Snapshots #8 – President Turned Emperor: China’s Constitutional Reform 從習大大到習帝

Snapshots #8 – President Turned Emperor: China’s Constitutional Reform 從習大大到習帝

《新華社》在上月底公布《中共中央關於修改憲法部分內容的建議》,當中涉及多個具爭議性的重要修憲建議,而最觸目的無疑是取消國家主席的任期限制。中國現行的《八二憲法》是在文化大革命後,經過「全黨深入反思」所制定的。是此修憲不單不符民主精神,更與《八二憲法》的精神有所違背,反而推使中國進一步走向「黨管一切」,甚至習近平個人的集權。修憲建議將於昨天開幕的全國人大中審議,普遍預料將獲得通過。修憲一旦通過不單是中國政治改革的一大倒退,對中國長遠發展也帶來巨大的危機。是此 Snapshot 將列出修憲的四個主要建議和其對中國政局的影響。

Xinhua News Agency announced ‘Central Committee of the Communist Party of China suggestions of changes to the Constitution’ at the end of last month. Many of the suggestions proved controversial; the one about removing the presidential term limit particularly attracted international attention. The 1982 Constitution China has now is established after the Cultural Revolution, a product of the collective reflection of the Party. The amendments to the Constitution proposed recently are not solely undemocratic, because it is a big step towards consolidating Xi Jinping’s personalistic rule; but they also betray the spirit of the 1982 Constitution. The proposed amendments to the Constitution will be discussed in the National People’s Congress which was inaugurated yesterday (5th March 2018), and it is widely predicted that the amendments will pass without much difficulty. The amendments to the Constitution constitute not only a big step backwards for China’s political reforms, but also a threat to China’s long-term development. This Snapshot will outline the four main proposed amendments and how they will affect the political landscape in China.

 

【取消國家主席任期限制】

《八二憲法》規定國家主席的任期一屆五年,連任不得超過兩屆,被視為鄧小平最重要的政治遺產之一。修憲建議取消國家主席的任期限制,亦即習近平可以終身連任國家主席。官方對於取消任期大致提出了兩個理由。第一、現時中共總書記、中央軍委主席的任期並無限制,如人大發言人回應記者提問時表示「憲法對國家主席的相關規定,也採取上述做法,有利維護習近平在黨中央的權威和統一領導,有利於加強完善國家領導統治。」第二、如人大副委員長向人大解釋修憲時表示,「這次徵求意見和在基層調研過程中,許多地區、部門和廣大黨員幹部群眾一致呼籲修改憲法中國家主席任職期限的有關規定」。

以上論述是否真確和是否足以推翻國家主席任期限制令人懷疑。有關的消息傳出後,中國網絡上出現了不少震驚和反對的聲音。「吾皇」、「終身」、「不要臉」、「移民」等檢索詞都被屏蔽。網絡上流傳「我為什麼想當皇帝——袁世凱採訪手記」的文章(內容諷刺是此修憲內容)也被刪除。但令不少學者意外的在於習近平一舉推翻鄧小平任內設立的多個政治規矩和傳統。習上台以來,集
大權於一身,推翻了集體領導;以反貪拿下孫政才,廢掉了傳聞中的指定接班人;如今在兩會上除了有傳將會使王岐山擔任國家副主席,打破「七上八下」的潛規則外,更無限期延長自己的任期,鄧小平思想至少在政治上似乎已經變得有名無實。

《八二憲法》之所以規定國家主席任期,目的就在於防止中國回到一人獨裁的時代,避免文化大革命的災難重演。如今連這個保護欄也被廢了武功,中國的政治前景實在令人擔憂。有學者預計雖然是此修憲會令中國政策和發展方向更具持續性,但中國將步入「毛澤東後期」,出現阿諛奉承、政策停滯,也會增加國際社會對於「中國威脅論」的恐懼。

【Removing presidential term limit】

The 1982 Constitution stipulates that the length of a term of presidency is five years, and the President can only serve two terms at most. This term limit is seen as one of Deng Xiaoping’s most important legacies. The removal of presidential term limit means that Xi can potentially serve for life as the President. The Party has two explanations for this proposed amendments. Firstly, the positions of General Secretary and Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Party, positions conventionally served by the President and the real sources of power for the largely ceremonial role of the President, do not have any term limits. Secondly, as the Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress explained, every level of the Party has been consulted in the process, and the proposed amendment is the consensus.

