HIGH TIDE (APRIL 5TH 2015) – DAILY POLITICAL ROUND-UP

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No world standards for the Basic Law; Visitors scared away; Protests against hotel and runway. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


 

Politics (Government &LegCo)

Gregory So lays out measures in the post-ATV era.
– Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So said heads of ATV are “required…to maintain a level of service that they have committed” and could “consider surrendering the licence” if they cannot continue to operate until April 1 2016
– So also said RTHK will provide a free TV service in the transitional period but hinted that TV newscasts are unlikely, leaving HongKongers with only one choice for free TV news providers

11 verbal warnings issued under the full implementation of plastic bag levy.
– Secretary for the Environment Wong Kam-sing said (in Chinese) 11 verbal warnings have been issued to shops that gave plastic shopping bags for non-food items and packaged items as the full implementation of plastic bag levy has been in place for three days
– Wong meanwhile slammed some shops for dodging the levy by introducing a discount of 50 cents, while admitting that the practice is not illegal

Number of visitors drops by 8.7%, says Immigration Director.
– The Director of Immigration Eric Chan reported that the number of overall and mainland visitors to Hong Kong last month fell by 8.7% and 10% respectively compared to the figure in the same period last year
– Chan worried that recent anti-parallel trading protests have damaged the city’s reputation and led to the drop

Scandal over Lantau development committee meeting attendance.
– It was reported (in Chinese) that several members of the Lantau Development Advisory Committee have allowed their subordinates to sit the committee’s meetings and to access confidential information
– The Save Lantau Alliance criticised (in Chinese) the practice for creating a privileged class through nepotism

Politics (general)

CY Leung dismisses talks of world standards on political reform.
– Speaking at a seminar to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Basic Law, CY Leung urged HongKongers to understand the original design of the Basic Law, which did not promote civil nomination
– Leung said that none of the five proposals included the idea
– Leung, who was also the secretary of the consultative committee for the drafting of the Basic Law, claimed that ‘One country, two systems’ is not an international standard, and therefore there is no such thing as world standards for Hong Kong
– It is further stated that the Sino-British Joint Declaration has no authority over the actual creation of the city’s mini-constitution
– Tsinghua University Law School Dean Wang Zhenmin asserted that the power embedded in the Basic Law was given by the Central Government, and that the Basic Law “is a law with deep affection, which reflects the central, deep feelings of love and people across the country to Hong Kong”

Interest groups protest against Lugard Road hotel plan and third runway project.
– The Alliance for a Beautiful Hong Kong led a march (in Chinese) along Lugard Road to protest against a plan to build a hotel on the popular hiking trail
– Meanwhile, 20 organisations including the Progressive Teachers’ Alliance and the HK Flight Attendants Union held a petition (in Chinese) for two weeks to gather 50,000 signatories against the construction of the third runway

Albert Chen mocks “obstinate” Pan-dems.
– Basic Law Committee member Albert Chen slammed (in Chinese) the Pan-dem lawmakers for being obstinate and inflexible in handling the political reform issues
– Chen compared (in Chinese) the nomination committee structure to a similar election system in Iran, saying that the latter also consists of democratic elements, for a reformist party has been voted to rule
– Democratic Party has warned its members that they may face disciplinary action if they followed democrat and former lawmaker Wong Sing-chi’s call to support the political reform

HKFS may quit Tiananmen “ritual”.
– Head of the troubled Hong Kong Federation of Students Nathan Law said his cabinet is considering whether to stay in the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China
– Law noted that his cabinet was divided over the issue with some worried that the vigil has been “reduced to a ritual”