the judicial review, the  people will have no choice but to go to fight in the streets.

- And look at #4 on revisions to Legco procedural rules. Such proposals come from legislators themselves, not from the government. To ask Carrie Lam (and/or the China Liaison Office) to force the pro-establishment legislators not to make such proposals is a clear violation of the separation of powers that is supposed to be a core value of the pan-democrats.

- Strategically, the pro-establishment camp should do on nothing about revisions to the procedural rules. They should let the pan-democrats continue to filibuster until majority opinion is on their side. And then they can pounce. Everybody knows that we can count on the pan-democrats to over-reach.

- (Headline Daily) July 18, 2017. By Chris Wat Wing-yin.

... Simply put, Benny Tai wants Rule-of-man, with Chief Executive Carrie Lam using her authority to release convicted criminals.

I recalled that Luggage Gate (#505), during which Chief Executive CY Leung's lost her laptop computer and asked airline employees to bring it to her. At the time, CY Leung made a call on behalf of her daughter. More than a thousand people showed up at the airport later to protest CY Leung's abuse of power for personal purposes.

If asking someone to bring a laptop computer is such a serious misdeed, then leniency on the DQ4 must surely be an earth-shattering political deal!?

It is normal to have divergent opinions in society. But it is not a good thing when double standards are used for everything. If the DQ4 were from the pro-establishment camp, then Benny Tai's conditions will obviously be a case of government officials shielding their friends, swapping power for support, a devil's bargain ... all of which lead inevitably to "Carrie Lam must resign!"

... In a rule-of-law society, the standard response from Carrie Lam or anyone else should be: "Don't talk to me! Go talk to the judge!" Getting Carrie Lam to overturn a judge's ruling is giving up on rule-of-law.

- What is to be done? Part 3 of many parts.

Emergency appeal!
All non-establishment legislators will donate all their salaries and subsidies beginning August 2017 to pay for the legal fees for the DQ4 legislators all the way through the Court of Appeal of the High Court, the Court of Final Appeal and the National People's Congress Standing Committee interpretation.

- Fat fucking chance!

- (Oriental Daily with video) July 14, 2017.


More than 20 citizens showed up at 930pm outside League of Social Democrats headquarters in Cheung Sha Wan district in order to celebrate the disqualification of Leung Kwok-hung. They held up photos of Leung and chanted: "Long Hair deserves to be disqualified!" They scattered ghost money around and drank beer to celebrate. They even performed a Taoist rite for the dead. Although the lights were still on inside, nobody came out.

- Leung Kwok-hung said that he can only continue to appeal, even though it will cost a lot of money. Including the initial case, the legal bill will be at least $3 million per person. If he can't afford to pay, he will have to file for bankruptcy and thus barred from running in the Legislative Council election again. Leung said that the best solution would be for the government not to contest their appeal and let them resume their posts.

Bwaaahhhh!

- (Wen Wei Po) July 17, 2017.

The DQ4 must appeal the ruling of the Court of First Instance. Right? If they don't, they will sink into oblivion. Filing an appeal will keep them in the limelight, with the chance of raising more money.

But there seems to be a subtle change in tone now. The keyword is still "$MONEY$".

On radio today, Lau Siu-lai said that there are many considerations for an appeal, including financial pressure. She will discuss with the other three, and it is possible that they may reach different decisions. She said that people (including the lawyers) are pessimistic about the outcome of an appeal, because the Court of First Instance accepted the Basic Law Article 104 interpretation in full.

Meanwhile Nathan Law said that he is leaning towards an appeal. But the legal fees will be in the millions, so it depends on the financial pressure and the support of the non-establishment camp. He is pessimistic about getting legal aid. He estimated that the Legislative Council will ask him to give 3 to 4 million dollars back. Nathan Law said that the Basic Law Article 104 interpretation was a "political decision." Even if he is not confident about the deal, the Court of Final Appeal needs to clarify the legal issues.

Leung Kwok-hung said that it is entirely possible that he won't file an appeal because of the legal fees. He does not know whether legal aid is available. If they do, the amount will be less than $1 million; if not, the amount will be about $3 million each. He said that there is "no reason" for the HKSAR government to ask them for legal fees, because it is only "fair" that the money should come out of the treasury.

- (Oriental Daily) July 17, 2017. There are six unfilled Legco seats: Two in Kowloon West; two in New Territories East; one in Hong Kong Island; one in a functional constituency. Basically Hong Kong voters go for about 55% "non-establishment" and 45% "pro-establishment." If elections are held for all six seats simultaneously, it is likely that one seat in Kowloon West and one seat in New Territories East will go to the pro-establishment camp.

Therefore, Nathan Law has suggested that, for the sake of mending social rifts, the government should hold two sets of elections: first for two seats in Kowloon West and New Territories East; then for the other four seats.

Politically, this means that the "non-establishment" camp will probably win five of the six seats (but not the functional constituency which was won by Yiu Chung-yim only because two pro-establishment rivals split the majority vote).

Economically, this means that the government will pay $140 million more to hold the elections.

Well, I can think of better ways to spend $140 million. Can you?

- Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said that the additional $140 million expenditure is worthwhile because it is "in the public interest." He did not explain the meaning, but he may be implying that pan-democratic non-cooperation at the Legislative Council will eventually cost much more than $140 million.

- This may help to mend "social rifts" between Carrie Lam and Nathan Law, but it will permanently damage Carrie Lam with the "pro-establishment" camp.

- Carrie Lam said that she will not compromise on rule-of-law for the sake of the pan-democrats.

- People like Benny Tai, Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law and others are listing demands that the government must meet before social peace and harmony can be restored. If not, they promise a permanent non-cooperation campaign.

The lesson from the Occupy Central debacle is that none of these people can represent anyone, and therefore meeting their demands will accomplish nothing. If you meet one set of demands, another person will pop up and list another set of demands.

So it was during Occupy Central that their demands included: (1) rescind the August 31st resolution of the National People's Congress Standing Committee; (2) implement universal suffrage with civil nomination; (3) CY Leung must go; (4) Carrie Lam and Raymond Tam must resign; (5) one-party rule must end in China; (6) implement universal pension; (7) establish standard working hours; (8) increase minimum wage; (9) build more public housing; (10) protect all green parkland; (11) stop construction of the Express Rail Link; (12) stop construction of the Zhuhai-Macau-Hong Kong bridge; (13) the Chief Executive must not be the automatic university chancellor; etc.

- (Bastille Post) Here is a game-theoretic analysis of the Grand Reconciliation. There are four players: the non-establishment camp; the pro-establishment camp; the Chief Executive/HKSAR government; the Central Government.

In a Prisoners' Dilemma, how do you get all sides to arrive at the optimal solution? In this case, how do you get everybody to make concessions, reduce the heat and arrive at a permanent ceasefire?

The non-establishment camp: The situation is complicated by internal divisions. The camp is divided into traditional and localist factions, with the traditional faction being further subdivided into conservative and radical factions. If the non-establishment camp had a unified will, they can negotiate with the Central Government. For example, "If you forego legal fees for the DQ2/DQ4, if you stop further judicial reviews to disqualify more legislators, if you hold the by-elections separately and if you promise not to revise the procedural rules, I will promise to stop filibustering in the future and allow the government to pass most of the normal budgets." But nobody can represent the leaderless pan-democrats to make those promises. You can be sure that the radical/localist factions will agree with the demands, but refuse to adhere to the promises. They got into the Legislative Council because of the chaos, and they will not accept peace and harmony.

The government: Chief Executive Carrie Lam does not want to the destroy the initial peace between her and the pan-democrats. She is the one who is most motivated to achieve a Grand Reconciliation so that she can get about the business of governance.

The pro-establishment camp: How compliant to Carrie Lam will they be? In the matter of the by-elections, if the government accedes to the pan-democrats' demand and hold the by-elections one by one, all those seats will go to the them. Conversely, if the by-elections are combined, the pro-establishment camp stand a chance to win seats in Kowloon West and New Territories East. Will they accept the arrangement? Unless the Central Government forces them, there is no reason for them to sacrifice their self-interests.

The Central Government: This is the same problem here. If the Central Government settles for the Grand Reconciliation, are they sure that the non-establishment camp will actually keep their promises?

After assessing the situation for all four sides, the conclusion is that while a Grand Reconciliation is in the best rational interest of society as a whole, it won't be easy for the sides to actually do it. So the situation today is very fragile and unsustainable. Instead we expect to see the game to continue.

- During the Umbrella Revolution, the Yellow Ribbons occupied Admiralty, Mong Kok and Causeway Bay and held the people of Hong Kong hostage in order to extract ransom from the government. (SpeakoutHK) In this latest revival, the Yellow Ribbons are holding 690,000 Hong Kong students hostage. Unless Carrie Lam agreed to let the taxpayers pay for the legal fees of DQ4 as well as arrange the by-elections to the satisfaction of the Yellow Ribbons, the bill for additional education expenditure will not be passed this year. So if Carrie Lam loves school children, she better do what the Yellow Ribbons tell her.

- (SCMP) Attention pan-dems: dont cut off your noses to spite your faces. By Alex Lo. July 19, 2017.

Blind opposition and mindless theatrics have brought pan-democrats and localist radicals to a sorry state at the Legislative Council. They have lost the plot following the High Courts shock judgment last week, which disqualified four of their own who had failed to swear their oaths of office properly.

In retaliation, they are threatening to scuttle an education funding bill worth HK$3.6 billion a year that practically everyone supports, including their own constituencies. Several clichs come to mind, such as biting the hand that feeds you, and cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Having forced the cancellation of two Finance Committee meetings at Legco already, the pan-dems have one more chance to approve the bill today before the summer recess. Yet, at the last minute, they are attaching new conditions and demands.

These include expanding the scope of coverage of a new subsidy worth HK$30,000 a year, currently budgeted for secondary school graduates who enrol in private tertiary schools that run expensive self-financing degree programmes.

I am all for extending the new subsidy to students who take self-financed courses at public universities. But this can be done in the next round of legislation.

Opposition lawmakers also want to link their support for the bill to by-elections. They want two rounds rather than a single round for the four who were disqualified last week and for the two Youngspiration members who were booted out last year.

This linkage, completely unrelated to education, gives the game away: lay the blame on the new administration of Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor if the education subsidy bill fails to pass. But its clear their anger stems from the court judgment over the four lawmakers disqualification, so they are taking it out on the education bill.

Their attempt is so transparent even a child can see through it. My advice is, dont do it, please. You will just make it worse for yourselves. The funding will help schools to hire full-time primary and secondary teachers, and professionals in special needs education and information technology.

If you want to go after the government, by all means. But lets not shoot innocent bystanders and cause more collateral damage. Doing that will lose you more public sympathy, and thats something you will need when you field by-election candidates, hopefully to regain those lost seats.

- (Oriental Daily) July 18, 2017. On morning radio, legislator Eddie Chu Hoi Dick said that the pan-democrats should react to the political suppression by refusing to let the Legislative Council Finance Committee meet because it would be a political surrender otherwise. Chu said that the pan-democrats are at war with the government. However, there is still opportunity to evacuate the wounded from the battlefield, as is the case with the $3.6 billion designated for education resource development.

- Derivative art collection


"This is a stick up!
Thou shalt not mention Article 23 or constitutional reform!
Thou shalt not DQ other legislators!
Thou shalt not consolidate by-elections!
Thou shalt not seek legal fees!
Thou shalt not revise Legco procedural rules!"
Benny Tai
(Professor of Law (maybe))


Poster for the Movie "The Money Is Not Enough" (The Gang of Four series)
No more Legco seats
No more popular support
No more money
No more justification
What will the Fat Guy do?
In their minds, every person is a human flesh ATM
When the money is not enough,
the only option is to go "bust"


King of Farce: DQ4
July 14: Die in peace
Lead actors: Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law, Lau Siu-lai, Yiu Chung-yim

- Voted the best "This is the darkest day in the history of Hong Kong" speech: Claudia Mo video
- The DQ4 saga sung to the tune of Oh My Darling

- (Ming Pao) July 21, 2017.

Question: Do you think that you lack political sensitivity which led to the consequences today?
Lau Siu-lai: At the time of the oath, the old rules were in place. But the rules were changed afterwards, retroactively applied to before. I never realized that the regime could be so shameless. I will need to be extra careful in the future."

- Who is the pan-democratic legislator with seniority? It's James To Kun-shun (Democratic Party). He took his oath flawlessly. Why? Because he knew that playing antics with the oath achieves nothing whatsoever. There is nothing to gain and everything to lose.

- Leung Kwok-hung's Facebook


Please help us: If you see a Long Hair banner, please take it down.

The Lands Department has asked us to remove all banners by July 24, or else they will charge me with removal fees one by one. The New Territories East election district is huge, with many banners located in rural areas. We don't have enough time to remove them. We have asked the Lands Department for an extension but they insisted that no extension was possible.

So I am sincerely appealing people to help remove the banners.

The locations and numbers of the banners can be found at: Goo.gl/w48miY

After removing a banner, please leave a comment here on the location/serial number. Thanks.

