HIGH TIDE (APRIL 19TH 2015) – DAILY POLITICAL ROUND-UP

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Raymond Tam on “game of thrones” in HK; Gov’t to review hospital security; HKU’s compulsory mainland programme. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


 

Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Talks on the CE election entrance threshold and the Basic Law.
– As the Government is about to reveal the package of political reform on coming Wednesday, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam said that the authorities’ approach is to “use the necessary legal room to maximise the democratic elements…and to allow more people, more aspiring personalities to enter this ‘game of thrones’, so to speak”
– Tam also said that the Government aims to lower the entrance threshold for CE candidates, but only to a moderate extent to “maintain the orderly conduct of the election process”
– Meanwhile, speaking at the Basic Law quiz & prize presentation ceremony, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen maintained the city and its mini-constitution’s special status under the Central Government and urged Pan-dem lawmakers to vote in accordance with the majority opinion

Secretary for Food and Health to review hospital security.
– Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man said (in Chinese) that a thorough review on hospital security will be conducted
– Ko was referring to a recent case in which a fake doctor managed to sneak into the United Christian Hospital’s accident and emergency department
– Ko said a follow-up on the case will be put on the agenda of next week’s Hospital Authority regular meeting

Immigration Department to tighten up border control on suspected parallel trading.
– It was reported (in Chinese) that the Immigration Department will strengthen inspections to combat parallel trading at all control points today
– Suspected parallel traders entering the city will be stopped and their entry denied
– Meanwhile, the Lok Ma Chau China-Hong Kong Freight Association staged a slow-drive protest against the Government’s resumption of a 420,000 square-feet car park for the construction of a border shopping mall without proper consultation

Politics (general)

HKU to make programmes to mainland compulsory for undergrad students.
– HKU students were left shocked as the university’s Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) Ian Holliday announced that a new policy requiring all undergraduates to experience staying in the mainland as part of their degree will be fully implemented by 2022
– The university’s Senate has approved the policy while the President of HKUSU Billy Fung expressed concerns over the rigidity of the policy, saying that “overseas experience is important but I would prefer a student had the choice”
– Spokesman of the university later said the policy is not yet confirmed and further consultations will be held

Ronny Tong wary of Beijing trip.
– Civic Party’s Ronny Tong said (in Chinese) he was still considering whether or not to join the Hong Kong Bar Association to visit Beijing in late April as he worried that this could be interpreted by some as a sign of acceptance to the 8.31 decision on political reform
– Tong meanwhile claimed that this could be the last chance to persuade officials in Beijing to get around the table with Pan-dems

China & World

Foundation for Economic Education pays tribute to Hong Kong’s former Financial Secretary.
– The venerable Foundation for Economic Education, USA (est. 1946), calls for the birthday of Hong Kong’s former Financial Secretary, Sir John Cowperthwaite who died in 2006 to be made a day of international celebration
-25 April 2015 would have seen him turn 100