Press Highlights 3 December 2015

Keywords: COP21, Climate Change, Special Drawing Rights, smog in Beijing, Gao Yu, Yang Maodong, district council election, high-speed rail in Hong Kong.

China

China and climate change submit in Paris

  • China’s President Xi Jinping urged that the Paris Submit is not an end but a new beginning. He also emphasized international cooperation to tackle the climate change problem.
  • //“巴黎协议不是终点,而是新的起点。”2015年11月30日,习近平在气候变化巴黎大会开幕式上发表了题为《携手构建合作共赢、公平合理的气候变化治理机制》的讲话,强调各方要展现诚意、坚定信心、齐心协力,推动建立公平有效的全球应对气候变化机制,实现更高水平全球可持续发展,构建合作共赢的国际关系。//Source: 人民網, 01 December 2015.
  • President Xi also stressed the right to economic development for developing countries and the obligation of developed countries to honour their agreement to financial aids to developing countries in coping with climate change. The principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ should be upheld.
  • //On the opening day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, Xi said a deal for post-2020 action should be “comprehensive, balanced, ambitious and binding”. But rich nations should also honour their commitment to financial aid for developing nations. The president said the deal had to galvanise global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions as well as respect the rights of developing countries to grow their economies.// Source: SCMP, 01 December 2015.
  • //发达国家应该落实到2020年每年动员1000亿美元的承诺,2020年后向发展中国家提供更加有力的资金支持,并向发展中国家转让气候友好型技术;协议应该有利于照顾各国国情,讲究务实有效;应尊重各国特别是发展中国家在国内政策、能力建设、经济结构方面的差异;应对气候变化不应该妨碍发展中国家消除贫困、提高人民生活水平的合理需求。历届谈判中,资金落实问题多为发展中国家诟病。除了资金,习近平亦指出共同但有区别责任的原则(CBDR)——气候变化谈判中一项重要原则——应得到遵守//Source: Caixin, 01 December 2015.
  • Wu Changhua, from The Climate Group, an international non-profit organisation, argued that:
  • // China’s plans to transform its model of growth and tackle pollution were “perfectly aligned” with the global climate change agenda – and that was one reason Beijing was playing an increasingly proactive role in such talks. Wu said tackling pollution in China would help solve the global climate crisis. “Countries are now creating a much larger pie of [the green economy], and Chinese leaders are thinking how to win in this new round of competition,” she said. “China is not merely playing the nice guy here [in the negotiation room], it is actually trying to grab a bigger piece of this pie.”//Source: SCMP, 01 December 2015.
  • Wu Min, Program Director of Low-carbon Development Path of Energy Foundation China (胡敏,能源基金会中国低碳发展项目主任) pointed out that China has been working on reducing its carbon emission in the last 6 years. For examples, the China’s leaders for the first time proposes the goal of reducing carbon emission intensity in the 13th Five-Year Plan in parallel to reducing the total volume of emission at the same time. Moreover, China reached bilateral agreement with many countries as a way to broaden the scope and depth of actions against climate change.
  • //中国在过去六年间逐渐形成一个不断完善的应对气候变化战略体系。在刚刚结束的中共十八届五中全会上,绿色发展已成为未来五年规划的主要战略之一。2011年,中国第一次在五年计划纲要中提出碳排放强度降低的约束性目标;2014年中美气候变化公告中提出要在2030年左右实现碳排放达到峰值;将要在2016年开始的十三五规划,有望实施碳排放总量和强度双控的管理方式。2010年,中国开始在5省8市实施低碳试点,发展到现在的42个低碳试点,已覆盖了全国37%的人口,54%的GDP和54%的碳排放(2013);2015年9月,更有十省市在中美城市峰会上宣布提前实现温室气体达到峰值的目标。2011年中国在五市两省开展碳排放交易试点,在运行三年后,建立全国碳市场的时间表被写入中美元首声明,2017年全球最大碳市场的启动日渐清晰。[…] 中国还通过双边外交努力为直接推动巴黎气候大会成果做足功夫。2014年APEC期间签署的《中美气候变化联合公告》是关键一步。2015年10月习总访美期间的《中美两国气候变化元首声明》更将政治愿景转化成进一步行动的重要路线图,又一次深化了两国应对气候变化行动的深度和广度。《中欧》、《中印》、《中英》等双边协议陆续签署。法国总统奥朗德在气候大会开始前一个月前访华,《中法应对气候变化声明》更是触及到对于2050年远期目标,国家目标强度持续深化等谈判核心议题。可以说,中国对于巴黎气候大会的成功,诚意十足。// Source: Caixin, 17 November 2015.
  • For a review of China’s effort in reducing domestic carbon emission, please see here prepared by 人民網.