If possible, please take the removed banner to League of Social Democrats headquarters in Cheung Sha Wan. We will take it back to re-use.

- Call for general mobilization: Please help Long Hair take down his banners immediately now ... and then put them back up after July 24th.

(SCMP) July 4, 2017.

Radio Television Hong Kong has filed a complaint to the Communications Authority over broadcaster TVBs abrupt pulling of a controversial programme that poked fun at Xi Jinping on Friday, when the president was in town to mark the 20th anniversary of the citys handover to China.

The episode of the current affairs programme Headliner, which was replaced by a re-run of a broadcast on Xi and a programme on feng shui, also made repeated references to the imprisoned Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was released from jail on medical parole last month after he was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.

Amen Ng Man-yee, head of RTHKs corporate communications unit, told the Post that RTHK was only notified eight minutes before the programme was supposed to be aired on TVB Jade at 6pm last Friday.

Ng said TVB told RTHK the switch was needed for the broadcast of some breaking news, a reason which she questioned.

Instead of running the RTHK show, TVB Jade broadcast a recording of Xi meeting with various sectors in Hong Kong earlier in the day and then a programme on feng shui.

The 12-minute recording of Xi was not a live broadcast. It had already been aired on the TVB news channel at about 5pm.

TVB ran the pulled episode of Headliner on the less popular J5 channel early on Saturday morning.

Ng said RTHK had not agreed to the change and filed a complaint to TVB and the Communications Authority on Monday.

Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung said he also filed a complaint with the authority to question if TVBs decision was a case of political censorship. Hui also asked the Legislative Council to discuss the incident.

The authority said it had received 133 complaints by 5pm on Tuesday.

TVB did not respond to Post inquiries.

(SCMP) July 5, 2017.

The row in Hong Kong over TVBs abrupt pulling of a controversial RTHK current affairs programme escalated with the television station hitting back and accusing the public service broadcaster of being unprofessional in saying its replacement programme on Chinese President Xi Jinpings visit was unimportant.

Facing about 190 complaints lodged with the watchdog Communications Authority and accusations of political censorship by some pan-democrats, TVB broke its silence with a defiant statement on Wednesday.

It would be ignorant of the facts if Ng [Amen Ng Man-yee, head of RTHKs corporate communications unit] did not consider the presidents speech news or thought it was of less importance than Headliner, TVB said in a statement. It was an inappropriate statement by a professional news practitioner or broadcaster.

TVB said it had broadcast Xis speeches at the earliest possible time to cater for the needs of hundreds of thousands of analogue TV viewers who could not watch the digital iNews channel.

In response to TVBs latest statement, Ng said RTHK would let the public judge who was being unprofessional. Important news does not equal breaking news, she said. The recording of Xi was not unpredictable, not something you must broadcast at once.

TVB went further in its statement to say the requirement to broadcast RTHK programmes was historical and out-of-date as RTHK had started digital terrestrial television broadcasting service in January 2014. The Communication Authority said it had no plans to change the rule.

Internet comments:

- Charter of Radio Television Hong Kong

4. As the public service broadcaster in Hong Kong, RTHK is to fulfill the following purposes --

(a) Sustain citizenship and civil society. This involves --

(i) promoting understanding of our community, our nation and the wrold through accurate and impartial news, information, perspectives and analyses;

(ii) promoting understanding of the concept of "One Country, Two Systems" and its implementation in Hong Kong; and

(iii) engendering a sense of citizenship and national identity through programmes that contribute to the understanding of our community and nation;

...

5. RTHK will provide to Hong Kong people editorially independent, professional and high-quality radio, television and new media services. Specifically, the mission of RTHK is to --

...

(d) provide a platform for the Government and the community to discuss public policies and express views thereon without fear or favour;

(HKG Pao) When the people of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region want to celebrate its 20th birthday, they were told by RTHK City Forum that this was a "20-year sham." The people of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region fund RTHK with their taxes to the tune of HK$ 1 billion per year. Why do they have to be offended in this manner? Whatever happened to the purposes and missions as written down in the Charter of Radio Television Hong Kong?

According to the Radio Code of Practice on Programme Standards of the Communications Authority,

General Principles

7. In the presentation of radio programmes, the basic principles of ordinary good taste and common sense must always be observed. A licensee should not include in its programmes

...

(b) any material which is likely to encourage hatred against or fear of, and/or considered to be denigrating or insulting to any person(s) or group(s) on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, social status, or physical or mental disability;

If RTHK thinks that One Country Two Systems has been a sham for 20 years, we can see why they can hang the national flag upside down:

(Apple Daily) August 1, 2011.

And since RTHK seem incapable of fulfilling their mission, they should perhaps go into Chapter 11 and re-organize.

- (HKG Pao) TVB and ATV were required to re-transmit RTHK programs as part of their licensing requirements. But that requirement was imposed in a different operating environment. The new developments are:

1) The television industry is heading towards hard times due to the challenge from online media. ATV went out of business last year. But Viu TV and Fantastic TV have entered the market to compete for a shrinking pie. The government should not be taking away TVB's precious prime time programs by edict, while giving the competitors Viu TV and Fantastic TV a free pass.

2) TVB is seeing a huge drop in revenue, while Viu TV and Fantastic TV are far from being profitable. RTHK is the second largest broadcaster in terms of operating budget. There is no reason for the government to create an unfair market.

3) The government cannot attract more investors in the television industry as long as they favor on a government channel that is under no economic pressure. If this continues, Viu TV and Fantastic TV will exit with no newcomers.

- (HKG Pao) July 12, 2017. Here are the Nielsen Television Audience Measurement ratings data for RTHK 31 and RTHK 33. The flagship RTHK 31 has an average rating of 0.14375 during Prime Time (19:00-22:45) compared to 0.275 for RTHK 33. What is being shown on RTHK 33 that outperforms the flagship RTHK 31? Would RTHK 33 is just re-transmitting CCTV (China Central Television)? So well the hell has that $1 billion per year gone?

- (SilentMajorityHK) July 11, 2017.

Comparison of channels:

RTHK: Annual investment $1 billion; employees 722; audience rating (0 to 1.2)
TVB Jade: Annual investment $1.06 billion; employees 4249; audience rating (20 or more)
Viu TV: Annual investment $270 million; employees 300; audience rating (0.4 to 3.85)
Fantastic TV: Annual investment $170 million; employees 500; audience rating (not available yet

Comparison of RTHK programme ratings on different channels:

Hong Kong Connection: 4.5 on TVB Jade, 0.6 on RTHK 31
English Made Easy: 2.7 on TVB Jade, 0.3 on RTHK 31
Once Upon A Dime: 2.9 on TVB Jade, 0.6 on RTHK 31
Legco Review: 2.6 on TVB Jade, 0.4 on RTHK 31
Headliner: 3.6 on TVB Jade, 0.9 on RTHK 31

- The TVB viewers are there by habit. If those RTHK programmes are removed from TVB, they are not going to follow on RTHK 31. They will watch whatever is on TVB Jade, also nicknamed the "Big Station."

- (SilentMajorityHK) Here is the rating performance of RTHK 31 during June 19-23, 2017. Don't forget that ATV went out of business with ratings about the 1% level. Each rating point equals 64,980 viewers.

- (SilentMajorityHK) Of the $1 billion budget for RTHK during fiscal year 2017/2018, $400 million goes to pay for the salaries of the 713 employees. But according to a CAT II employee, they are given self-employment contract with no fringe benefits and even forced to take unpaid time off. There are about 30 CAT II employees, who are responsible for filming, interviewing, writing and editing. The scope of their work is similar to regular employees, but they are classified as self-employed persons with no labor insurance, mandatory provident fund, paid vacations and other rights. Last year, Headliner host Tsang Chi-ho attended an RTHK workers' meeting and was told by RTHK Director of Broadcasting Leung Ka-wing: "You are not an employee" and "This meeting is for employees only." However, RTHK head of corporate communications Amen Ng Man-yee said that popular hosts such Candy Chea Shuk-mui and Timothy Cheng Tse-sing are CAT II employees too, but most people will think that they are RTHK employees. Ng does not think that there is any conflict with CAT II employees reporting news under the role of RTHK reporters.

- What this means is that the government must allocate an extra $100 million to RTHK so that the CAT II employees can be treated like human beings ...

- (HKG Pao) July 4, 2017. With respect to the public outcry against the RTHK City Forum topical theme of "One Country Two Systems is great wisdom or a shame for 20 full years? The Chairman says 'trust the nation', black clothed Bauhinia flower to celebrate the handover?", an RTHK spokesperson Ms. Hui responded that there was not much viewer response or complaints. Besides the statements were inconclusive, so RTHK does not see any problems here. When asked why RTHK only chose negative images and ignore the positive celebrations, Ms. Hui declined to respond.

The contact information for the RTHK which says that it does not get complaints are: ccu@rthk.hk and (852) 3691-2388.

- (HKG Pao) July 10, 2017. The Communications Authority said that it has received 196 complaints against the RTHK City Forum. How many complaints were lodged at RTHK itself? The RTHK spokesperson said that they will only make an assessment at the end of the year. They said that there should not be too many complaints against an individual program, and that is why they won't disclose the information. So this is what transparency means to this government department.

By comparison, the Communications Authority said that it has received 190 complaints against TVB pulling the RTHK program Headliner to make way Xi Jinping's speech. If 196 complaints is "nothing", then 190 must also be "nothing" too. Right?

Please note that the previous episode of Headliner got 18 complaints lodged at the Communications Authority. So 196 is a significant jump.

- (HKG Pao) By Chris Wat Wing-yin. July 8, 2017.

When it comes to RTHK, people often wondered: "Why can a group of employees keep attacking the boss? Is there any way to stop, punish or supervise them?"

As a public organization, RTHK is supervised just like any other government department by the Ombudsman, the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Audit Commission. In addition, RTHK is supervised by the Communications Authority. But unlike the privately owned television and radio channels, the Communications Authority cannot suspend their license or even impose fines for transgressions. Instead, the Communications Authority can only deplore or warn any unprofessional/unethical behavior.

So even if RTHK makes trouble, they will continue to be paid and promoted. If you question them, they will invoke freedom of press, freedom of speech and freedom of artistic creation. There are no employees like these anywhere in the world.

"Can't the boss fire them?"

The answer is once again NO. Public service jobs are "iron rice bowls" that can never be broken. RTHK  claims to be doing public broadcasting. They are not a state-owned enterprise which must serve the state. A public broadcasting corporation serves the citizens, not the state. Therefore their boss is not the Hong Kong Special Administrative Government. Their bosses are the 7 million Hong Kong citizens and the RTHK budget is supported by taxes.

Here we have an organization which is completely financed by the government. Most of their employees are public service workers. The top management team is appointed by the government. Their Director of Broadcasting reports to the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau. In terms of financing, organization and accountability, they look like a government media outlet. But they are not.

In 2006, a commission to review public service broadcasting recommended that RTHK leave the government and come under an independent board of directors. At the time, the RTHK staff said that this was a government conspiracy to "kill" the station. Eventually, the proposal was shelved. The director in charge of the Commerce Industry and Technology Bureau at the time was Wong Wing-ping.

"Alright, let us suppose that RTHK is a public broadcasting service whose bosses are the people. How do they listen to what their bosses are telling them?"

I checked the files. The last public consultation held by RTHK was in 2012. They haven't faced the public since. The opposition camp loves to talk about public consultation, but RTHK has done nothing in five years. Even phone-in audience members get screened. If you are anti-Yellow Ribbon, they won't take your calls; even if they do, they will hang up on you after a couple of sentences. So how do the citizen bosses express their opinions?

If citizens cannot supervise RTHK, they should break up the relationship. The citizens don't want to pay $1 billion a year to support a service that won't listen to them, and RTHK does not have to listen to their nominal bosses either. Once RTHK become their own bosses, they can do whatever they want. RTHK independence is the only way out, and the only redemption for citizens too.

- (HKG Pao) By Chris Wat Wing-yin. July 7, 2017.

This time, I am all for Hong Kong independence. To be more specific, the "Hong Kong" here refers to Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK).

Citizens don't always understand why their regular TVB programming sometimes contain RTHK segments with different feels and qualities. The reason was that when the government first issued the licenses to the commercial channels, Radio Hong Kong did not have any television channels. So the commercial channels were required to show programs such as <Police Report> during prime time.

In April 2016, ATV lost its broadcasting license. The freed channels were handed over to RTHK, which now has three channels: 31, 32 and 33. Shouldn't they relinquish their slots on TVB? Or are they worried about their own drawing power and want to continue to live off the "Big Channel"?

Rules are fixed but people are flexible. The world has changed, and the rules should be changed to allow RTHK to become independent. If their programmes are as significant and meaningful as they claim, they don't have to rely on a commercial channel which is contaminated by the filthy lucre? If they are independent, they would never have to be worried about censorship by TVB.

