11 AUG 2011

Category Land and Housing Policies
Issue Property Hegemony
News Content A latest poll by Chinese University’s Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies revealed that 78 percent of respondents believe ‘property hegemony’ existed in Hong Kong. The survey of 832 people aged over 18 found up to 85% of respondents were familiar with the concept of ‘property hegemony’. 50% of the respondents said the government could control the supply of land and housing, therefore restricting the developers’ dominance over politics and economy.
Questions Although Chief Secretary Henry Tang insisted ‘property hegemony’ did not exist in Hong Kong, the people held a different view. Not only they are familiar with the concept, but also believe Hong Kong has such a problem. The dominance of property developers over politics and economy is on the top of public agenda. The government should face upon it. A drastic change of housing policy should be made.

10 AUG 2011

Category One Country Two Systems Principle
Issue Rights of abode issue for foreign domestic helpers
News Content Mr. Wang Guangya, director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office was quoted as saying that the Basic Law should not be amended easily, rejecting it as an option for solving the disputes over the rights of abode of the foreign domestic helpers. After meeting with Wang, New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said Wang was cautious about expressing a view on possible interpretation, saying the party should talk to Hong Kong government.
Questions An amendment of the Basic Law may be a better option than an interpretation as it is less arbitrary and allows Hong Kong people to participate in the whole process. Seeking Beijing’s interpretation towards the Basic Law is not an option as it definitely erodes the foundation of rule of law in Hong Kong and undermines Hong Kong’s judicial independence.

9 AUG 2011

Category Infrastructure Development
Issue Public Consultation on the third runway of Hong Kong International Airport.
News Content Upon the enormous pressure from the community, the Airport Authority yesterday released eight consultancy reports it commissioned to the study the social and environmental impact of the third runway. The consultancy report forecasted the carbon dioxide emission will be increased from 2,160 tonnes in 2007 to 5,422 tonnes in 2030. The third runway would raise the level of nitrogen dioxide above the newly proposed limit in some areas at Chek Lap Kok airport. The preliminary environment assessment report expects half of the Chinese While Dolphin in Hong Kong will be affected. The EAR also said 1,000 – 3,000 residents will be suffered from noise pollution with Tuen Mun and Tai Nam Chung turning to be the new affected areas.
Questions The Airport Authority has launched a three-month consultation on the new development of the Hong Kong Airport. But it refused to provide the eight consultancy reports when it launched the consultation two months ago. The consultation documents are highly misleading, trying to cover up the damage the third runway may cause to environment.

8 AUG 2011

Category One Country Two Systems Principle
Issue Court battle over foreign domestic helpers’ rights to permanent residency
News Content Executive Council held a three-hour special meeting last week to discuss government’s position on the case. No public announcement was made after the meeting. But it was reported that the administration would await the outcome of the case before considering seeking Beijing’s interpretation of the Basic Law on the rights of abode of foreign domestic helpers. SCMP, quoting an unidentified source, reported that the government would definitely appeal if it lost the case and request for suspension of enforcement of the ruling while the appeal was heard. The exco also discussed what administrative measures could be taken to minimize the impact on society should the foreign domestic workers won the case. One measure might be to restrict the length of stay of foreign domestic helpers to less than seven years.
Questions Seeking Beijing’s interpretation of the Basic Law is never an option as it would definitely damage Hong Kong’ rule of law and the city’s autonomy by violating the principle of one country two systems principle. It was reported the government also consider restricting the length of stay of foreign domestic helpers to less than seven years. It is also not an option as it might further discriminate the foreign domestic workers, differentiating from other foreign workers, limiting their rights at work.

5 AUG 2011

Category One Country Two Systems Principle
Issue Competition Bill
News Content Mr. Li Gui Kang, Deputy Director, Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in HKSAR urged yesterday local business community to support the controversial competition law in Hong Kong. He said the business sector might have been affected by the introduction of the competition law. But he hoped the community could support the government and support the competition law. Civic Party legislator Alan Leong said: although Li had made some sensible remarks, it is inappropriate for him to make such a comment. Mr. Allen Lee, a public affairs commentator said Lai had meddled Hong Kong affairs.
Questions According to the Basic Law, the central government is responsible for foreign and military affairs. Lai’s comment has meddled Hong Kong affairs, an open violation of the principle of one country two systems.