Chinese currency approved to join the IMF’s basket of Special Drawing Rights

  • //The Chinese renminbi was anointed as one of the world’s elite currencies on Monday, a milestone decision by the International Monetary Fund that underscores the country’s rising financial and economic heft. The move will help pave the way for broader use of the renminbi in trade and finance, securing China’s standing as a global economic power. Just four other currencies — the dollar, the euro, the pound and the yen — have the I.M.F. designation.// Source: New York Times, 01 December 2015.
  • //Criteria to be included in the SDR: A nation’s export of goods and services should account for 1 per cent of the world’s total, or stand among the top rank. (China’s export share in global trade ranked first at 12.4 per cent in 2014). The currency must be “widely used” for international transactions and “widely traded” in the foreign exchange transactions. China made its first attempt for the yuan to be included in the currency basket in 2010, but failed as it didn’t meet this second requirement.//Source: SCMP, 01 December 2015.
  • Neil Irwin, a senior economics correspondent for The New York Times, argued that the inclusion of RMB into the SDR is a question of trade-off for the China’s leaders: //The direct implications of the I.M.F. decision are narrow. […] if you’re not a reserve manager for some national treasury, seeking to build emergency savings to buffer the vicissitudes of global finance, the direct impact of China’s inclusion in “special drawing rights” is limited. […] The big question for the future is whether this is akin to what happened about a century ago, when the United States dollar was gradually supplanting the British pound as the predominant currency for global trade and finance. […] In that miserable fall of 2008, though, the dollar actually soared. Treasury bonds were in such hot demand that American interest rates plummeted. The United States’ role as the bedrock of the global financial system was a crucial reason that a terrible situation didn’t become worse; when things went bad, the United States — and especially its government debt — were a beacon of safety. Even in times of noncrisis, the country that is the leading global reserve currency will tend to have a stronger currency and lower interest rates than it would otherwise, thanks to continuing purchases of its assets by individuals, companies and other nations. Then there’s geopolitics. Ownership of the premier global reserve currency gives a country sway in global politics and security that are hard to obtain any other way. In the last few years, the United States has enforced economic sanctions on countries including Russia, Iran and North Korea, and has waged outright financial war against what it considered to be terrorist groups. […] Surely China might like to have a similar scale of influence in global affairs, but to do so it would need the renminbi to be as fundamental to finance as the dollar. Which raises the reasons not to do that. […] Essentially, the price the United States pays for that role is having fewer tools to manage its domestic economy. China has long restricted the ability of businesses and individuals to transfer funds in and out of the country, helping it prevent huge economic swings as investors’ interest in investing in China waxes and wanes. It has made exports central to its economic development strategy, using market interventions and those capital controls to keep its currency undervalued relative to fundamentals, at least until recently. […] The question for China’s political leaders is whether that trade-off is worth it. “The renminbi will not be seen as a safe haven currency unless economic reforms are accompanied by broader legal, political and institutional reforms that are necessary to inspire the trust of foreign investors,” said Eswar Prasad, an economist at Cornell and author of “The Dollar Trap,” in an email. “China’s government has made it abundantly clear that such reforms are not on the cards.”// Source: New York Times, 01 December 2015.
  • Columnist Howard Winn argued that the inclusion of RMB in the SDR breaches IMF’s rule and put forward the reason behind: //By admitting China to the exclusive club of countries that make up its reserve basket of currencies, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is breaching its requirement that currencies should be freely traded. One reason for this is that the IMF thinks its control of the global financial system is more assured with China at the top table rather than excluded from it. […] The IMF declined to admit the yuan in its 2010 review of SDR constituents saying it was used by relatively few countries for international transactions and that it was being manipulated by the People’s Bank of China to accommodate the China’s export drive. […] Despite the increased use of the yuan and increased access to China’s financial markets since 2010, the currency is still not freely convertible. Indeed its financial markets would struggle to cope with foreign capital inflows. Economist Takatoshi Ito argues that internationalisation of the currency should follow domestic financial reform. China appears to be going about this in reverse by internationalising the currency before its domestic market. But financial market reform is hampered by resistance within China to reform and exchange rate flexibility. By agreeing to include the yuan in the its basket of reserve currencies the IMF has calculated that China under the assertive President Xi Jinping would not take kindly to another rebuff. It would risk encouraging China to step up its challenge to the current financial system and the dominance of the dollar.// Source: Hong Kong Free Press, 01 December 2015.

