High Tide (December 24th 2015) – Daily political round up

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No more equal footing between SAR and Beijing; Top-level debates on universal pension scheme continues.

Photo: Chris Lusher



Government & LegCo

Equal footing no more: CE reduced to smaller sitting in annual duty visit
– HKSAR was put in a more “appropriate” place as CY Leung was reduced to a smaller seat down a long conference table while President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang took the host in separate meetings
– Previous annual duty visits would see Hong Kong’s chief executive sitting side-by-side with Chinese top officials, similar to that of an official visit by foreign leaders
– CY Leung cited the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office saying the new arrangement “reflects the constitutional relationship between Hong Kong and the Central Authorities”

Chief Secretary in war of words with government advisor on universal pension scheme
– A war of words erupted between Chief Secretary Carrie Lam and government adviser Nelson Chow Wing-sang of the University of Hong Kong over theuniversal pension scheme consultation
– In separate radio shows, Lam said Chow “does not fully understand the concept and management of public finances” while Chow accused the government of trying the scare the public by using taxes to measure the costs
– Meanwhile, 66 out of the 180 academics who put forward another proposal were planning to boycott the consultation

Bin blast suspects released on bail
– Five of six suspects of the LegCo bin blast case were released on bail of between HKD10,000 to HKD50,000 each
– The defendants, aged 18 to 24, include two students, an illustrator, an unemployed person, and a former auxiliary police officer
– The case was adjourned to Feb 3, 2016

Politics (General)

‘Hongkongers’ identity more widely embraced, survey finds
– The University of Hong Kong Public Opinion Programme found that Hong Kong people identified themselves more as ‘Hongkongers‘ than as Chinese citizens
– Interviewees’ identity ratings of ‘Hongkongers’ stood at 8.12. ‘Asians’ at 7.85, ‘global citizens’ at 7.08, and ‘members of the Chinese race’ at 7.04 while that of ‘Chinese’ and ‘citizens of PRC’ dropped to 6.59 and 5.75 respectively