Once RTHK becomes independent, they won't have to depend on the treasury for funding. They say that public broadcasting services are different from state-owned enterprises because they serve the people and not the state. Fine, I recommend that RTHK becomes independent and solicit public donations for funding. If they win the hearts and minds of the people, the world will be theirs.

- (SCMP) The TVB, RTHK censorship row is a joke. By Alex Lo. July 8, 2017.

Its been embarrassing to watch TVB and RTHK trading blows all week. News organisations should report news, not become news themselves.

RTHK has complained to the Communications Authority about TVBs abrupt pulling of its political satire show Headliner from its scheduled 6pm time slot on the Jade channel last Friday. Instead, the TV station broadcast news footage of President Xi Jinping during his visit to Hong Kong filmed earlier that day. Some media critics have accused TVB of censorship, because the 20-minute Headliner episode carried sarcastic comments made by its hosts about Xi and there were numerous references made to Nobel Peace Prize winner and dissident Liu Xiaobo, who is suffering from terminal liver cancer.

TVB has countered that Xis visit to Hong Kong and various meetings he had with local people had far more news value than the RTHK show. It has accused senior management at RTHK of lacking professional news sense. But it seems to have shot itself in the foot when it told RTHK that it was going to run breaking news on Xi when the footage was shot earlier that day. Still, Xis speech, in which he called for unity, was arguably important news.

TVB did run the Headliner show the next day, on its less popular J5 channel after midnight, a time slot that pretty much guaranteed few people would watch it. Pan-democrats have been quick to side with TVB critics, who have sometimes equated RTHK to being Hong Kongs BBC. Now that would be a satirical statement worthy of Headliner, considering the wide gulf in quality that separates the two publicly funded broadcasters.

There is a very good reason to pull Headliner altogether, though not for this particular episode. Its mission statement is: We make you laugh. If you dont laugh, we have failed in our job. It is, sadly, rarely funny. In fact, half of the show consists of running current news footage with a Canto-pop song as background music. The rest of the show has one host dressed in drag and the other as a eunuch. They could be funny and biting if they had been comedians, but unfortunately not.

A neutral observer might conclude that RTHK and TVB are both right about each other. There probably was an element of self-censorship. But then, the show allegedly being censored lost its relevance a long time ago.

- (EJ Insight) The fact and fiction of TVB's self-censorship. By Michael Chugani. July 13, 2017.

Hong Kongs media is regularly accused of self-censorship, with opposition politicians, journalists, and media groups such as the Hong Kong Journalists Association often voicing concern. Broadly defined, media censorship means not publishing or broadcasting news, or downplaying anything that a media organization considers sensitive or which conflicts with that organizations political agenda.

In the Hong Kong context, self-censorship is more tightly defined as a media organization ignoring or downplaying news that it feels embarrasses or offends mainland China. This definition is clearly one-sided because it assumes that only media considered as Beijing-friendly self-censor. But it is this definition that the Hong Kong public believes. The fact, of course, is all media organizations, both here and abroad, self-censor in varying degrees.

Fox News in the US, for example, plays up everything that is positive for President Donald Trump and downplays anything that is negative news for him. Huffington Post does the exact opposite. Here in Hong Kong, leftist newspapers such as Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Pao avoid anything that is deemed embarrassing for mainland China but play up everything that puts China in a good light. Jimmy Lai Chee-yings Next Media does the opposite. Self-censorship is, therefore, a two-way street.

TVB, whose shareholder make-up includes people with mainland connections, is regularly accused of self-censorship to please Beijing. Before I continue, I must declare an interest. I am a freelancer for TVB where I host an English-language show and co-host a Chinese-language show. But the motive of this column is not to support TVB or to mock the critics of TVB. It is to use facts to put the record straight on an issue involving TVB that dominated the headlines last week.

Government licensing rules require TVB but not other free-to-air TV stations such as ViuTV to broadcast certain programs produced by the government-owned RTHK. One of these programs is the Chinese-language Headliner, which brands itself as satire. It is broadcast on TVBs Jade channel.

On June 30, during President Xi Jinpings visit, TVB decided to preempt Headliner with footage of one of Xis speeches. The footage was broadcast on TVBs 24-hour digital news channel iNews about an hour or so earlier once it became available. But TVB considered footage of Xis speech important enough to also broadcast it on the more-widely watched Jade channel, particularly because tens of thousands of homes with only analog TV have no access to iNews.

TVB had to find a natural break on Jade, which is not a 24-hour news channel and therefore cannot suddenly break into a news item, to air the Xi footage. That natural break came just before 6 pm. By the time the Xi footage ended, it was after 6pm, not enough time to air Headliner before Jades highly popular 6.30 evening news. TVB informed RTHK about eight minutes beforehand that it could not air Headliner and said it would do so later in the evening on another channel.

TVB was immediately accused of self-censorship because that episode of Headliner poked fun at Xi and made repeated references of imprisoned Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo. Here is a fact that needs to be made clear. TVB did not even know beforehand the contents of the Headliner in question. The head of RTHK, Leung Ka-wing, confirmed this to me in black and white, adding TVB is never told in advance the contents of Headliner.

Is it fair to accuse TVB of self-censorship when it did not even know the content of what it is accused of censoring? I think fair-minded people know the answer to that. Democratic Party legislator Ted Hui Chi-fung and the Hong Kong Journalists Association, among others, accused TVB of political censorship. I can understand Hui making unsubstantiated accusations because it serves his political interests to attack TVB, which the opposition camp maligns as under Beijings influence.

But the Journalists Association is supposed to represent journalists and accuracy is the professions cardinal rule. Was it that difficult to make a simple phone call to Leung to confirm if TVB knew the contents of Headliner before rushing to issue a damning statement suggesting TVB did not want to embarrass Xi? If the Journalists Association cannot even get its facts straight on such a simple matter, how can we trust it when it accuses the Hong Kong media of self-censorship?

RTHK spokesperson Amen Ng Man-yee questioned TVBs news judgment in preempting Headliner with news footage of Xis speech. With all due respect, what right has she got to decide for a commercial TV station that a government-produced satire is more important than news about the president of China visiting Hong Kong? Surely, such editorial judgments should be made totally by TVB, which is accountable to its shareholders and viewers, and not by RTHKs Ng, who is a civil servant.

I have never watched Headliner but watched that June 30 episode so I could write this column fairly. I couldnt watch past ten minutes because it was so childishly juvenile. If RTHKs producers think Headliner is satire, it needs to learn the real meaning of the word or perhaps watch Saturday Night Live to understand how comedic satire is done.

The fact is this nonsense, which borders on propaganda for the opposition camp, is produced with taxpayers money. Charles Mok, who represents the IT sector in the Legislative Council, slammed TVB for saying it is time RTHK airs Headliner on its own channels. RTHK now has five free-to-air channels that reach most of Hong Kong homes three digital and two analog.

As a legislator, Mok has a duty to care about how public money is spent. Shouldnt he be demanding to know why RTHK is still sticking to an outdated rule that TVB must air its shows when RTHK now has five channels, all paid for by the public? Mok, an opposition legislator, insists RTHK relying on TVB to air its shows and TVB preempting Headliner are two separate issues.

No, they are not. The facts already show TVB did not know beforehand the contents of Headliner, so self-censorship was not involved. If RTHK does not want its shows to be preempted by important news events, then it should rely on its own channels. So the two issues are not separate, as Mok claims.

If Amen Ng believes the Headliner shows are such riveting TV satire that they should never be preempted, why piggyback on TVBs highly-popular Jade channel. Surely, the best way to test if Headliner is great TV or trash is to show it on RTHKs own channel and see what ratings it attracts instead of relying on Jades popularity to win audience share.

(The Guardian) July 7, 2017.

Chinas first aircraft carrier emerged from the mist in the waters south of Hong Kong on Friday morning as a four-warship flotilla gave a potent demonstration of Beijings might. The carrier, christened the Liaoning after the north-eastern Chinese province, sailed past half a dozen hulking container ships as it entered Hong Kong waters at about 7.30am.

The ships maiden visit to Hong Kong came less than a week after the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, toured the city, warning the former British colony must not become a launchpad for challenges to Beijings authority. Amid calls for greater autonomy and even outright independence from some Hong Kongers, many saw the naval convoy as underlining Xis hardline message.

The Liaonings visit is an escalation of Beijings efforts to squeeze Hong Kong and is meant to show that the military has a role in safeguarding the Chinese governments interests, said Willy Lam, a politics professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The unsubtle message is that if there is any mass protests or things get out of hand, Beijing will not hesitate to call upon soldiers to quell any perceived rebellion against the Communist party. UK and US officials have expressed concern over receding freedoms in the city and the creeping influence of the Chinese officials in the local government. The show of military might served to remind the west that Beijing is in control and will use whatever means to crush efforts to undermine Chinas sovereignty, Lam said.

Xi also put on a display of martial might during his visit, presiding over the largest military parade since the UK handed the city back to China in 1997. The parade and aircraft carrier visit is highly significant and the Chinese garrison in the city typically keeps a low profile, rarely seen on the streets in uniform.

The Liaoning was escorted by two guided-missile destroyers, a guided-missile frigate and two corvettes from Hong Kongs naval garrison, along with 20 police launches and dozens of government marine vessels clearing a path. Fishermen paused their work to snap pictures using their mobile phones as the flotilla passed. Enthusiasts gathered on Hong Kongs southern hills, highways and apartment balconies to capture the dramatic entrance. About a dozen enthusiastic ship captains prominently displayed Chinese flags as they approached for a closer look.

But Chinas first aircraft carrier is not entirely its own. The hull was built nearly 30 years ago for the Soviet navy, but the ship was never completed. The ships journey from a Ukrainian shipyard to the Chinese navy was hardly routine. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, construction was halted in 1992 and the carrier was put up for sale. It then took six years before a Chinese businessman purchased it for $20m, saying he planned to tow it to Macau and open a floating hotel and casino. But the purchase and story were a cover, with the ship eventually delivered to the Chinese navy in 2002. The military spent the next decade refitting and upgrading the ship, and it was declared combat ready in November. China launched its first domestically built carrier in April, but it will not be operational until 2020.

The defence ministry contradicted itself over the purpose of the flotillas visit, first saying it was part of a routine training mission, and later announcing it was organised to mark 20 years since the Peoples Liberation Army entered the city at the end of British rule.

Hundreds of eager Hong Kongers camped out overnight, braving sporadic rain and temperatures hovering around 30C (86F) to snag one of only 2,000 tickets to visit the carrier. But tours will be tightly controlled, with no cameras allowed on board and only permanent residents of the city given tickets.

(HKG Pao) July 7, 2017.

Apple Daily reported on the red color on the waterline of the Liaoning: "China's first aircraft carrier is visiting Hong Kong today. But many details showed that the People's Liberation Army has not taken care of the detailed. According to a Macau military expert, the photos of the aircraft carrier entering Hong Kong showed that some of the anti-rust paint under the waterline has peeled off and rusted. This is fairly obvious. International Military Studies Association president Wong Tung said that this detail showed that the maintenance on this aircraft carrier is 'somewhat shoddy'." Wong said: "The details determine success/failure."

According to Taiwan Taiwan Keel Boat Association member George Shy, the red line is smooth and even, which is clearly design to get rid of barnacles. "It would be a disaster if the paint does not peel off, because the barnacles will stick to the bottom of the ship, causing it to lose speed as well as blocking pipes to pump water in and out."

As one netizen noted, prejudiced people see negativity in everything but they will only become laughing stock in the end.

- Eh, Apple Daily quietly did what they always do -- the page about the rust on the Liaoning is inaccessible (Error 404) without explanation.

Internet comments:

- (HKG Pao) You can always count on the Youngspiration pair of ex-legislators elect Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching to chime in. Leung posted on Facebook: "Never mind about what ordinary citizens have to say about imperialism blah blah blah ... how can you expect this third-hand, diesel-oil-guzzling and retired cruise ship to bully other people?"

- The pro-Hong Kong independence warriors like to talk about clashes, resistance and even violent force. But there is every reason to believe that this retired cruise ship will be able to manhandle these Hong Kong warriors.

- Yes, it takes a retired legislator-elect to make fun of a retired cruise ship.

- So far China has one and only one third-hand aircraft carrier Liaoning. Obviously they are far behind the United States. Looking at Aircraft Carriers by Country, the United Kingdom has:

HMS Glorious
HMS Courageous
HMS Eagle
HMS Hermes
HMS Ark Royal
HMS Argus
HMS Furious
HMS Vindictive
HMS Unicorn
HMS Illustrious
HMS Formidable
HMS Victorious
HMS Indomitable
HMS Implacable
HMS Indefatgable
HMS Colossus
HMS Glory
HMS Ocean
HMS Theseus
HMS Trimpuh
HMS Venerable
HMS Vengeance
HMS Warrior
HMS Perseus
HMS Pioneer
HMS Majestic
HMS Hercules
HMS Magnificent
HMS Powerful
HMS Terrible
HMS Centaur
HMS Albion
HMS BUlwark
HMS Invincible
HMS Illustrious

Isn't this astonishing? China has no chance against the United Kingdom, just as the Qing Dynasty navy had no chance against the British gunboats.