Heavy smog covered Beijing and Northern China

  • Beijing suffers from the worst heavy smog of the year for 5 consecutive days from 27 November 2015 to 01 December 2015. On 30 November 2015, the concentration of the pollutant Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) reached a record high at near 1000 microgram /cubic metre as detected by some of the stations in Beijing, with a 10-time increase in the concentration within 12 hours. The Ministry of Environmental Protection analyzed that industrial emission and coal burning are the major sources of the heavy air pollution in Northern China, but car emission is principally responsible for Beijing’s polluted air, compounded with extreme weather conditions.
  • // 今年以来最严重污染过程袭京。2015年11月30日,北京市升级发布今年首个雾霾橙色预警,全市5浓度12个小时内增长近10倍,个别站点峰值浓度直逼1000微克/立方米。[…] 环保部及专家分析表示,初步的来源解析表明,就整个华北区域而言,原煤燃烧和工业排放是此次重污染过程最主要的来源。但就北京而言,此次重污染过程主要以本地排放贡献为主,其中机动车排放贡献占比较大。[…] 此外,特殊的气候背景和极端的气象条件,也是此轮华北雾霾的重要诱因。2015年是有历史统计以来的“最强厄尔尼诺年”,11月华北地区多次强降雪,化雪导致地面湿度接近饱和、温度降低,而中层大气同期显著回暖,空气在垂直方向“上热下冷”致流动性降低,华北地区大范围处于“高湿度”“低风速”“强逆温”极端不利气象条件,助推了污染持续积累。//Xinhua News, 01 December 2015.
  • //Beijing was again engulfed in heavy smog on Monday, sending air pollution readings soaring ahead of President Xi Jinping’s address to the global climate change summit in Paris. Both the US embassy in Beijing and the municipal government said the air pollution in the capital was at hazardous levels, with the main pollutants in both cases PM2.5 particles, very fine pollutants that are especially harmful to human health. […] Persistent pollution prompted the authorities to issue the year’s first orange pollution alert – the second highest in the four-tier system – on Sunday. The situation was expected to be compounded with traffic authorities forecasting major congestion on the roads partly due to the weather. As a result of the alert, the authorities ordered kindergartens and primary schools to stop all outdoor excises, and recommended that the elderly and the sick stay indoors. The smog was expected to continue until early Wednesday, the city’s environment bureau said.// Source: SCMP, 01 December 2015.
  • To view how Beijing’s landmarks are covered up by heavy smog in pictures, see here prepared by the Hong Kong Free Press.
  • In early November, Northern China already suffered from high-level concentration of PM2.5 in the air, far exceeding the limit set by World Health Organization: //A swathe of China was blanketed with dangerous acrid smog on Monday after levels of the most dangerous particulates reached the highest recorded this year at almost 50 times World Health Organisation recommended limits. […] The Ministry of Environmental Protection said 10 cities in the northeast had recorded heavy pollution on Friday. The number rose to 18 on Saturday and 21 on Sunday. By Monday morning, 20 cities were shrouded in heavy pollution. The ministry said traffic control measures had been in place since Friday.// Source: SCMP, 09 November 2015.
  • Air pollution is causing pre-mature death in China as report revealed://A recent paper by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley showed that particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution in China has been estimated to contribute to 1.6 million premature deaths a year, i.e. 4,000 deaths per day, with some estimating that the problem in India is worse than in China.//Source: The Guardian, 19 November 2015.
  • To see the geographical distribution of 2.5 PM in China, a non-profit organization Berkeley Watch has developed real-time PM2.5 concentration map of China. For the record of 2014, please find the map prepared by SCMP.

