High Tide (December 18th 2015) – Daily political round up

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Copyright bill debate drags on; DAB lawmaker under fire over remarks on mentally ill and psychiatrists.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Gov’t & LegCo

Copyright bill debate drags on as filibuster continues
– Legislation of a controversial copyright amendment bill was further delayed asthe quorum bell was rung for 28 times after Cyd Ho of Labour Party moved a motion to adjourn the discussion in the beginning of the session
– On one occasion, pan-dems were just seven seconds away from bringing the debate to a halt
– Democratic Party was fiercely condemned by protesters as Albert Ho and Sin Chung-kai remained in the Chamber, thus maintaining a quorum in the last seconds
– Democrat Helena Wong “gave her first time” – of calling a quorum count – to Wong Yuk-man when Wong was delivering his speech criticising her party
– Helena Wong, with the accompany of Civic Party’s Claudia Mo, was later surrounded by angry protesters who felt betrayed by DPHK and Mo was injured during the chaos
– Keyboard Frontier, organiser of the protest, admitted the rally had become “a bit out of control”

New government projections expect Hong Kong Island population to shrink by 2024 as new towns become most populous districts
– Population of the New Territories and Kowloon will increase by 456,600 and 132,400 to 4.24m and 2.33m respectively between 2014 and 2024 while that of Hong Kong Island is expected to drop gradually from 1.27m to 1.19m, according to a “Projections of Population Distribution 2015-2024” released by the Planning Department
– The report also predicted that Sha Tin District, Kwun Tong District and Yuen Long District will become to three most populous districts in 2024, with a population of 721,100, 686,800 and 685,200 respectively

Politics (General)

Former housing minister: Small house policy is unsustainable
– Former top official Michael Suen, who was Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands between 2002 and 2007, said the small house policy for indigenous New Territories villagers’ could not be allowed to continue forever and people should come up with a date to end the policy
– Suen said the authorities should consider allow small houses to be built higher than the current mandated three storeys to save lands for other uses

Smelly substance on accountancy lawmaker’s jeans not faeces, test found
– LegCo president Jasper Tsang, referring to two laboratory reports, said thesubstance that was first appeared to be human faeces rubbed on accountancy lawmaker Kenneth Leung’s jeans when he attended a LegCo meeting was more likely to have been glue as no bacteria was found
– Leung did not seem convinced by the conclusion, and said, “If you rub your jeans repeatedly with alcohol, I would be surprised if there is still any bacterium in the sample”
– Tsang reiterated no sign showed that the LegCo security was compromised or that Leung was being targeted

DAB lawmaker under fire over remarks on mentally ill and psychiatrists
– Ann Chiang of DAB expressed regret after three local medical professional associations condemned her provocative remarks over mentally ill patients and those tending to them
– During Wednesday’s LegCo debate on the copyright bill, Chiang urged LegCo president Jasper Tsang to curb filibuster, making a metaphor that “psychiatrists suffer the most from mental problems as they listen too much to patients with mental problems”
– The Hong Kong Academy of Medicine, with the College of Psychiatrists as its member institution, slamme Chiang for the “untrue, derogatory [and] unfounded” statement which “would deter patients from receiving assistance that they need”

Alibaba dismisses rumours over Ming Pao acquisition
– Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group dismissed rumours that it is in talks to buy Ming Pao, one of the city’s most credible Chinese media outlets, a few days after its SCMP acquisition was confirmed
– Spokesperson of Alibaba Group Rico Ngai told Reuters the internet conglomerate was not in any negotiations with Ming Pao

Public sentiment index among 20-year low
– The University of Hong Kong Public Opinion Programme’s Public Sentiment Index (PSI) dropped by 11.6 points to 61.4 in its latest findings, which was “among the worst 1% across the past two decades”
– The Government Appraisal (GA) and Society Appraisal (SA) indexes, which composite the PSI, was down by 6.3 and 10.9 points respectively