- Ahem, you have posted a list of sunk, retired, scrapped or sold United Kingdom aircraft carriers. The Royal Navy has no aircraft carrier in service at this time. HMS Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to be commissioned in late 2017 with "operational military capability" for 2020. HMS Prince of Wales is scheduled to be commissioned in 2020. Of course, this may never happen if the United Kingdom goes bankrupt first.

- By the way, Liaoning is scorned for the black smoke it emits from its diesel engines. What will HMS Queen Elizabeth run on? Two Rolls-Royce 36MW MT30 gas turbine alternators and four 10 MW diesel engines. Good luck!

- How awful is the smoke from the aircraft carrier!?


[Footnote in very small letters: The aircraft carrier in this photo is the Russian ship Admiral Kuznetsov.]

- (The Stand) July 7, 2017. According to data from the Environmental Protection Department, the level of sulfur dioxide at the Number 8 pier in Kwai Chung was 10.9 to 15.8 microgrames per square meter. This is more than double the 5.8 to 6.0 found yesterday morning.

- According to the data from the Environmental Protection Department, the level of sulfur dioxide had risen to 10.0 at 7am in Kwai Chung. At the time, the Liaoning was still in the vicinity of the Po Toi Islands to the southeast of Hong Kong Island. How can its smoke emissions pollute Kwai Chung north of Hong Kong Island but not in Stanley (Hong Kong Island)? Are you ignorant or malicious?

- And where the fuck were you when the USS Kitty Hawk visited Hong Kong?

Internet comments:

- (SilentMajorityHK) July 5, 2017.

In May last year, US President Barack Obama visited Vietnam. The Hong Kong opposition gloated at the sight of Obama sitting Vietnamese beef noodles with citizens in a small restaurant, as compared to the heavy security when Chinese state leaders come to Hong Kong. However, clever people pointed out that the photo showed that the other diners in the restaurant paid no attention to the presence of the President of the United States in their midst. They don't gawk at him and they don't try to communicate with him. Instead, they concentrated on eating their rice noodles.

What would you do if the President of the United States were sitting at the next table in a restaurant? Would you look at him? Would you take some photos of him? Or even approach him to request a selfie?

In the movie <Infernal Affairs>, there is a famous saying: "When someone is completely focused on his work but occasionally glance at you, he is a cop."

In July 1998, US President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary visited Hong Kong. Many roads were blocked as well. The Clinton dined at the Maxime Restaurant in City Hall. All the other diners were plainclothes policemen. I know because one of my police friends was one of the actors who performed that day.

But 31 years ago when the Queen of England visited Hong Kong, there were no barriers and security cordon. Why? Because they locked up all the potential protestors during the visit. Pro-UK unification advocates probably don't even know about those dark days.

When a state leader visits some place, roads will be blocked/diverted, normal routines will be disrupted and attendees will be screened. There are no exceptions. When you complain now, you are showing your ignorance. Besides, if you were in the Occupy movement, how dare you complain about disrupting people's lives? Three years ago, you blocked the road for 79 days. The people of Hong Kong put up with you. How dare you complain that Chairman Xi is inconveniencing people going to work? Your double standards are a sight to behold.

- Here are the side shows:

(Oriental Daily) June 29, 2017.

On the eve of Xi Jinping's visit, the Hong Kong self-determination party Demosisto and two radical political parties (League of Social Democrats and People Power) took action. On June 27, Demosisto secretary-general Joshua Wong and a dozen or so party members joined League of Social Democrats and People Power members early in morning to warp the Bauhinia statue in black cloth.

On June 28 at around 5pm, another twenty plus persons sat down underneath the Bauhinia statue while raising black banners. These included Demosisto's Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, Agnes Chow and Derek Lam, plus League of Social Democrats' LEung Kwok-hung. They demanded the withdraw of the August 31st resolution of the National People's Congress Standing Committee and universal suffrage. Some of them chained themselves together with iron chains.

The police cleared the site beginning at 730pm. They removed legislators Leung Kwok-hung and Nathan Law Kwun-chung. A total of 26 persons were arrested.

(Oriental Daily) June 30, 2017.

As of tonight, 9 of the 26 arrestees are out on bail while 17 others (including Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Leung Kwok-hung) are still waiting to be processed. According to lawyers, some of the arrestees had not been processed after waiting for more than 10 hours. They accused the police of 'filibustering' in order to prevent the arrestees to start another round of protest action as soon as they are released.

About 20 people (including "Captain America" Andy Yung) showed up outside the North Point Police Station to show support for the arrestees. They said that they will not leave until the police release the arrestees.

According to League of Social Democrats chairman Avery Ng's Facebook at 6pm, he is still under detention.

According to information from Leung Kwok-hung to his lawyer at 1am, he had to wait four hours before he could eat the dinner that he requested. Later that night, the League of Social Democrats and Demosisto arrestees decided to apply for haebus corpus.

- (HKG Pao) July 1, 2017.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong, the League of Social Democrats brought out their regular coffin. When they started from their headquarters in Cheung Sha Wan, they encountered citizens who destroyed their coffin. Not to fear, because they have a backup coffin ready to go. When they reached Wanchai, the coffin was desroyed by other citizens.

- Hey, it is wrong to express your political opinion by violent means. As much as I approve of patriotism, I must decline to condone what the anonymous citizens did.

- What is going to happen to the League of Social Democrats now? They have lost their main coffin and their backup coffin as well.

- (SCMP) If you can't toe the red line, Hong Kong is not the place to be. By Michael Chugani. July 5, 2017.

What does the red line of President Xi Jinping really mean? It means Hong Kong is being inexorably drawn into the mainland. You can fear this as being sucked into a black hole, or you can extol it as a merging with the worlds second largest economy. Whichever way you see it, you cant stop it. The mainland magnet is already in place.

If you have no problem with Hong Kong being harnessed ever tighter to an economic superpower ruled by a communist regime, then stay and reap the benefits Chinas growing clout offers. If you are spooked by Hong Kong morphing into something that resembles a mainland city, then consider other pastures.

If youre among those who think two systems was intended as a counterweight to one country, you need to digest more thoroughly Xis likening of one country as a tree that can only defend sovereignty if it has deep roots. Take that to mean two systems is an offshoot, not a bulwark against Beijing.

Those clinging to the belief democracy as defined by the opposition is still doable, Xis red line signals its time you stopped deluding yourself. He minced no words in warning that anyone who tries to undermine Chinas security, uses Hong Kong to sabotage the country or challenges Beijings power crosses a red line.

That in effect means you can kiss so-called true democracy goodbye. Why do you think even the mass Occupy protest didnt sway Beijing from insisting it vets chief executive candidates? Beijing will never shed its suspicion that a freely elected chief executive could challenge central government power or let Hong Kong be a base to undermine the country, the very actions that cross the red line.

Beijing will allow one person, one vote to elect the chief executive, as stated in the Basic Law, but it will be democracy with Chinese characteristics. Start getting used to it. Those who cant accept this reality warn we must never allow Hong Kong to become just another Chinese city.

But Hong Kong is already becoming just another Chinese city in every way other than our financial, legal and political systems. Putonghua has almost drowned out Cantonese. Isnt that all you heard during Xis three-day visit? Mainland tycoons are snapping up land, prime offices and residential property.

My new landlord is a mainlander. Now, if that alone isnt indicative of what lies ahead, I dont know what is.

(SCMP) July 1, 2017.

The July 1 anti-government march on Saturday saw its size shrink by almost half to a two-year low of about 60,000, with organisers blaming the low turnout on perceived aggressive tactics by police towards protesters in recent years and heavy rain. Researchers from the University of Hong Kong public opinion programme said about 27,000 to 35,000 people took part.

The Civil Human Rights Front, an umbrella group of some 50 pro-democracy organisations, conceded the turnout was low, but its convenor, Au Nok-hin, maintained it was still a good show.

In recent years, police have taken a more hostile attitude towards protesters and used pepper spray more often than in the past. We should actually praise those who turned up this year for their courage, Au said.

The march started some two hours after President Xi Jinping left the city after concluding his three-day visit to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kongs return to Chinese rule. It kicked off in high spirits as people braved the sweltering heat to protest against what they called Beijings encroachment on the citys autonomy.

Loud chanting filled the air as politicians and protesters, old and young alike, poured out of Victoria Park into cordoned-off streets lined by police officers. They ended at the Tamar government headquarters complex about 21 /2 kilometres away. But the weather turned bad later in the afternoon, forcing the organiser to drop a planned public rally outside the headquarters. Rain-soaked marchers dispersed quickly after arriving at the end point.

The front set the key theme for the march as Reclaim Hong Kong, Democratic Self-determination, saying Hong Kong people, not Beijing, should have the final say over local affairs. Some protesters also called for universal suffrage and the release of Liu Xiaobo. The dissident, who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work promoting political reform in China, was granted parole recently to be treated for late-stage liver cancer.

Among those leading the march was Lam Wing-kee, one of the five at the centre of the missing bookseller saga that came to light in late 2015. Lam said the citys autonomy had worsened since the handover. Activists from a pro-British group, the Hong Kong-United Kingdom Reunification Campaign, accused Beijing of breaching the Sino-British Joint Declaration and urged London to take the city back.

Saturdays march was noisy but largely peaceful. However, some protesters traded jeers and verbal abuse with pro-Beijing activists who were staging celebratory events along the route. Police quickly stepped in and separated them.

Internet comments:

- The Civil Human Rights Front claimed 60,000+ marchers. The police said 14,500 was the crowd size at its peak. Which is closer to the truth? The Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme estimated 27,000 to 35,000, but their reputation is tainted by close relationship to the pro-democracy movement. The independent estimates come of 16,000 from the team of Professor Paul Yip Siu-fai of the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, Hong Kong University. That number is consistent with the police estimates of 14,500 after accounting for people who joined late or left early.

- There is Chinese saying about the conditions for victory: "天時地利人和" (the weather, the terrain and the people). It rained on the afternoon of July 1st, so the Civil Human Rights Front had the weather against them. The main soccer fields in the Victoria Park were taken over by a science/technology exposition, so the Civic Human Rights Front lost what they considered to be their home field. Finally, the themes of the march did not resonate with the people.

- (HKG Pao) The Civil Human Rights Front reported 60,000 marchers compared to the police estimate of 14,500 at the peak. Before the march, the Civil Human Rights Front tried to pump up the passions by saying how bad CY Leung's government has been; how the police are suppressing with the march; how Beijing is suppressing freedom; how Liu Xiaobo is being treated inhumanely; etc. But this is where it got them. By comparison, 260,000 persons watched the fireworks show in Victoria Harbour later that night. Such is public opinion.

- Higher numbers for the July 1st march means wider social rifts. But the pan-democrats regard the number as a barometer of public support for them, and therefore they do everything possible to encourage people to come. So this is a group of people who wants Hong Kong to suffer maximally because they think that this will translate into election votes for them. Do you think such people really love Hong Kong?

- The real number is not the number of marchers, but the amount of donations raised.

(Hong Kong Free Press) July 3, 2017.

Hongkongers have raised HK$540,000 for activists facing prosecution for taking part in the 2014 Occupy movement during this years July 1 democracy march. The Justice Defence Fund attracted the largest amount of donations among all groups who participated in the march. It was originally set up to raise money for the legal fees of lawmakers Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu, who are facing a government judicial review to disqualify them from their seats. But last month, the Fund announced it had raised enough for the four legislators and would use any additional funds to support Occupy activists facing prosecution. The Democratic Party and the Labour Party also pledged to donate all the money they raised on Saturday minus expenses to the fund, reported Apple Daily.

Yet most pro-democracy parties saw a decline in donations compared to last years march. The turnout this year was also much smaller 60,000 people compared with 110,000 in 2016. The Civic Party saw the largest drop in donations, raising only HK$260,000 compared to last years HK$441,000.

One exception was the League of Social Democrats, which was heavily involved in protests as Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Hong Kong this week. On the morning of July 1, members Avery Ng and Figo Chan claimed they were assaulted by officers after being taken into a police van. They were attempting to stage a protest near the inauguration ceremony of Chief Executive Carrie Lam. The League of Social Democrats raised HK$88,000 more this year than in did in 2016.

- (HKG Pao) League of Social Democrats legislator Leung "Long Hair" Kwok-hung screamed through a megaphone: "I am 'Long Hair.' I want money. I need money." Why? According to party chairman Avery Ng, the party needs to pay legal fees. "If you don't want Long Hair to go to jail, you must donate money."  He added: "Even the judicial reviews filed by the League of Social Democrats are meant to serve the people."

- (HKG Pao) July 3, 2017. Before the event, the Youngspiration duo Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching were interviewed about their plans for July 1st. Leung said: "The actual plan is being considered. That is all I can say." He added: "I cannot tell you" because "it is over as soon as I say it." He said that he wants to send a message to either Hong Kong and/or Xi Jinping. Meanwhile Yau Wai-ching only said: "I'll keep it secret."