China’s Internet security tightened by limiting the use of virtual private network

  • //The Chinese government is shutting down the mobile service of residents in Xinjiang who use software that lets them circumvent Internet filters, escalating an already aggressive electronic surveillance strategy in the country’s fractious western territory. Starting last week, shortly after terrorist attacks in Paris, the local police began cutting the service of people who had downloaded foreign messaging services and other software, according to five people affected. […] “Due to police notice, we will shut down your cellphone number within the next two hours in accordance with the law,” read a text message received by one of the people, who lives in the regional capital of Urumqi. “If you have any questions, please consult the cyber police affiliated with the police station in your vicinity as soon as possible.” The person said that when she called the police, she was told that the service suspensions were aimed at people who had not linked their identification to their account; used virtual private networks, or V.P.N.s, to evade China’s system of Internet filters, known as the Great Firewall; or downloaded foreign messaging software, like WhatsApp or Telegram. […] The debate in the West also has influence in China, said Nicholas Bequelin, the East Asia director for Amnesty International in Hong Kong. […] Long a testing ground for experiments in Internet surveillance and censorship, Xinjiang is a rugged and sparsely populated region in China’s west. In 2009, the Internet in the region was shut off for almost six months after riots by the local Turkic-speaking Uighur minority and Han Chinese. Since then, clashes between the government and the Uighurs, most of whom are Muslim and make up about 40 percent of Xinjiang’s population, have been on the rise. [..] “Xinjiang is really the frontier for Internet surveillance in China because of the terrorism issue and the risk of violence,” Mr. Bequelin said.//Source: New York Times, 23 November 2015.

Journalist Gao Yu (高瑜) received reduction in her sentence to 5 years for ‘leaking state secret’

  • //While dissident journalist Gao Yu was said to be released from her 20-month detention on state secret charges for medical reasons, the outcome of her case actually hinged upon one thing: a confession. State media said Gao, 71, who has heart disease and high blood pressure, was allowed to serve her sentence outside jail due to her “severe illnesses”. Just a few hours before the announcement, Gao, who had earlier insisted on her innocence, pleaded guilty at an appeal hearing at a high court in Beijing, which cut Gao’s original jail term of seven years to five, said a Xinhua report headlined “Gao Yu confesses and regrets her guilt.”// Source: SCMP, 28 November 2015.
  • //新華社今日下午報道,經高瑜本人申請,根據指定醫院診斷並出具的證明文件,認為高瑜確係患有嚴重疾病,符合《中華人民共和國刑事訴訟法》第二百五十四條第一款第(一)項的規定,依法決定對高瑜暫予監外執行。[…] 莫少平說,不排除高瑜會獲准保外就醫,有關申請程序一直在進行,要等作出一審判決的北京市第三中級人民法院處理。//Source: SCMP (Chinese edition), 26 November 2015.
  • The background of her case:
  • //71-year-old journalist Gao Yu was sentenced to seven years in prison on Friday for leaking an internal memo on “seven perils” to Party rule to foreign media. She maintains her innocence, and will appeal. The case against Gao reportedly hinged on her own confession, which was televised on state broadcaster CCTV without her knowledge and which she says was made only after investigators threatened her son.// Source: China Digital Times, 17 April 2015.
  • //She is accused of “illegally providing state secrets beyond [China’s] borders,” a charge stemming, many believe, from the leak in 2013 of the so-called “Document No. 9,” in which the Chinese Communist Party restricted discussion of a range of issues it regards as sensitive, including constitutionalism, civil society and press freedom. According to Gao Yu’s lawyers, prosecutors accused her of leaking an unspecified document to Hong Kong’s Mirror Monthly (明镜), which in 2013 did publish a document identified as “Document No. 9.”// Source: China Media Project, 17 April 2015.

