HIGH TIDE (MARCH 28TH 2015) – DAILY POLITICAL ROUND-UP

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Students and schools supported; Press freedom deteriorated; Joshua Wong awarded. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


 

Politics (Government &LegCo)

Pan-dems block motions on tourism and liberal studies.
– Motions moved by Vincent Fang and Priscilla Leung on balancing the impacts of the tourismindustry on the economy and society, and reviewing the curriculum for the subject of Liberal Studies were both negatived by Pan-dems
– DAB’s Ip Kwok-him and Tourism’s Yiu Si-wing were elected as the chairman and vice-chairman of the Bills Committee on Interception of Communications and Surveillance (Amendment) Bill 2015
– Secretary for Civil Service, Secretary for Justice and other directors and commissioners addressed the Financial Committee in the first special meeting out of eight to examine the Estimates of Expenditure
– 22 Pan-dems (Ronny Tong not included), meanwhile, signed (in Chinese) another joint-statement protesting against the new security policy for the LegCo Complex

HT journalist Michael Wong wrote (in Chinese) on a seemingly increasing tendency for the Government to bypass LegCo when making decisions.

Commission on Poverty announces three assistance programmes.
– The CoP yesterday endorsed three new Community Care Fund assistance programmes
– The programmes include 1) a one-off subsidy of HKD3600 to students in need; 2) a three-year pilot programme to provide financial assistance to schools; and 3) another new three-year programme to provide each eligible student with an additional academic expenses grant of up to $8,000 every year
– When responding to a reporter’s question on political reform, CS and Chairperson of the CoP Carrie Lam said “I personally have not received any feedback that will give me the needed optimism”

Lawmakers slam MTR’s fare increase plan.
– It was reported that the MTR Corp may raise its fares by 4.3% despite a profit of HKD15.6 billion last year
– New Democrats’ Gary Fan blasted (in Chinese) the Corp’s plan, saying that its has not delivered the service quality worthy of a fare increase
– Michael Tien from New People’s Party urged the Corp to use its profit to provide monthly pass discounts

Appointments day in the Government.
– The Government announced a number of appointments to various committees and boards
– Here is the list:
1. Advisory Council on Food and Environmental Hygiene (link)
2. Board of Trustees and Council of Lord Wilson Heritage Trust (link)
3. Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education (link)
4. Community Investment and Inclusion Fund Committee (link)
5. Elderly Commission (link)
6. Employees Retraining Board (link)
7. Hong Kong Tourism Board (link)
8. Hospital Authority Members (link)
9. Housing Authority Members (link)
10. MPF Schemes Advisory Committee and MPF Industry Schemes Committee (link)

Politics (general)

Joshua Wong named on Fortune‘s ‘World Greatest Leaders’.
– Symbolic figure in the Umbrella movement Joshua Wong was listed 10th in Fortune‘s “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”
– Joshua Wong said he’d rather pay attention to Pan-dem lawmakers’ stance on political reform and third runway than to the “worthless news”

HKJA warns of press freedom deterioration.

– Hong Kong Journalist Association published a press release warning of press freedom deterioration
– According to the Press Freedom Index Survey conducted by the HKUPOP, it is found that public perception of press freedom dropped 0.6 points to 48.8 while the figure from journalists dropped 3.1 points to 38.9
– Journalists also rated 7 out of 10 in terms of worry over self-censorshipChina & WorldHong Kong eyes AIIB entry.
– Financial Secretary John Tsang told 11 professional bodies in the Hong Kong Coalition of Professional Services that Hong Kong will actively seek to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to capture opportunities and to foster the “one belt, one road” policy
– At session of Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2015, CY Leung also stated that “Hong Kong’s strengths in international financing and asset management can help support the new bank and the new fund’s operation”