So what earth-shaking action will they take? I checked the news carefully and all I found was that the two were present at the march, not to march but to observe how other parties were raising money.

They talk big but they do little. That has been their modus operandi for so long.

(Hong Kong Free Press) June 22, 2017.

Thousands have signed an online petition opposing the rumoured appointment of staunchly pro-Beijing teacher Choi Yuk-lin as Hong Kongs next undersecretary for education.

Choi is a vice-chairperson of pro-Beijing industry group Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers (HKFEW), and is the headmaster of the Siu Sai Wan campus of Fukien Secondary School, which was a pro-Communist Party institution during the colonial period. She ran and lost against pro-democracy candidate Ip Kin-yuen for the education sector seat in last Septembers Legislative Council elections.

But on Wednesday, the pro-Beijing Sing Tao Daily carried a report claiming that she would be appointed as undersecretary for education, serving under incoming education chief Kevin Yeung Yun-hung. The report caused alarm among pro-democracy educators, who set up an online petition against her rumoured appointment, citing her support for the governments controversial national education initiative.

In 2012, the HKFEWs National Education Services Centre published the shocking China Model curriculum, which brainwashes children in the name of national education, the petition read. If the vice-chairperson of a red association controls the development of Hong Kongs education policy, the public will completely lose trust in the governments policy. Choi lost in the 2016 Legislative Council education sector elections with less than 30 per cent of the vote, it added. This shows her abilities and political opinions are not supported by the majority of the education sector.

On Wednesday, incumbent legislator Ip said that if Choi were to be appointed into government, it would be a slap on the face of voters.

As of 9am on Thursday, over 3,400 had signed the petition including 1,200 in the education sector and 2,200 members of the public.

(Hong Kong Free Press) July 25, 2017.

Advocacy groups have said they will organise street stands opposing the potential appointment of a pro-Beijing school principal as the number two official of the Education Bureau.

Choi Yuk-lin, of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers (HKFEW), is rumoured to be a candidate for the position of undersecretary for education. Choi is the principal of the Fukien Secondary School (Siu Sai Wan).

But education advocacy groups have expressed concerns that if Choi is appointed, she may push for more widespread use of Mandarin, and a return of the ill-fated national education curriculum. The controversial curriculum failed to be established as a stand-alone subject in 2012 after mass protests.

Appointments of undersecretaries are expected to be announced by early August. The advocacy groups will launch street stands on the Wan Chai MTR station footbridge on Tuesday and visit the office of the HKFEW on Wednesday to request a direct conversation with Choi.

Choi was a senior curriculum development officer of the Bureau between 2006 and 2013.

According to the group Societas Linguistica hongkongensis, which supports the use of Cantonese as teaching medium, more than 70 per cent of primary schools have classes that use Mandarin as a teaching medium.

Chan Lok-hang, convener of the group, said Choi could be a major driving force for using Mandarin to teach the subject of Chinese. He said the projects and resources provided by the bureau during her tenure, such as Language Support Services for Primary Schools, all contain more Mandarin elements.

Chan added that after Choi left the bureau, phrases about teaching Chinese in Mandarin disappeared from documents, indirectly showing that she could be responsible.

Chan also said an article on the bureaus website in January 2014 said Cantonese is a Chinese dialect which is not the official language, when Choi was responsible for the Chinese portion of the Bureaus Language Learning Support Section.

Choi very much despises Cantonese, he said. The article created a public relations disaster for the bureau, and the bureaus officials had to tackle the issues created by her. I believe the bureau will not welcome her return as the undersecretary.

Demosisto party secretary-general Joshua Wong said the HKFEW was the organisation behind the national education curriculum in 2012.

The government provided over HK$10 million in funds to the HKFEW to set up the National Education Services Centre, which published a controversial teaching material handbook named The China Model, one of the items that sparked concerns over national education curriculum and the mass protests that came after. The handbook described the Chinese Communist Party as a progressive, selfless and united ruling group.

Wong said the funding procedures of the bureau were often a black box process and the HKFEW often benefitted from it.

If Choi is appointed will it make the black box process even worse? We are very concerned, he said. We are very worried that the national education curriculum, which failed five years ago, will be installed in different subjects.

He also said that Choi often used very biased words against students: She said students who joined the Umbrella Movement formed a democractic hegemony through a rushed and selfish political struggle I believe Education Bureau officials or even Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung had never used such biased words.

Prince Wong of student concern group The Edu Lab said she was concerned about potential white terror the banning of political discussions in schools if Choi is appointed.

It is a double standard that Choi wore [patriotic] red scarfs when attending flag raising ceremonies, but she would not allow students to discuss politics, she said.

Choi lost the education sector seat during the 2016 Legislative Council election to incumbent pro-democracy lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen.

Choi has neither confirmed or denied her potential appointment.

Internet comments:

- (YouTube) The signature campaign!

0:06 -- Name? Andy Lau. Profession? Singer? I oppose Choi Yuk-kin for undersecretary for education. We have received your response.

0:16 -- Name? Chan Ho-nam (note: the main character in the Teddy Boys movie series and played by actor Elkin Cheng). Profession? Triad gang member. I oppose Choi Yuk-kin for undersecretary for education. We have received your response.

0:24 -- Name? Alipay (note: the Alibaba pay system in China).

0:31 -- Name? Letitia Lee (note: famous pro-establishment activist). Profession: Education

0:34 -- Name? Poon Fung (note: minor character in the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms). Profession: General.

0:45 -- Name? Choi Yuk-lin. Profession: Undersecretary.

0:51 -- Name? How-can-you-produce-such-a-list? Profession: Who-is-going-to-believe-this? I oppose Choi Yuk-kin for undersecretary for education. We have received your response.

- (Apple Daily) By Eva Chan, senior lecturer, School of Journalism and Communication, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Everybody thinks that any human being would be better as the Secretary of Education than the incumbent. But even as we want to set off firecrackers to celebrate the send-off of Secretary of Education Eddie Ng, the news is that Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers vice-chairperson Choi Yuk-lin is going to become the next undersecretary for education. If so, then her destructive is going to orders of magnitude greater than the mediocre and incompetent Mr. Ng who is hogging that post without ever doing anything. Carrie Lam said that her cabinet contains no surprises or shocks, but it seems that the best is yet to come.

Carrie Lam won the Chief Executive despite her low popularity. We only know that she owes a lot to Sai Wan (=China Liaison Office). We should be prepared that Sai Wan will want Lam to appoint people who are preferred by Beijing to her team. We are psychologically prepared to see pro-establishment characters in the cabinet.

But when the news of Choi Yuk-lin's appointment came out, almost 2,000 school principals, trustees and teachers signed a petition of opposition, including the school principle who are friendly to the Education Department and supportive of BCA. This showed that many people are upset.

What kind of organization is the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers? Five years ago, the government proposed that national education be instituted as an independent subject. The National Education Service Centre of Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers produced a "Special handbook the China model" to praise the Chinese Communists as "progressive, selfless and unifying ruling party" whereas the United States is racked by "political infighting and mass suffering." Thus began the anti-National Education campaign.

At the time, Carrie Lam had just been appointed as Chief Secretary. She could not have forgotten the opposition to National Education. Right now Carrie Lam is talking about national education beginning in kindergarten. My understanding is that she meant to teach kindergarten children that we are Chinese people, the origins of the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival, etc. But if the highly controversial Principal Choi is appointed as undersecretary for education, that will cause "strong" anxiety.

There are enough controversies in the education sector already. I ask Carrie Lam to reconsider and not create a unnecessary storm.

- Ip Kin-yuen said that Choi Yuk-lin lost to him in the legislative council elections in the education sector by 45,984 (71.7%) to 18,158 (28.3%). Ip said that this shows that Choi is highly unpopular. This is out of 88,964 registered election.

Let us accept that as true.

As of 9am on Thursday, over 3,400 had signed the petition including 1,200 in the education sector and 2,200 members of the public.

Let us accept that these are authentic signatures from real persons.

By my count, 2.4% of the education sector and and 0.03% of the public oppose Choi Yuk-lin's appointment.

That only proves that Choi has no meaningful opposition.

- (HKG Pao) June 27, 2017.

Eva Chan said that, five years ago, the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers praised the Chinese Communists as "progressive, selfless and unifying ruling party" whereas the United States is racked by "political infighting and mass suffering."

I thank Eva Chan for bringing this back up. Five years ago, she thought that this was deplorable. But today, you cannot get around the fact that all that turned out to be true.

Five years later today, the poverty-reduction campaign has now moved on to the special hardship cases; One Belt One Road has converted cynics into believers through the construction of infrastructure in many countries; the anti-corruption campaign is no show, and it even has an educational television drama <The Name of the People>. Over these five  years, the "progressive, selfless and unifying ruling party" has produced an impressive report card.

Meanwhile in the United States, the presidential election showed us what "political infighting and mass suffering" are. In the primary elections, Hillary Clinton was smeared and damaged by party rivals, so that even members of the Democratic Party felt that the Republican Party would be a better choice. In the presidential election, the shamelessness and ignorance in the debates was appalling. And now more than 20 million people will be losing their healthcare insurance when Trumpcare replaces Obamacare.

- (HKG Pao) July 13, 2017.

On one side, HKG Pao posted <James To threaten not to hire Choi Yuk-lin? Click LIKE to support Carrie Lam to stand firm> on July 8. On the other side, Apple Daily posted <Carrie Lam thinks that there are too few people? More than 10,000 people sign to oppose the leftist school principal joining the Education Department>. So far, the HKG Pao has garnered 10,826 LIKE's versus Apple Daily's 1,555.

Apple Daily has 2.11 million LIKE's for their Facebook, compared to only  87,000 for HKG Pao. So isn't it clear what the public thinks?

- (SCMP) Red scare campaign by the pan-dems a low blow. By Alex Lo. July 12, 2017.

The new bureau secretaries may be lacklustre and uninspiring, but at least their appointments have avoided controversies. Oddly, the hiring of their deputies has proved far trickier, as the opposition has started to pick fights. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngors political honeymoon may already be over.

Pan-democrats have gone after veteran educator Christine Choi Yuk-lin for her ties to pro-China education NGOs after reports she is being considered for a senior post at the Education Bureau. Now they have expanded their red scare campaign to target Simon Lee Hoey, a rising star among the local political elite.

The knives are out as rumours circulate that Lee is being considered for the post of deputy home affairs secretary. He is currently deputy executive director of Our Hong Kong Foundation, the think tank that was the brainchild of former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa.

Pan-democrats such as Democratic Party legislator Lam Cheuk-ting have accused Lee of being a leftist based on his publications and work experience. Lee does write a lot because he is, well, a scholar. He has a PhD in law from Tsinghua University, and is a specialist in constitutional and international law. He also has advanced degrees from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and University of London, and is an adviser at Harvard Law School and a visiting fellow at the University of Hong Kongs law school.

His recent publications, which some find questionable, have defended the current chief executive election method, the governments failed electoral reform package in 2015 and Deng Xiaopings conception of the one country two systems governing principle for Hong Kong. His views may be disagreeable to pan-democrats, but they are fairly mainstream.

Lam, the legislator, questions if he is not a closet member of the Chinese Communist Party because he had worked as an assistant to a county magistrate in Guizhou.

Is Lee red? Who knows? The political backgrounds of Tsang Tak-sing, the former home affairs secretary, and his brother Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, the former Legislative Council president, were redder than red. One turned out to be a competent official and the other is one of the few public figures respected by people on both sides of the political fence. Ex-chief executive Leung Chun-ying has been accused of being a Communist Party member.

Lee may or may not make a good political appointee. But are we disqualifying him just because of his published views? Maybe the pan-dems are right Hong Kong isnt free anymore.

- (SilentMajorityHK) By Chris Wat Wing-yin. July 11, 2017.

What is the first thing that you look at when you hire? The face? The body? The manner of speech? The attitude? ... None of the above. You look at the resum!

So here is the perfect resum: Male, born in Hong Kong, Baptist University Bachelor of Arts, Hong Kong University Bachelor of Laws, Chinese University of Hong Kong Master in Government and Public Administration, University of London School of Oriental and Asian Studies Master in Politics and International Studies, Tsinghua University Doctorate in Law. In 2008, he received a special scholarship at Tsinghua University to concentrate on studying the Hong Kong Basic Law. He served four years as the assistant to the country chief in Xifeng county, Guizhou province, China. He returned to Hong Kong and was hired as the Chief Executive of Strategic Management the China Resources Group. He is now serving as the Vice-president of the Our Hong Kong Foundation.

The man is Simon Lee Hoey. His resum is impeccable. His government experience in China is exceptional because very few Hongkongers can say that they have done it.

But when the word came out that Simon Lee Hoey is being considered as a deputy department head in the Carrie Lam administration, Democratic Party legislator Lam Cheuk-ting became hopping mad and said: "There is nothing distinguished about Simon Lee Hoey. He is incapable to handling the job."