Rights activist Yang Maodong (杨茂东) sentenced six years in prison

  • //Yang Maodong, a hardened veteran of political protest in southern China, knew he had virtually no hope of winning his freedom on Friday when he was brought into a courtroom to face a judge’s verdict on charges that he had disturbed public order. […] Mr. Yang — a human rights campaigner better known by his pen name, Guo Feixiong — was surprised when the judge in the Tianhe District People’s Court in Guangzhou revealed a new charge against the defendant: “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Mr. Yang, who stood trial almost a year ago, was convicted Friday on that new charge and the original one, and he was sentenced to a total of six years, two more than expected. ”This verdict is persecution. It violates rule of law,” Mr. Yang told the court on Friday, according to Zhang Lei, one of his two lawyers.// Source: New York Times, 29 November 2015.
  • //Mr Yang, 48, better known by his pen name Guo Feixiong, had been detained since organising a week-long peaceful protest outside a newspaper office in the southern city of Guangzhou in 2013. Amnesty International branded the sentence “a clear-cut act of political persecution”. Two other activists Liu Yuandong and Sun Desheng were also jailed on Friday. Yang Maodong had helped organise a press freedom protest outside the Southern Weekly in Guangzhou in January 2013, after its reporters complained that the newspaper’s New Year message urging stricter adherence to the constitution had been changed by censors. He also encouraged activists to hold up placards in several other cities. […] Mr Yang’s lawyer, Zhang Lei, told Reuters on Friday: “He wasn’t guilty of anything at all. This sentence is unacceptable and unfair.” Mr Yang’s sister said the trial amounted to “cruelty and political persecution”. Another of his lawyers, Li Jinxing, said that minutes before the trial the court in Guangzhou had added a charge of provoking troubles, which allowed for a longer sentence. Sun Desheng was jailed for two and a half years and Liu Yuandong for three years for disturbing public order. // Source: BBC, 27 November 2015.
  • Human Rights in China (HRIC) argued that Yang Maodong suffered from torture and abuse during his detention: //the Guangzhou Municipal Tianhe District People’s Court added one more charge for rights activist Guo Feixiong (郭飞雄), also known as Yang Maodong (杨茂东), and convicted him of both “gathering crowds to disrupt order in public places”—for which he was tried—and “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” The court sentenced Guo to six years of imprisonment. Guo’s co-defendant, Sun Desheng (孙德胜), received a two-and-a-half-year prison term for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles.” In a separate case, the court convicted Liu Yuandong (刘远东), who was tried in January 2014, of “gathering crowds to disrupt order in public places” and sentenced him to three years in prison. […] Guo’s abuse in detention since August 8, 2013 included sexual assault and harassment, being hooded, cuffed excessively, and psychologically tortured. Guo provided details in a June 2015 complaint he made against the Tianhe Detention Center for subjecting detainees, including himself, to daily strip searches, as well as a state compensation claim for being covered in a black hood, and having his wrists cuffed behind his back and his legs shackled tightly when bailiffs escorted him to a pretrial hearing and two court hearings. […] Guo was also denied access to a lawyer for three months in the initial period of his detention, has had no access to outdoors during his entire detention—more than 800 days—and has been kept in a cell with more than 30 other inmates. In 2005, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture identified the practice of “hooding” and excessive cuffing of prisoners and detainees as a problem. Yet, ten years later, such practices continue in China. All of these activities are clear violations of the duties that China owes its citizens under international law, including the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and make a mockery of China’s claim during its recent review by the Committee Against Torture that: “‘Reports’ that some so-called ‘holders of different political views’ have been forbidden from having contact with the outside world and detained for periods exceeding three months and have been ‘tortured’ are untrue.”// Source: HRIC, 27 November 2015.
  • For a more comprehensive background of Yang Maodong, please find it here prepared by China Media Project.

