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New Chinese History curriculum; CUHK hospital loan approved; Regina Ip refuses to apologise for ‘racist’ remarks. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher.


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Consultation on revising Chinese History Curriculum held.
– The Education Bureau held a consultation session on revising the Chinese History Curriculum so that schools will allocate more lesson time on teaching modern history
– Education lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen said (in Chinese) that about 70% of teachers were against the new direction and that implementing the new curriculum in coming the school term would be too hasty for teachers to prepare for necessary changes
– The Education Bureau also announced that School-based Assessment (SBA) Scheme will not be implemented in seven elective subjects including Chinese History, History, Economics, Ethics and Religious Studies, Geography, Music, and Tourism and Hospitality Studies with Chinese Literature, Health Management and Social Care, and Information and Communication Technology streamlined starting from the coming term

Financial Committee approves a HKD4 billion loan for CUHK hospital project.
– The Financial Committee approved – efficiently – several projects recommended by the Public Work Subcommittee, including a pilot study on underground space development in selected strategic urban areas
– The Committee later endorsed a HKD4 billion loan with no interest for the CUHK Medical Development Project to provide more than 500 beds
– The loan was approved with 30 “Yes” votes, five “No” votes (by League of Social Democrats’ Leung Kwok-hung and Labour Party’s Lee Cheuk-yan, Cyd Ho, Cheung Kwok-che and Fernando Cheung) and one abstain vote from Civic Party’s Kwok Ka-ki

Government to table amendments bill on electoral legislation in LegCo.
– The Government has published the Electoral Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill to make “necessary technical legislative amendments for the 2016 LegCo election”
– Amendments include “the electorate of the functional constituencies (“FCs”), the name of an FC, counting procedures and textual errors for the 2016 LegCo election” and is expected to be tabled in the LegCo on April 22 for first and second readings
– The Government has also gazetted the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (No.2) Bill which proposes revised measures including increasing the basic and additional child allowances from HKD70,000 to HKD100,000, and reducing salaries tax, tax under personal assessment and profits tax for 2014-2015 by 75% with a ceiling of HKD20,000 per case

New URA head troubled by cash restriction and “connections with the property sector”.
– New chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority Victor So said estimated cost of the Central Market revitalisation project could increase from the original HKD500 million to HKD1.5 billion while the Government has instructed the authority to carry out a value-to-money audit
– Several concern groups were urging the authority to take up greater social responsibility when Victor So attended the completion ceremony of a public leisure area in Kweilin Street
– Meanwhile, So defended his meeting in a meal with Richfield Group as a normal contact with members of the property sector

Peak hotel plan under fire and three Outline Zoning Plans endorsed.
– The Town Planning Board approved application to build a boutique hotel on Lugard Road which has been a popular hiking trail despite protests from concern groups
– Central and Western District Councillor Joseph Chan doubted if the Government can provide enough resources to enforce the traffic restrictions required by the Board
– The CE in Council, meanwhile, approved three outline zoning plans in Shau Kei WanTung Chung and Tsz Wan Shan, Diamond Hill and San Po Kong proposed by the Board

Politics (general)

Starry Lee elected as DAB’s new party chairperson.
– Starry Lee has been elected as the pro-establishment camp DAB’s new party chairperson to replace the outgoing Tam Yiu-chung and the first female head to lead the party
– Gary Chan Hak-kan and Holden Chow Ho-ting will replace Lee and another outgoing Ann Chiang as the party’s vice-chairmenRegina Ip blasted for “racist” calls concerning Filipino maids.
– It was reported that Executive Councillor Regina Ip has been accused of racism after writing an article raising concerns over domestic helpers seducing bosses and ruining marriages
– Ip refused to apologise for her provocative comments, saying that she has the right to speak out the concerns and evidence exists

Journalists and commentators associations condemn sentencing of Gao Yu.
– The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) released a public statement “expressing indignation” over the sentencing of Gao Yu, a mainland journalist jailed for seven years for ‘leaking state secrets
– The HKJA urge “China to correct the wrong and release Gao as soon as possible”
– The Independent Commentators Association also called (in Chinese) for respects for rule of law and humanitarianism when handling the case