I began to wonder what is so exception about Lam Cheuk-ting. His resum is brief: Bachelor degree in Government and Public Administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Democratic Party research director and chief executive; Independent Commission Against Corruption investigation director. He had so little to say for himself that he even included his height (6'4") on his resum. If that is Lam's sole exceptional quality to become legislator, then surely Simon Lee Hoey is more than qualified to become a deputy department head.

Q1. Are you satisfied with the implementation of One County Two Systems/Hong Kong Ruled By Hongkongers/High Degree of Autonomy in Hong Kong since the handover?
27%: Very satisfied
18%: Somewhat satisfied
17%: Half-half
14%: Somewhat dissatisfied
21%: Totally dissatisfied
3%: Hard to say/no opinion

Q2. Overall, how you satisfied with the quality of life since the handover?
16%: Very satisfied
22%: Somewhat satisfied
27%: Half-half
18%: Somewhat dissatisfied
17%: Totally dissatisfied
1%: Hard to say/no opinion

Q3. Over all, are you satisfied with your personal economic situation since the handover?
13%: Very satisfied
18%: Somewhat satisfied
35%: Half-half
18%: Somewhat dissatisfied
14%: Totally dissatisfied
2%: Hard to say/no opinion

Q4. Are you satisfied with the overall development of Hong Kong since the handover?
10%: Very satisfied
17%: Somewhat satisfied
30%: Half-half
23%: Somewhat dissatisfied
18%: Totally dissatisfied
2%: Hard to say/no opinion

Q5. Do you think Hong Kong has an important role in China's state development strategy?
25%: Very important
27%: Somewhat important
25%: Half-half
11%: Somewhat unimportant
7%: Totally unimportant
5%: Hard to say/no opinion

Q6. Do you think that the Central People's Government value the overall development of Hong Kong?
28%: Value a lot
24%: Value somewhat
20%: Half-half
13%: Not value too much
11%: Totally no value
4%: Hard to say/no opinion

Q7. How much confidence do you have in Hong Kong's overall development over the next five years?
11%: Very confident
15%: Somewhat confident
29%: Half-half
21%: Not much confidence
21%: No confidence
2%: Hard to say/no opinion

Q8. How much confidence you have in China's overall development over the next five years?
24%: Very confident
25%: Somewhat confident
23%: Half-half
11%: Not much confidence
13%: No confidence
5%: Hard to say/no opinion

Q9. Do you think that Hong Kong's future 50 years after the handover should be One Country One System, One Country Two Systems or self-determination/independence?
17%: One Country One System
63%: One Country Two Systems
9%: Self-determination/independence
4%: Other
6% Hard to say/no opinion

(SCMP) Celebrate the handover anniversary? Hongkongers should ask if were better off now than 20 years ago. By Michael Chugani. June 27, 2017.

To celebrate or not to celebrate? Are you among the Hongkongers asking themselves this question as we mark the 20th anniversary of the citys return to Chinese rule? If yes, why? Isnt reuniting with the motherland a cause for celebration?

Yet here we are, 20 years after the colonisers left, grappling with a question that in itself suggests something is terribly wrong.

Before you decide whether or not to celebrate, ask yourself whether Hong Kong is better or worse off than it was 20 years ago. Is it better to have a governor imposed on us by the British monarchy or a chief executive elected through an imperfect democratic system?

Is it better to have a cabinet filled by bosses of British business houses and a British garrison commander or one that is top-heavy with the chief executives allies? Is it better to have a legislature of British-appointed yes-men or one that is partially directly elected and partially indirectly elected in a process favouring Beijing?

Is it better to be ruled by colonisers or communist countrymen of your own kind? Now thats the crunch question. Depending on how you answer it, the other answers will automatically fall in place. Thats because the fault line that splits our city is ideological, not political.

We say we want so-called true democracy but the truth is many Hongkongers dont mind being ruled by democratic colonisers who gave us no democracy rather than by communists who give us some democracy.

The ideological split runs so deep that national education is deemed brainwashing but talk of independence is touted as academic freedom. No one thinks twice about Queen Victorias statue in Victoria Park, but try erecting one of Deng Xiaoping, the architect of one country, two systems. It would be defaced within a day.

Such ideological hostility wont change even if Beijing allows us full democracy. Many Hong Kong millennials find the mainlands restrictive regime too alien. As for the post-millennials, forget about it. They dont even consider themselves Chinese.

This is the Hong Kong that awaits President Xi Jinping 20 years after reunification. Patriots will celebrate in one part of Victoria Park; protesters will begin a street march in another. That this hallmark of freedom has survived 20 years of mainland rule says a lot.

To celebrate or not is a personal choice, but it is the duty of Hongkongers to make sure we give Xi the impression we are a peaceful and civilised society.

(The Stand News)

On 1 July twenty years ago, the advent of the transfer of sovereignty meant the fall of Hong Kong once again. In the 1970s, we were already deprived of our right to self-determination. Once China entered the United Nations, Hong Kong was removed from the list of Colonial Territories. Conniving in the process, Britain stood by. China and Britain then started their negotiations on Hong Kongs future, and Hong Kong people were barred from participating throughout the course. When the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed and the sovereignty of Hong Kong was decided to be transferred to China, anxiety spread through society, but our fate had been resolved, and we were left with no choice but accepting the reality. Hong Kong people then put their faith in the Basic Law to freeze Hong Kong for fifty years, keeping the freedom, rule of law and systems at that time intact. Yet, falling to the scourge of the Chinese rule for twenty years, we must now realize the fact the Basic Law in no way changes the reality that Hong Kong is now a colony of China.

For twenty years, China has been assimilating Hong Kong in an attempt to denigrate Hong Kong as just another city of China and a tool to the communist regime. The government of Hong Kong has never been responsible to Hong Kong people, as the head of the government, be it the Governor or the Chief Executive, is accountable only to the suzerain. The One-way Permit scheme has become the main channel for Chinese to settle down in Hong Kong, and yet, Hong Kong people are denied from our right to determine on the number, vetting and approval on the application. We are thus forced to experience such population transfer. Our Hong Kong identity is perpetually suppressed under the attempts to introduce national education to indoctrinate Chinese identity and Putonghua as the medium of instruction to debase Cantonese that is our mother tongue. Chinese capital are now flagrantly invading Hong Kong and making bullish bids of our land, creating intricate structures with interests in different sectors. While we are suffering from such re-colonisation, the Basic Law and the framework of One Country, Two Systems have never been the bastion protecting us.

If we still cling on to the Basic Law and One Country, Two Systems, we are doomed to self-destruction. As the puppet regime of communist China in Hong Kong condemned One Country, Two Governments as related to advocating independence, it is now clear that anything that may undermine the totalitarian rule of China will be oppressed, and even the Basic Law and One Country, Two Systems cannot be the path to a brighter future. In fact, to blindly put faith in the Basic Law and One Country, Two Systems has no difference from deceiving oneself and wasting ones own precious time to emancipate ourselves from re-colonisation. As 2047 is approaching, we are left with thirty years time, and we have no time to lose. To stoutly resist the Chinese regime, we must not restrain our imagination towards our future within the framework of One Country, Two Systems. Together we shall struggle against the enemy and restore the glory of our Hong Kong.

27 June 2017

City University of Hong Kong Students Union
Hang Seng Management College Students' Union
Hong Kong Baptist University Students Union
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Students Union
Lingnan University Students Union
Student Union of Chu Hai College of Higher Education
Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong Students Union
The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Students' Union
The Education University of Hong Kong Students Union
The Hong Kong University Students Union
The Open University of Hong Kong Students Union
The Student Union of Hong Kong Shue Yan University
The Student Union of The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Federation of Students

- They have issued a joint statement and then will run a discussion forum or two to discuss the very complex issues. Then they will announce that they have done their bit on valiant resistance of the totalitarian colonialists from China.

Well, they are just a bunch of lazy-thinking, lazy-acting bums. The Chinese Communist Party just love to see these big-talking cowardly university students.

- If we have to count on these fools to take back Hong Kong, we are screwed!

- Take back Hong Kong? They can't even take back their own respective universities from the councils appointed by the Chief Executive?

(Hong Kong Free Press) June 28, 2017.

The student unions of 12 Hong Kong universities and tertiary institutions will not join this years July 1 democracy march, the unions announced in a joint statement on Tuesday. Instead, they will hold a discussion forum featuring academics and localist figures on the 20th anniversary of the citys transfer of sovereignty.

(Hong Kong Free Press) June 22, 2017.

A deputy director of Beijings official body in Hong Kong has visited the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) and redevelopment project sites in the China Liaison Offices latest attempts at community outreach.

The office said in a press release that Tan Tieniu visited the URA on Tuesday upon the authoritys invitation. Tan spoke with the URAs top-level management officials, including chairman Victor So Hing-woh and managing director Wai Chi-sing. The release said Tan visited the project site of the Peel Street/Graham Street redevelopment scheme in order to learn about revitalisation projects and urban redevelopment in Hong Kong. [Tan] expressed appreciation and approval towards the URAs advanced redevelopment ideas and its efforts to overcome difficulties, and proposed suggestions on using technology better in order to improve the management of redevelopment and increase exchange and cooperation with the mainland, it read.

The Liaison Office has increased attempts at community outreach in the past few months, a contrast to its usual practice of having officials attend events as ceremonial guests. Tan visited the St. Pauls Convent School and the Diocesan Boys School both highly respected local schools in April and May respectively. He also visited the Po Leung Kuk and the pro-Beijing New Territories School Heads Association in March, in addition to other visits.

But Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung of the Hong Kong Island constituency has criticised the URAs invitation to Tan as destroying the One Country, Two Systems principle.  What do [the URAs projects] have to do with Sai Wan? he said during a protest at URA headquarters on Thursday.

Internet comments:

- (HKG Pao) When The Dove Encountered the Ox. By Chris Wat Wing-yin (06/25/2017)

When a dove runs into an ox, the laws of nature say that the dove will bounce off, groan and fly off. After all, the ox is a monstrous animal compared to the dove.

In Hong Kong, the laws of nature work in reverse. When the dove runs into the ox, it will bark, bare fangs and brandish claws. This is a true story that just happaned ...

Recently, Democratic Party (which has a dove as its party icon) legislator Hui Chi-fung lambasted China Liaison Office deputy director Tan Tieniu (=literally, Iron Ox) for visiting a redevelopment project in Central district. Hui said: "What business is Central district to Sai Wan (=location of the China Liaison Office)?"

The reason why the Doves dare to interfere with the Iron Ox is because they are used to being rude and oblivious of protocol and position. Thus, they believe that a local government can order the Central Government, that One Country Two Systems means that the Hong Kong systems rules over all else and even that Hong Kong is a sovereign country in its own right.

Hui Chi-hung said that when Tan Tieniu visited the Peel Street/Graham Street redevelopment scheme, he is meddling with internal Hong Kong affairs that are forbidden under the Basic Law and destroying One Country Two Systems.

If a short walking tour in a marketplace can destroy One Country Two Systems, then Hui Chi-fung's pals linking up with pro-Taiwan independence elements to interfere with Hong Kong affairs should be counted as blowing up One Country Two Systems with a nuclear-tipped missile?

What is the full title of the China Liaison Office? It is "The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region." That is to say, it is the representative of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong. But you agree with me that Hong Kong is a small region under the Central People's Government, then why can't representatives of the Central People's Government walk around the place and look around? Does the Basic Law stipulate that the "Sai Wan" people must not step out of Sai Wan?

The opposition often say that Xi Jinping is failing to listen to the voices of the people of Hong Kong. So do you want the representatives of Xi Jining to stay household in Sai Wan all the time? If one of them should go talk to a butcher in the Central market, you scream that this is the destruction of One Country Two Systems. Then how is Sai Wan (as the representative of the Central People's Government) supposed to listen to public opinion?

Tan Tieniu became deputy director last year. As a newcomer, shouldn't he come out and look around at his new environment? But Hui Chi-fung is saying that his visit has caused "禮崩樂壞" (rituals being destroyed, music being ruined). What rituals are being destroyed as a result? Which music is being ruined? How exactly has Tan meddled in any Hong Kong affairs.

Actually, I have always thought that the People's Liberation Army should not be confined to barracks in Hong Kong. They are here to defend their own national territory but they are forced to hide in their barracks as if they are lepers. Why? Because some people in Hong Kong are afraid of seeing the People's Liberation Army. Well, now the opposition want the representatives of the Central People's Government be confined to their office in Sai Wan. It is even a crime for them to go out and take a look around. Since when have the people of Hong Kong become so narrow-minded, cruel and intolerant.

When China can put up with the abrasive Hong Kong, but Central has to closed to people from "Sai Wan." Who do you think is more authoritarian?

- "禮崩樂壞" (rituals being destroyed, music being ruined)? Is Hui Chi-fung talking about Occupy Central and the Mong Kok riot?

- (SCMP) June 25, 2017.

President Xi Jinping will be in Hong Kong from Thursday to Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary of the citys handover from British to Chinese rule, swear in a new administration, and inspect the city, state media Xinhua announced.