Homosexual activists successfully lodged lawsuit in Beijing against prejudice

  • // Gay activists in China brought their demands for public acceptance to a court here on Tuesday, when a student pressed education officials to remove books that describe homosexuality as an affliction. The meeting at a court in the Fengtai district, an industrial suburb of Beijing, came after months of campaigning by Chen Qiuyan, a university student in southern China who has demanded that the Ministry of Education amend or cut the offending textbooks and course materials. […] Her meeting with two education officials lasted an hour and ended without reaching an agreement, said Ms. Chen’s lawyer, Wang Zhenyu, who also attended. […] But Mr. Wang and other supporters said that, even without a decisive outcome, the encounter was a small victory given that the Chinese government has increasingly restricted and detained advocates of contentious social causes, including feminists, human rights lawyers and civic groups. […] Homosexuality is not outlawed in China, although the police can use other legal provisions against gays. And hostility and intolerance can make it difficult for many people to live as openly gay. […] A study last year by the Gay and Lesbian Campus Association in China, based in Guangzhou, found that, in 31 psychology textbooks that were published in China after 2001 and that mentioned homosexuality, 13 classified it as a disorder.// Source: New York Times, 25 November 2015.

Hong Kong

District Council Election

  • A number of points are listed below to summarize the District Council Election in 2015. There are 18 administrative districts in Hong Kong and each district has one district council. In total there are 458 district councillors across the city and 431 seats are open for election while 27 seats are ex-official members representing the indigent inhabitants of the New Territories. For a detail breakdown of results by political parties in Hong Kong, please refer to the report prepared by the Hong Kong Free Press. For the geographical distribution of winning political parties by district, please find the interactive map here prepared by the Stand News.
  • Record turnout rate: usually benefiting the pro-democracy camp but not significant this time.
  • // Voters turned out in record numbers in Sunday’s District Council elections, scoring a historic turnout rate of 47 per cent and early results saw two veteran pro-democracy lawmakers defeated and at least three candidates inspired by last year’s Occupy protests scored unexpected victories. […] Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a political scientist at Chinese University, said more voters turned out because people who were for or against the Occupy protests wanted to make their voices heard in the wake of the movement that had polarised the community. “Pan-democrats should not be over-optimistic about the higher turnout, or take it for granted that their candidates would benefit from it,” he said. Ma Ngok, another political scientist from Chinese University, believed the failed political reform and the controversy over the HKU council’s rejection of the appointment of liberal scholar Johannes Chan Man-mun as a pro-vice-chancellor might encourage more people to vote.// Source: SCMP, 23 November 2015.
  • Pro-establishment parties continued to be dominant in district council:
  • After the district council election, pro-establishment parties continued to receive the lion’s share of the seats across the city, with 298 out of 431 seats (69.1%), accounting for 53.55% of total votes. Pro-democracy parties, including “umbrella soldiers”, won 114 out of 431 seats (26.5%), accounting for 36.4% of total votes.
