High Tide (July 5th 2015) – Daily political round up

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PLA garrison drill opened to local media; Police urged to respect front-line journalists; US CG calls for continued debates over universal suffrage. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


 

Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

First open military drill sparks controversies.
– The PLA Hong Kong garrison held the first ever military drill Castle Peak Firing Range that was opened to the local media, along with more than 500 officials and guests including Liaison Office director Zhang Xiaoming, MFA Commissioner Song Zhe, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok, Secretary for Development Paul Chan, ExCo members Regina Ip and Cheng Yiu-tong, as well as Vice-Chancellors of HKU and CUHK Peter Mathieson and Joseph Sung
– The 45-min drill was a showcase of force against a terrorist attack while many commentators suggested that it was a warning to radical localists in wake of the National Security Law
– Meanwhile, Labour Party lawmaker and the Secretary General of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, Lee Cheuk-yan, said he will test if he will be arrested when joining an official trip to Beijing later under the new law

Transport minister vows to bear political responsibility over high-speed rail link blunder.
– Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung said it is necessary for the Government to discuss with the MTR Corporation to cap the entrustment fee in face of endless overbudget and delays of the city’s high-speed rail link construction project
– Cheung rejected suggestion to halt the project, claiming that it can still be cost-effective
– Cheung also affirmed that although he was not the one who assigned the job to the MTR Corp back in 2009, he will bear the political responsibility when being asked how the Government and the Corp will clarify who should be held responsible

CY Leung: Many graduates would have been unemployed if it weren’t for the HKCPS.
– When speaking at a youth forum, Leung urged (ch) younger generations to treasure the opportunities of a vast mainland market
– Leung defended the Hong Kong Coalition of Professional Services’ trip to the mainland to open up the market 14 years ago, claiming that many graduates would have been unemployed if it weren’t for the organisation which consisted of 10 professional associations

Police urged to respect General Orders and freedom of press.
– Five journalist groups namely the Hong Kong Journalists Association, the Hong Kong Press Photographers Association, The Hong Kong News Executives’ Association, the Hong Kong Federation of Journalists and the Newspaper Society of Hong Kong met (ch) with the Police representatives in hope to ease increasing tension between front-line journalists and police officers after the Occupy Movement
– Chairman of the HKNEA Stephen Loh cited the Police spokesman stressing that journalists would not be treated as protesters but they were hard to identify in some occasions
– Chairman of the HKJA Sham Yee-lan, meanwhile, urged the Police to comply with the General Orders and raised concerns over two ongoing cases of which two journalists were arrested

Diplomat

US CG calls for continued dialogues over universal suffrage.
– The US Consul-General, Clifford Hart, urged the Hong Kong society to “fall back on their hallmark civility, forbearance and patience in dealing with one another as they address the myriad challenges of governance before them” when addressing at an Independence Day reception
– Hart said the city should continue to “work together towards the goal of achieving universal suffrage in accordance with the Basic Law and the aspirations of the Hong Kong people” and encourage public debates over the issue

Political (General)

Joseph Zen urges CY Leung to apologise to ‘Long Hair’ in open letter.
– Cardinal Joseph Zen wrote (ch) an open letter to CY Leung, urging Leung to apologise to League of Social Democrats’ Leung Kwok-hung for not inviting him to the annual handover flag-raising ceremony and the following reception
– Zen said it was “extremely rude” for CY LEung to discriminate against ‘Long Hair’ and said the CE should feel regret for his intolerance