Xi has a packed itinerary that includes overseeing the swearing-in of the new chief executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, and her cabinet on July 1. Before flying out later that day, he is expected to visit one of the citys two major controversy-plagued infrastructure project sites either the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge or the high-speed rail link to Guangzhou.

According to the itinerary the president and his wife will land at Hong Kong International Airport on Thursday. He is scheduled to attend a banquet that evening with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying at Government House. On Friday, he will inspect the local garrison of the Peoples Liberation Army, before attending functions at the convention centre in Wan Chai.

- Xi Jinping is leading the way to destroy One Country Two Systems. Under Article 22 of the Hong Kong Basic Law,

No department of the Central People's Government and no province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government may interfere in the affairs which the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region administers on its own in accordance with this Law.

Everything in Xi Jinping's itinerary equals interference in Hong Kong affairs. Firstly, the swearing-in of the new chief executive and the cabinet is strictly local. Secondly, the local garrison of the People's Liberation Army is located on lands that are expropriated from the people of Hong Kong by the original colonialists (United Kingdom) and handed over the neo-colonialists (China). Thirdly, the infrastructure projects merely serve to make it easier for mainlanders to move to Hong Kong.

Xi Jinping should not be allowed into Hong Kong. His arrival equals the death of One Country Two Systems.

- Not to fear, because the brave people of Hong Kong will valiantly resist the arrival of Xi Jinping. Led by our great leaders Avery Ng, Raphael Wong, Ray Wong, Edward Leung, Chan Ho-tin, Tommy Cheung, Wong Yeung-tat, Cheng Chung-tai, Joshua Wong and Nathan Law, we will use a hail of bricks to send Xi Jinping fleeing back to mainland China with his tail between his legs.

- This lot? They will be throwing bricks at each other first ...

- As for a violent reception, that would be the trifecta (see New York Times December 7, 2001) for Xi Jinping because he will be handed the justification to:

(1) Enact national security laws in Hong Kong to criminalize Hong Kong self-determination/independence;

(2) Militarize Hong Kong to accommodate a submarine base in Hei Ling Chau island for nuclear-powered submarines; a military airbase for fighter jets/bombers in the land formerly occupied by the Lantau South Country Park; a missile base for the PLA Rocket Force in a militarized North East New Territories under martial law so that strategic and tactical missiles can reach Taiwan and the sea lanes in minutes; etc.

(3) Raise Hong Kong taxes to pay for these People Liberation Army personnel and facilities in Hong Kong.

- (SCMP) June 24, 2017.

The Peoples Liberation Army is to make its most visible appearance in Hong Kong in 20 years, marking the handover anniversary with an unprecedented port call by its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, sources told the South China Morning

Allowing Hong Kong people to see how the Chinese military has developed is a way to boost patriotism,military expert Zhou Chenming said. The Liaoning carrier is a calling card for Chinas military, and visiting Hong Kong is a rare chance to show its strength and to show confidence to the outside world, Zhou said.

Collin Koh, a maritime expert from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapores Nanyang Technological University, echoed that view, adding that the visit would be part of efforts by the PLAs Hong Kong garrison to win hearts and minds, and raise awareness and support for the military.

- The presence of the Liaoning is clearly a military threat to the Hong Kong Nation. In order to defend freedom and democracy in Hong Kong, the United States must send the two Nimitz class supercarriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan to Hong Kong to counteract this threat. Freedom and democracy depends on it.

- Spare me with this "darkest day in the history of Hong Kong" talk. The People's Liberation Army has been in Hong Kong since 1997. It is just that they are ordered to maintain a low profile. Each PLA soldier is posted to Hong Kong on a four-year rotation, during which they are practically confined to barracks. Their term here is like jail time. They are not allowed like the British soldiers to have their drunken bouts in the city.

- The difference is clear. The British soldiers have freedom and democracy, which means that they can go among the civilian populations, get mightily drunk, have fights with the locals and fuck the local girls who like foreign dicks more than local dicks. Meanwhile, the Chinese soldiers have no freedom and on democracy, so they stay in their barracks, do push-ups and take cold showers.

- Well, if the American supercarriers come, they will have to wait outside of Hong Kong waters because ...

(SCMP) April 29, 2016.

Beijing denied a US aircraft carrier permission to make a port call in Hong Kong, a US consulate official says, a rejection that comes amid escalating tensions in the South China Sea.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry told the US on Thursday night the visit by the USS John C. Stennis would not be allowed, said the official, who requested anonymity.

[The ministry] needs to approve every ship coming into Hong Kong. [They] said no to the carrier, the official said, adding the reason for the denial was not clear.

In a written reply to the South China Morning Posts inquiry, the ministry said on Friday night that port calls made by US warships and military aircraft were examined on a case by case basis in accordance with sovereignty principles and specific circumstances.

Its not the first time China has turned down port calls by US warships. During the Thanksgiving holidays in 2007, Beijing rejected the USS Kitty Hawks visit to Hong Kong after Washington announced an advanced missile deal with Taiwan and US President George W. Bush met the Dalai Lama.

The consulate said it had originally arranged public tours aboard the Stennis for next Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Cancellation notices had been sent out to invitees, the consulate official said.

- (Apple Daily) June 16, 2017. At 6am on July 26, 2017, Hong Kong Demosisto members (including Joshua Wong, Derek Lam, Agnes Chow), People Power member Tam Tak-chi and League of Social Democrats members showed up at Golden Bauhinia Square in Wanchi and wrapped the Bauhinia statue with several layers of black cloth. Afterwards the demonstrators chanted slogans. The police came and removed the black cloth. The demonstrators dispersed.

- This is yet another triumph for the People of the Hong Kong Nation. Their valiant resistance effort has once again struck fear in the hearts of the Chinese Communists.

- How did Apple Daily know to be present at this non-residential location at the hour of 6am? Because this reporting has been outsourced to Demosisto, People Power and League of Social Democrats. More reporting is expecting from this collection of groups which will stage the news and make exclusive reports to Apple Daily.

- The Hong Kong Police proved to be unable to protect the Golden Bauhinia statue. Xi Jinping should reconsider whether Hong Kong is too dangerous for him to visit.

- In addition to the world-leading innovation of the concept of "relay hunger strike," they have now introduced the "pre-demonstration" -- a demonstration held before the arrival of the target.

- Actually, they don't care whether Xi Jinping is present or not. They only want to be in the news so that people will remember to donate more money more frequently to them at the July 1st demonstration march.

- The Hong Kong soccer team will be playing China on July 1st. Our Hong Kong soccer team showed up this morning 6am at the Hong Kong Stadium. The Chinese team had not arrived in Hong Kong yet. So we took a shot at the empty goal. Score! We lead 1-0!  (Cheers)

- The black cloth is easily removed. Why not something permanent like black paint? Oh, but that would make it criminal damage to property (see CAP 200 Crimes Ordinance) which is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.

- Comments in single phrases:

白痴 - idiot
無聊 - futile
弱智 - feeble-minded
on9 - (fucking) stupid
小學雞 - elementary school child's play
馬騮戲 - circus monkey show
自焚? - no self-immolation?

- (The Guardian) June 28, 2017. Hong Kong's last governor Chris Patten feared Xi Jinping was determined to completely roll back the political freedoms guaranteed to its citizens under the handover accord.  Western democracies now had a duty to support young activists such as Joshua Wong who were fighting to prevent that happening.

- That is right -- the United Kingdom should give 10 million to Joshua Wong to buy black cloth to cover up everything in Hong Kong. That should put a stop to Xi's nefarious plot to turn Hong Kong into a Chinese city.

(Hong Kong Free Press) June 19, 2017.

The pro-independence Hong Kong National Party will hold a vigil at the Tsim Sha Tsui clock tower on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the citys transfer of sovereignty from Britain to China.

Convener Andy Chan Ho-tin says that the party will mourn the 20th anniversary of the fall of Hong Kong, and expects around 300 attendees. On July 1, there will be many activities celebrating the so-called Handover, Chan told reporters on Monday. If we dont come out and express our opinions, the whole world will believe that Hongkongers welcome Chinese rule. We hope to tell the world that Hong Kong is still a colony, he said. Hong Kong is a Chinese colony. Chan added that he hopes to unite the supporters of the various pro-independence and localist groups at the gathering, where participants will be able to reminisce over Hong Kongs glory years prior to 1997.

Chan said on Monday that the proposed vigil on the evening of June 30 will be peaceful, consisting of music, speeches and the broadcasting of video clips. He added that he has been actively contacting the police to apply for a letter of no objection to stage the event. But the response from the police management was quite negative. Even if they stop this event, we will have many ways of expressing our opinions, he said. We will take the situation into account. Even if there is no gathering at that location, we will definitely hold some activities.

(Hong Kong Free Press) June 23, 2017.

The pro-independence Hong Kong National Party has been barred from holding a vigil on the evening of June 30 outside the Tsim Sha Tsui clock tower because of maintenance works, says its convener.

Andy Chan Ho-tin told reporters earlier this week that he wanted to hold the gathering on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the fall of Hong Kong so as to tell the world that residents were not celebrating the transfer of sovereignty to China.

He said that the proposed vigil at the tourist site would be peaceful, and consist of music, speeches and the broadcasting of video clips. He expected 300 to attend.

But in a Friday morning Facebook post, he said that the police had notified him that the Hong Kong Cultural Centre under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department would close the entire area around the clock tower because of maintenance works. He would therefore not be able to hold an assembly at the area.

Theyre not telling us to participate in other celebration events, are they? he added satirically.

A Leisure and Cultural Services Department spokesperson told HKFP that it will conduct maintenance and cleaning works at the plaza outside the Cultural Centre between 9pm on June 30 and 11am on July 1, in order to prepare the venue for the public to watch the fireworks on the Handover anniversary. The plaza has already been leased to another user for an activity during daytime on July 1, he added.

Reference: The Hong Kong National Party (2016/03/28)

Internet comments:

- (Oriental Daily) June 19, 2017.

Our newspaper obtained information today that many of the pro-independence/self-determination organizations in Hong Kong have been meeting secretly with political parties in Taiwan. In particular, the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party is receiving huge sums of money each month from Taiwan politicians. The Hong Kong National Party spokesperson denied that they are receiving money from Taiwan, but he admitted that they have held meetings.

Our newspaper obtained information that the key contact is Taiwan Chiao Tung University associate professor Sun Chi-pen who has been coming to Hong Kong frequently to meet with pro-independence/self-determination advocates, including Andy Chan Ho-tin and Jason Chow HO-fai of the Hong Kong National Party, Ray Wong and Edward Leung of Hong Kong Indigenous, Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Sixtus Leung Chung-hang of Youngspiration, Wan Chin, Cheng Kam-mun and Cheung Chung-tai of Hong Kong Resurgence Order/Civic Passion, and self-determination advocates Nathan Law, Lau Siu-lai and Eddie Chu Hoi-dick. Our source provide us with photos of Sun meeting with Chan Ho-tin, and Sun meeting Wan China.

Our source tell us too that Sun Chi-pen gives Chan Ho-tin HK$50,000 per month to pay for expenses of the Hong Kong National Party and to promote Hong Kong independence. The party receives another $50,000 to $100,000 for holding large rallies. Chan Ho-tin told our newspaper that he meets with Sun Chi-pen each time the latter comes to Hong Kong. However, Chan denies that he gets financial support from Sun.

- (Oriental Daily) June 21, 2017.

Our newspaper received information about the secrets inside the Hong Kong National Party.

The Hong Kong National Party describes itself as a "revolutionary party" and therefore they will not disclose the identities of the members. At the inauguration, they claimed to have about 50 members whose average age is above 20. Based upon public information, some of the members are current and past members of the student union executive committees at Hong Kong University, City University and Baptist University.

Although Chan Ho-tin and Chow Ho-fai are most often seen as the spokespersons of the Hong Kong National Party, there are four "masterminds" behind the scene. The four -- named Chow, Chan, Chan and Cheung -- make the decisions on policies, finance and human resources. Chow and Chan are about 25 years old; they graduated from secondary school and held some freelance part-time jobs, living mostly off their parents; Chan is a Hong Kong University student; Cheung is only 19 years old. The four are not financially independent.

So far, these four have stayed behind the scenes and let Chan Ho-tin and Chow Ho-fai act as puppets in the front stage. By now, the two have achieved a modicum of fame through their public appearances. Some of the 'masterminds' are jealous of them. So they criticize the two for being too cowardly to lead charges at the police and thus losing the support of the more radical pro-independence elements. Meanwhile Chan and Chow are tired of being controlled so tightly, and are contemplating the establishment of their own organization.

The Hong Kong National Party had no comments on this story.

- (Hong Kong Free Press) June 23, 2017. Andy Chan Ho-tin told reporters earlier this week that he wanted to hold the gathering on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the fall of Hong Kong so as to tell the world that residents were not celebrating the transfer of sovereignty to China.

- Now I am a resident of Hong Kong and I never told Andy Chan Ho-tin that I am not celebrating the transfer of sovereignty to China. So why is he telling the world that "residents are not celebrating"?