  • //今屆區選總票數4萬,比2011年增26.4 萬。據本報統計,泛民、建制兩陣的得票量都較上屆增長,但民主派的得票率下跌:建制得77萬票,得票率比2011年時微升1.83個百分點至 53.35%;泛民得票45.2萬,比率較2011年下跌2.54個百分點至31.27%。傘兵取得7.3萬票,得票率5.08%,其餘14.9萬票由 「其他派別」取得。不過,如把泛民及傘兵票數加起來合共有52.5萬, 得票率有36.4%。//Source: MingPao, 24 November 2015
  • //今屆直選議席由412席增至431席,同時取消委任制 度,更被視為選民是否接受雨傘運動在社區延續的「溫度計」。結果顯示,整體親建制陣營合共取得298席,較上屆減少13席,新增議席主要被泛民、「傘兵」 瓜分。泛民整體議席由92席增至106席,另外8名傘兵成功搶灘晉身區議會,令民主派合共奪得114席,佔奪四分之一版圖。// Source: MingPao, 24 November 2015.
  • “Umbrella soldiers” received unexpectedly good result:
  • //But the new faces collectively known as the “umbrella soldiers” – an insignificant brand in local politics until the Sunday polls in which they won 15 per cent of all pro-democracy votes – are not expecting a linear path to growth. // Source: SCMP, 25 November 2015.
  • //Dr James Sung Lap-kung, a political scientist at City University, admitted he had previously underestimated the umbrella soldiers, referring to young Occupy activists who took part in the elections in a bid to push for more democracy from within. They ended up taking at least seven seats in Sunday’s poll. Sung said their wins were “clear indication” that young, first-time voters had played a powerful role. But Dr Chung Kim-wah, associate professor at Polytechnic University’s department of applied social sciences, said it was too early to jump to conclusions. “Because of the unexpectedly good performances of some so-called umbrella soldiers, some may think it was because many first-time young voters came out to vote for those candidates. But we should not overlook that the increase in young newly registered voters is not as high as that in older newly registered voters.”// Source: SCMP, 24 November 2015.
  • Radical parties did not gain much support:
  • //But the worst nightmare befell the pro-democracy radical groups of People Power and the League of Social Democrats, which saw their vote share shrink by almost 60 per cent combined, a clear sign of where voters’ threshold for radicalism lay. // Source: SCMP, 25 November 2015.
  •  Many young candidates won while some political heavyweights lost:
  • //兩陣政治力量版圖沒有大變,卻人面全非。今屆選舉有73名候選人競逐連任失敗;同時有75名候選人首次參選就當選,其中33人是30歲以下的新人。據有報年齡的候選人資料統計,今屆當選者平均年齡是4歲,較上屆的46.3歲年輕。泛 民、建制主要政黨除了有立法會議員落馬,亦有多名老將鎩羽而歸,當中有自回歸後擔任區議員至今的老將,被20多歲的年輕對手擊倒(見表),各黨派亦有大批 35歲以下的新人當選。民主黨、民協、民建聯和工聯會等政黨,昨日總結選舉結果時,不約而同標榜黨內新人成功上位,反映新舊交替換血成功(見另稿),稱這 反映社會期盼新生代參政// Source: MingPao, 24 November 2015.
  • Politicians with localist inclination scored well:
  • As Hong Kong’s political commentator Ivan Choy argued that the election result might indicate a change of policy within political parties in favor of local agenda and diminish the prospect of communication between politicians in Hong Kong and officials in Beijing.
  • //本土、反溝通、激進路線的抬頭(一)「傘兵」的區選成績,讓人刮目相看;(二)泛民中一些代表溫和路線,主張與北京溝通的代表人物,如馮檢基、何俊仁,以至所謂「第三路線」的黃成智都告落敗;(三)相反,民主黨內高調批評該黨見京官馮巍的區諾軒,以「反水貨」為政綱主打的林卓廷,以及其他「乳鴿」,卻都選得不錯,與黨內「大佬」成績成了強烈對比;(四)主打「本土議題」和「反大陸化」的新同盟,成了泛民區選表現最突出的政黨;這幾點加起來,對香港的政治生態,難免會起了相當的衝擊。這會讓反對與北京溝通、主張本土,以及較激進抗爭路線的泛民新一代,其話語權在泛民陣營中迅速壯大;相反,主張溫和與溝通的,卻偃旗息鼓。// Source: PenToy, 24 November 2015.
  • Pro-government camp has secured voter base:
  • //有分析认为,民建联、工联会候选人获胜,尤其是一些年轻人通过区议会选举成功登上政治舞台,与这些政治团体平时注意根植社区、服务市民密切相关。他们通过关注民生议题,助力经济发展,维护市民切身利益,赢得了多数市民的选票支持。此外,国家经济发展平稳,民生持续改善,国际地位不断提升,也对爱国爱港候选人的选情发挥了积极效应,而一些靠抹黑国家,挑动两地矛盾博出位的候选人则一败涂地。香港中文大学前政治系主任郑赤琰教授认为,民建联此次的选举策略和动员方法收到成效,在锁定的3个反对派“大佬”中成功击败2名,显示了稳定的选民基础。本届26万新登记选民中,约45%是年轻“首投族”,反映出新生代对政治参与的热情。民建联立法会议员叶国谦表示,明年立法会选举中,年轻“首投族”的票源,将成为建制派与反对派的争夺目标。// Source: People’s Daily (Overseas Edition), 24 November 2015.

