High Tide (May 18th 2015) – Daily Political Round-up

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FS suspends funding to three govt bodies; 300 march against Police wrongful arrest; Million sign reform petition. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher.


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

John Tsang suspends funding to three government bodies.
– Financial Secretary John Tsang announced that the funding for the Hospital Authority, the University Grants Authority and the Legislative Council Commission for next month will have to be suspended
– Tsang put the blame on filibustering in the LegCo leading to delays in the implementation of the budget bill
– “The HKD5.4 billion spared from this will help maintain the operations of other public services.” Tsang said
– Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung also urged (in Chinese) lawmakers to pass the bill so that there will be sufficient cash flows to sustain the monthly spending of HKD3 billion on social protection schemes

Greg So: ATV is still obliged to provide evening news.
– Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So stressed that ATV is still obliged to provide two 15-minute segments of news reports each day between 6pm and 12am under the licensing terms
– The statement was made following an announcement by ATV that it will suspend broadcasting the 12:30 newscast starting from today
– So is in Wuhan and will attend the Expo Central China 2015 today

Politics (general)

Hundreds march to protest against Police handling of wrongful arrest.
– About 300 people, including representatives from 30 human rights groups, joined a protest yesterday against the wrongful arrest of autistic man
– New Police Commission Stephen Lo has pledged impartiality when handling the case, but he refused to apologise for the allegedly inappropriate behaviour of the Police officers under concern
– Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung said the Social Welfare Department will coordinate with the Police Force to review the structure to handle similar cases in the future

Million sign – or Million-sign – petition for reform.
– Leader of the pro-Beijing Alliance for Peace and Democracy Chow Yung said more than one million people have signed a petition to back political reforms within 9 days
– Critics questioned the credibility of the campaign as signatories were not required to prove their identities
– Chow in return challenged the results of a rolling survey conducted by three public opinion institutions, which suggested that the difference between those supporting and opposing the reforms has narrowed down to 3%
– Chow, meanwhile, said a 5% margin of error would be enough when making the final calculation

Jasper Tsang to lead think tank on political reform after resigning as LegCo president.
– Jasper Tsang revealed his plan to set up a think tank on political reform after he relinquishes his role as LegCo president next year
– Former CE Tung Chee-hwa and Civic Party’s Ronny Tong have also set up their own groups on political reform earlier