If not every resident, then how many residents did Chan mean? "He expected 300 to attend." So the threshold of Andy Chan's calculus is that: "300 = everyone." Or something.

-(Oriental Daily)  According to lawyer Maggie Chan Man-ki, the relevant statutes are:

CAP 200 Crimes Ordinance

Section 2 Treason

(1) A person commits treason if he

(a) kills, wounds or causes bodily harm to Her Majesty, or imprisons or restrains Her;

(b) forms an intention to do any such act as is mentioned in paragraph (a) and manifests such intention by an overt act;

(c) levies war against Her Majesty (i)with the intent to depose Her Majesty from the style, honour and royal name of the Crown of the United Kingdom or of any other of Her Majestys dominions; or (ii)in order by force or constraint to compel Her Majesty to change Her measures or counsels, or in order to put any force or constraint upon, or to intimidate or overawe, Parliament or the legislature of any British territory;

(d) instigates any foreigner with force to invade the United Kingdom or any British territory;

(e) assists by any means whatever any public enemy at war with Her Majesty; or

(f) conspires with any other person to do anything mentioned in paragraph (a) or (c).

(2)Any person who commits treason shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life. (Amended 24 of 1993 s. 2)

Section 3 Treasonable offences

(1)Any person who forms an intention to effect any of the following purposes, that is to say

(a) to depose Her Majesty from the style, honour and royal name of the Crown of the United Kingdom or of any other of Her Majestys dominions;

(b) to levy war against Her Majesty within the United Kingdom or any British territory in order by force or constraint to compel Her Majesty to change Her measures or counsels, or in order to put any force or constraint upon, or to intimidate or overawe, Parliament or the legislature of any British territory; or

(c) to instigate any foreigner with force to invade the United Kingdom or any British territory,and manifests such intention by an overt act or by publishing any printing or writing, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction upon indictment to imprisonment for life.

(2) It shall be no defence to a charge under this section that any act proved against the person charged amounts to treason under section 2; but no person convicted or acquitted of an offence under this section shall afterwards be prosecuted for treason under section 2 upon the same facts.

CAP 151 Societies Ordinance

(1) The Societies Officer may recommend to the Secretary for Security to make an order prohibiting the operation or continued operation of the society or the branch

(a) if he reasonably believes that the prohibition of the operation or continued operation of a society or a branch is necessary in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others; or

(b) if the society or the branch is a political body that has a connection with a foreign political organization or a political organization of Taiwan.

(Marketing Interactive) June 13, 2017.

Next Digital has recorded revenue of HK$1,783.8 million during the year ended 31 March 2017, a decrease of HK$543.9 million (23.4%) against the figure of HK$2,327.7 million earned in the previous 12 months. The loss was widened to HK$394 million from that of HK$324.2 million loss in the year-ago period.

The media company attributes its drop to a significant decline in advertising revenue of the groups print publication in both Hong Kong and Taiwan. Other factors include the downsizing and consolidation of the groups newspapers publication and printing division, books and magazines publication and printing division, the restructuring of Taiwan Apple Daily, Taiwan Next Magazine and Apple Daily, as well as Next Magazine in Hong Kong.

It ceased the publication of FACE and ME! in April and May 2016 respectively. In June 2016, Ketchup ceased its print version and switched its focus to solely digital. Auto Express and Trading Express have been packaged with Next Magazine and Eat & Travel Weekly as a new bundle to streamline the magazines operations and reduce operating costs.

During the six months ended 30 September 2016, the total revenue of the newspapers publication and printing division stood at HK$474.1 million, representing a decrease of 27.1% or HK$176.5 million. The company also associates the decrease with the drop in circulation income of the groups publications due to the continued shift in reading habits towards free online media over printed properties.

On the digital front, the digital business divisions revenues, consisting primarily of online advertising revenue, together with content licensing payments, games and content sponsorship, and in-app purchase of virtual products, amounted to HK$649.7 million during the year under review. This represents a decrease of 1.5% on the previous years figure of HK$659.7 million, of which, around 76.0% was generated in Hong Kong while the remaining was from Taiwan and others.

Next Medias digital division recorded a segment loss of HK$1.2 million compared with a segment profit of HK$35.2 million in the previous 12 months. It explains in the press release that it was faced with strong competition not only from an increasing arrays of new local entrants on digital media, but also global platforms and social media that are vying for the same advertisers spending as Apple Daily, which had in effect dampened their topline momentum for the moment.

(Hong Kong Free Press) Apple Daily Taiwan encourages reporters to leave and become freelancers. June 22, 2017.

The Taiwan office of Apple Daily has encouraged its journalists to leave and cover news for the media outlet on a freelance basis, according to an internal memo.

The proposed arrangement comes after parent company Next Digital announced losses of almost HK$394 million for the financial year ending in March. The loss is HK$70 million more than the loss in the preceding year, as advertising income declines.

In a circular dated June 14, originated on popular Taiwanese forum PTT. Apple Daily attributed the proposed arrangement to the difficulties faced by media outlets due to the rise of the internet and smartphones.

We encourage our colleagues to be entrepreneurial, establishing a small company, a personal workshop or a personal media business Apple Daily will then cooperate [with them] on a contractual basis. The outlet told staff that if they left to become freelancers, they could be paid for each written article, and rewarded for exclusive or breaking reports. The outlet added as an example that graphic artists would only be paid at 70 to 80 per cent of their current salary if they signed a cooperation agreement with Apple Daily. However, they could also increase their income by submitting work to other companies. Apple Daily will provide existing hardware and software (such as computers) for work purposes at no cost. Colleagues from all departments are welcome to suggest proposals for entrepreneurship.

The Association of Taiwan Journalists, the countrys industry group, criticised the proposal in a Thursday statement, likening it to a re-negotiation of employee labour conditions. Contract reporters will lose the protective umbrella of the labour laws, including minimum wage, limits on overtime work and holiday rights, and will even have to pay their own insurance. Apple Dailys entrepreneurship proposal is also a blow against the rights of workers to unite as an individual company or personal workshop, they will not have a labour union, and will lose collective bargaining rights against Apple Daily.

(Hong Kong Free Press) June 23, 2017.

Following the lead of its Taiwan office, newspaper Apple Daily has announced arrangements to dismiss employees and rehire them as freelancers in Hong Kong, says its local trade union.

The Next Media Trade Union said in a Thursday statement that staff from Apple Dailys supplement, entertainment, graphics, sport and finance sections would be affected. Staff contracting arrangements have also been planned for the weekly Next Magazine.

Earlier this month, parent company Next Digital announced losses of almost HK$394 million for the financial year ending in March. The loss is HK$70 million more than the loss in the preceding year, as advertising income declines.

According to the Next Media Trade Union, several departments or teams from Apple Daily have been asked to establish separate companies. The newspaper would then subcontract production work to them. It added that some employees had been asked to leave at the end of June. They would then be rehired as freelancers beginning on August 1, under contracts lasting from six months to one year.

We understand that the media industry is undergoing massive transformations and the group is facing pressures on costs, said the union. However, subcontracting is not the solution to the problem, because labour protection and news quality will take a big hit.

The union said it would hold a meeting with management on Friday, and urged employees not to accept any contracting arrangements beforehand.

Internet comments:

- (Hong Kong Journalists Association) June 22, 2017.

(Chinese only)

The Hong Kong Journalists Association has the following comments on Next Media's purported plan to outsourcing:

1. HKJA has contacted Next Media maangement in order to learn more, but has not received any response yet. The HKJA requests Next Media management to disclose more details;

2. HKJA questions whether outsourcing will protect the rights of the workers, and is concerned whether workers can decide on whether to accept the outsourcing arrangements without being under pressure;

3. We concur with the call of the Next Media Trade Union to ask workers not to accept the proposal at this time.

- Why can't the HKJA take their Statement on Government ban of online media from attending press conference held by Carrie Lam on June 21, 2017 and rewrite it as:

1. HKJA expresses deep regret and disappointment with the decision of Next Media owner/management to outsource journalism;

2. HKJA reiterates that forcing workers to accept outsourcing contravenes CAP 57 Employment Ordinance which safeguards a comprehensive range of employment protection and benefits for workers, as well as Articles 33, 36 and 39 of the Basic Law;

3. Next Media majority owner Jimmy Lai has always stated that he supports freedom and democracy in Hong Kong. We hope that he will honour his pledge.

4. Apple Daily always take the lead to criticize government departments and large corporations to outsource services in order to reduce costs and maximize profits. We hope that Apple Daily will take the same stance with respect to the vital interests of its workers.

- In Hong Kong, the pan-democratic political parties bill themselves as the true defenders of workers' rights. I wonder what the Democratic Party, Civic Party, Labour Party, Confederation of Labour Unions and the League of Social Democrats will have to say on this matter. Over the years, these parties have received millions and millions in political donation from Jimmy Lai. Will the dogs bite the hand that feeds them?

- Why is the Hong Kong Journalists Association talking about "pressure"? Well, if you quit voluntarily, we will hire you back as a freelancer on a per-piece basis; if you don't quit, we will fire you and we won't ever use you again. That would be coercion.

- (Oriental Daily) June 23, 2017. Comment from stock analysts: (1) "Next Digital revenues have declined over the course of several years already, showing that they don't have an effective business plan to deal with the crisis. Since the problems have continued for years, investors should not be holding Next Digital stock." (2) "Next Digital cut back on its print operations in order to focus on digital operations, but the latter has moved from profit to loss as well. Therefore, the digital business has failed while incurring developmental costs. There is no prospect for earnings growth at Next Digital in the foreseeable future."

- Buy low and sell high? This is the bottom because there can't be more bad news, right?

- (Oriental Daily) June 23, 2017. Next Media management issued an internal memo to encourage the workers to voluntarily resign, become entrepreneurs, form workshops and sell news reports back to Next Media.

- What are the tricky issues here?

(1) If you voluntarily resign, you are not entitled to severance pay;

(2) If you become an entrepreneur and form your own company, you are responsible for your own health insurance, retirement fund, workplace injury insurance, etc, and you lose your rights of collective bargaining, minimum wage, standard working hours, overtime pay, vacation, etc.

(3) As an outside supplier, you can be fired at will anytime. Next Media does not have to provide you with an explanation (e.g. another service provider will do the same job cheaper; your stubbornness in wanting to be fair and balanced in your reporting; etc).

(3) If you get sued for libel during the course of your reporting (and Next Media has been sued hundreds of times already), you will pay for your own legal fees. In fact, Next Media will stiff you for 100% of the responsibility/liability as the service provider whose contract stipulates so.

- (Oriental Daily) June 23, 2017. Several days ago, Jimmy Lai told the Oriental Press Group reporter: "Fuck your mother's cunt!" Today, Jimmy Lai's employees are saying "Fuck your mother's cunt" to the outsourcing plan. What goes around ... comes around.

- (The Stand News) June 25, 2017.

Veteran news workers often encounter wage discrimination. Since they have 24 hours a day like everybody else, they can come up with two to three news articles per day just like rookie reporters. In the eyes of the boss, news articles are used to fill the pages and so the quantitative contribution of a veteran is the same as a rookie. However, the veteran gets paid two to three times more than the rookie. If the boss cannot create new sources of revenue and must resort to cutting costs in order to staunch the losses, he will begin by firing veteran news workers.

At most Hong Kong newspapers, there are three to four veterans keeping the gates while the frontline reporters tend to be very inexperienced. This is the reason why Internet news today is so poor, with numerous spelling mistakes and logical errors that often stand uncorrected. News has to be fast, and they can't afford to let fact-checkers and editors slow down the output process.

In the world of Internet news, the metric of success is the hit rate. As such, entertainment news dominate. While "restart of constitutional reform process" and "funding of the new airport runway" may be important to the people of Hong Kong, most people are more likely to read articles with titles such as: "Actress XXX totally nude in new television drama", "scandal of talented girl's father." When a newspaper oursources its news reporting and pays on the basis of hit rate, will they end up with entertainment news all the time?

Meanwhile, if you want to become an independent supplier of news stories, you know immediately that you will be in big trouble if you concentrate on politics, art, culture and sports (except soccer). You don't have many potential clients to begin with, because most newspapers have their own news staff already. Furthermore, the newspapers have political positions. So if you supply news to Apple Daily already, will Oriental Daily buy your news stories? Will Sing Tao or Economic Journal buy your anti-government/anti-Beijing news stories?

Can you count on the Internet news outlets as customers? They are not financially sound themselves, so you can hardly count on them.

What is for sure is that the successful news suppliers will concentrate on soft entertainment news. They will not be able to invest time and money on investigative journalism. You should not expect to see extensive news stories such as "CY Leung's UGL corruption sage" or "the conspiracy to plant voters for the Legislative Council elections." When the media fails to perform as watchdog, the people lose.

Related Links:

Bawang vs. Next Magazine (2016/05/24)
Sudden Closures
(2015/07/26)
Jimmy Lai - Most Influential Person In The World (2015/04/17)

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