Proposal of China’s security officials to enforce law in Hong Kong in the High-speed Rail checkpoint

  • The proposal to have Mainland immigration officers stationed in the High-speed Rail Terminal in West Kowloon raised concerns about its implication for ‘One Country Two Systems’ with regard to law enforcement.
  • //Mainland officers will be taking up law enforcement duties in Hong Kong when the budget-busting cross-border railway linking Kowloon with Guangzhou opens in 2018, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung has confirmed […] Ronny Tong Ka-wah wondered what would happen if a traveller crossed the mainland checkpoint in Kowloon, boarded a train and committed a mainland offence that was not criminal in Hong Kong while the train was still within the city’s territory. […] Under the Basic Law, Hong Kong does not apply national laws except for those listed in Annex III, making the rail issue “more complicated” – according to Yuen – than travel arrangements between the US and Canada or between France and Britain regarding the Eurostar service.// Source: SCMP, 22 November 2015.
  • Chris Yeung summarized the supporting and opposing arguments for the co-location of immigration officers: //Proponents of giving green-light to mainland officers to enforce law in Hong Kong argue the city’s authorities have been given similar right in the Shenzhen Bay joint immigration checkpoints in Shekou. Under the principle of reciprocity, Hong Kong should grant the same power to the mainland. Opponents insist Basic Law Article 18 says clearly only national laws listed under Annex III shall be applied in the SAR. Legislator Dennis Kwok, who represents the legal functional constituency, said it is not appropriate to amend Annex III for the co-location arrangement because the matter falls within the city’s high degree of autonomy. Some people suggested the central authorities should delegate powers to the SAR government to handle the exit and entry of people at the terminus. Yuen’s statement shows Beijing stood firm on the power of immigration control, which it deems as “one country” issue. Despite the “two systems” pledge, the room of flexibility Beijing may allow is limited, if there is any at all. The conundrum, however, is clear. Without co-location arrangement, cynics rightly say the high-speed rail link will become “just another Hong Kong-Guangdong through train that runs faster” but with a price tag of close to HK$90 billion..// Voice of Hong Kong, 22 November 2015.

Hong Kong’s contribution to solving climate change problem

  • //Hong Kong may not be directly involved with state-to-state climate negotiations but Wong Kam-sing, the environment secretary, is heading into next month’s United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris with a degree of confidence. He said Hong Kong’s total emissions will peak around 2020, when a shake-up in how the city gets its electric power is slated for completion and a cluster of coal-fired plants are retired to make way for relatively cleaner gas-fired ones – roughly a decade earlier than the mainland’s pledge to peak emissions around 2030. By “around 2020”, Hong Kong will be on track to reduce its carbon intensity – emissions per unit of GDP – by 50 to 60 per cent and energy intensity by up to 40 per cent. By that year, it will have already met its 2010 target of reducing total emissions by 19 to 33 per cent from 2005 levels, he said. […] Greenpeace had calculated that under a “business as usual” approach”, only 31 per cent of emissions could be cut in the next two decades. It called on the government to stop nuclear imports when the contract with the Daya Bay nuclear plant comes to an end in 2034 and to boost renewables in the fuel mix. […] Cheung Chi-wah, WWF Hong Kong’s senior head for climate, said the government urgently needed a climate plan that would go beyond 2020.// Source: SCMP, 22 November 2015.

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