High Tide (August 20th 2015) – Daily political round up

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Govt clarifies position on hostile tram proposal; Netizens mock Tiananmen-like designs for Wishing Square; Petitions on HKU appointment & Uber. Photo Credit: Chris Lusher


Politics (Gov’t & LegCo)

Government distances itself from proposal to kick tram out of Central.
– A Government spokesman clarified that a recent submission to the Town Planning Board to cancel tram service in Central is “neither a government proposal nor a proposal by a consultancy commissioned by the Government”
– The proposal was raised by a recently retired government town planner Sit Kwok Keung, who claimed that tram service was a major cause of traffic congestion in the area
– Meanwhile, the Government stated that it decided to support a partnership proposal by New World Development to revitalise the Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront which would involve a temporary closure and subsequent extension of the Avenue of Stars

Netizens mock Tiananmen-like designs for HKD40m public square in Tai Po.
– Netizens and pan-dem district councillors compared the new designs for the Lam Tsuen Wishing Square to Tiananmen Square and expressed worries that the initiative would become yet another white elephant project
– The new designs, with facilities such as resorts and ‘wishing tree house’ taken out, would see the cost of the project scaled down from HKD55m to HKD41m

Rimsky Yuen: Decision on ‘dark corner police officers’ to be made after consulting QC.
– Secretary for Rimsky Yuen commented on the case in which seven police officers, who remained unnamed, allegedly kicked and punched a protester during the Occupy Movement, saying that a decision would be made after consulting (ch) an independent Queen’s Counsel
– Meanwhile, two men were fined HKD3000 each for throwing eggs at student leader Joshua Wong when the latter walked out of the Kowloon City Magistrates’ Court last November

Political (General)

Petitions: Cross-university teaching staff on HKU senior appointment, and Uber on Uber.
– 41 higher education teaching staff members from various institutes launched apetition urging the Hong Kong University Council to decide on the appointment of pro-vice-chancellor immediately and called for discussion over abolishing the rule whereby the Chief Executive assumes the role of Chancellor of Hong Kong’s tertiary institutes
– Initiators include some heavyweights in the academic field such as Choy Chi Keung and Ma Ngok from CUHK, as well as the the Chinese University of Hong Kong Employees General Union which hosted some 800 members
– 135 people had signed the petition so far
– Meanwhile, after a successful petition gathering more than 55,000 signatories, the car-hailing service app Uber launched a ‘one person, one letter‘ petition, requesting a meeting with Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung

Liberal Party chairman does not back CY Leung seeking second term.
– Liberal Party chairman Felix Chung said he would not support CY Leung to seek a second term unless improvement was witnessed but would not persuade his party members to follow follow his stance
– Chung said Leung’s performance over the part three years fell short of people’s expectation
– Members from the Liberal Party earlier criticised Leung’s statement that positive non-intervention policy was ‘outdated’ and it ought to be changed
– Meanwhile, an Economic Journal article said there were voices (ch) within the pro-establishment camp to tap former DAB chairman Tam Yiu-chung as the next LegCo President to succeed the retiring Jasper Tsang

Philippine and Indonesian officials invited to foster task force on maids’ rights.
– Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau said she had invited officials from the Philippine and Indonesian authorities to visit Hong Kong in September
– It was hoped that a meeting between the officials and representatives from the city’s labor and immigration departments could be arranged to establish a joint task force on protecting domestic helpers’ rights