High Tide (January 4th 2016) – Daily political round up

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48-min traveling time on XRL “only applies to direct routes”; 3000 joins anti-Li march.

Photo: Chris Lusher


Government & LegCo

Express Rail Link’s 48-minute traveling time only applies to direct routes, transport chief says
– Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung said the 48-minute travelling time often mentioned by government officials on the Express Rail Link was a calculation made by the previous administration and only applied to direct routes
– Cheung said the term “direct” was used during discussions at the LegCo
– Both chairman Michael Tien and vice-chairman Yiu See-wing of the LegCo’s Panel on Transport criticised the government for not being more specific when briefing lawmakers and the public

Standard working hours consultation postponed to late January
– Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung said the expected starting date of the consultation on standard working hours (ch) legislation was postponed to late January
– Cheung said the submission of a final report by the Standard Working Hours Committee in March would also likely be affected and called on the six employee’s representatives who earlier boycotted the committee meetings to return to the table

Government officials on missing bookseller: Mainland authorities must adhere to ‘one country, two systems’
– Commenting on rumours that mainland authorities were exercising power in Hong Kong regarding five missing booksellers, acting Secretary for Security John Lee said “the only people who can exercise the power of the law are our legal enforcement agencies of the [HKSAR]”
– Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam, meanwhile, urged the public “not to make to many assumptions at this stage” and stressed mainland authorities must adhere to ‘one country, two systems’
– The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China and the Democratic Party held protests outside the Liaison Office

General Politics

3,000 join protest against Arthur Li’s appointment to head HKU Council
– Yesterday’s march against the appointment of Arthur Li as University of Hong Kong’s council chairman was joined by more than 3,000 people, the organisers said, while police reported a peak turnout of 830
– Protesters also called for abandoning the law which made the CE the chancellor of Hong Kong’s public universities
– In an official response, a government spokesman said “statutory system has been operating effectively over the years and there is no interference with academic freedom and institutional autonomy” and urged the public to “show respect to the [university] ordinances”

Holden Chow tapped by pro-est camp to run in LegCo by-election
– DAB’s vice-chairman Holden Chow will run in the LegCo New Territories East by-election in February
– Chow was supported also by the Federation of Trade Unions, the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, and the New People’s Party from the pro-est camp, but Liberal Party’s James Tien said his party will not back a DAB election campaign
– Chow will run against chairman of the Civic Party’s New Territories East branch Alvin Yeung and Independent Sai Kung district councillor and former Liberals Christine Fong Kwok-shan