Regardless of whether the explanations are credible, internet users in China reacted with shock and disagreement to the news. Search terms such as ‘Emperor’, ‘For life’, ‘Shameless’ and ‘Emigration’ are censored. An article titled ‘Why I want to become the Emperor: interview with Yuan Shikai’ went viral on the internet. With its obvious meaning of mockery, it was soon removed from the internet. However, what shocked academics is the utter disregard for the legacies of Deng Xiaoping Xi has shown. Since Xi rose to power, he failed to follow the principle of ‘collective leadership’. Using the name of anti-corruption, Sun Zhengcai, the alleged successor to Xi, was arrested. Except that Wang Qishan is rumoured to be the next Vice President, Xi did not name any successors, breaking the tacit rule of ‘seven up eight down’, which is that a member of the Politburo stays when he is 67 years old, and resigns when he is 68. Deng Xiaoping’s thoughts are becoming merely meaningless words on the Constitution.

The rationale behind the presidential term limit in the 1982 Constitution is to prevent China from returning to the personalistic rule of Mao, the era of Cultural Revolution. Now that the only legal protection against that is gone, the future of China is extremely worrying. Although some academics argue that enabling the President to serve more terms will increase the consistency of policies and direction of development, but others have argued that this is the beginning of the ‘Post-Mao era’, where nepotism and ineptitude thrive, and policies die.

 

【習近平思想入憲】

中國憲法的序言羅列了從毛澤東起到江澤民的治國方針為「指導思想」。而一如所料,「習近平新時代中國特色社會主義思想」在十九大被加入黨章後,亦將和胡錦濤的「科學發展觀」,一同被加入憲法序言。一月份,中共召開二中全會(第十九届中央全體委員會第二次會議)討論修憲,並在公報解釋修憲的原因,當中指出:「把黨的十九大確定的重大理論觀點和重大方針政策特别是習近平新時代中國特色社會主義思想載入國家根本法,體現黨和國家事業發展的新成就新經驗新要求...,為實現中華民族偉大復興的中國夢提供有力憲法保障。」

有關建議一旦通過,習近平將成為繼毛澤東後,第一位在任的中共領導人能把自己的思想冠名加入憲法。分析指出,雖然習思想的具體內容語焉不詳,但習近平將自己的思想、名字加入憲法,無疑是希望確立自己的地位,與過去的領導人相提並論,使黨內外都無法挑戰他的權威和意識形態,甚至可以使他與毛澤東、鄧小平置於同一個政治高度上。

雖然習思想沒有被放在一本語錄之內,但是有關的書籍滿街皆是,打著習思想為旗幟的口號街知巷聞,而各級官員、機構,甚至學生也需要研讀習思想的內容。這些做法無疑助長了對於習近平的個人崇拜,其力度雖然不可與文革同日而語,但對於法治以致一個健康的公民社會已經帶來巨大的潛在威脅。

【Xi Jinping’s Thought adopted by the Constitution】

The Chinese Constitution lists the philosophies of leaders from Mao Zedong to Jiang Zemin as China’s guiding thoughts. As predicted, as ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era has already been added to Party Constitution in the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China’, it is proposed to be added to the Constitution along with Hu Jintao’s ‘Scientific Outlook on Development’. The Second Conference of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China this January produced an announcement to explain the reasons behind the amendment--“Major theoretical achievements, principles and policies adopted at the 19th CPC National Congress, especially Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, should be incorporated into a revision to the Constitution. New achievements, experiences and requirements of the development of the Party and nation should be embodied in the revised Constitution.”

If the amendment is passed, Xi will become the first leader after Mao who proposes to add his political thought into the constitution. Some commentators point out that although the content of Xi Jinping Thought is not clear, the fact that Xi is adding his name and political thought into the Constitution demonstrates that he wishes to consolidate his position within and outside the Party, and raise it to be on a par with previous leaders, including Mao and Deng.

Although Xi does not have an equivalent of the Little Red Book, but books about his philosophy are seen and sold everywhere. Slogans of all levels of officials, organisations and students’ education curricula are centred around Xi’s thought. The enshrinement of Xi Jinping Thought in the Constitution is no doubt a step towards a cult of personality. Although an analogy cannot be drawn between the current situation and the Cultural Revolution, Xi’s move can threaten a healthy political regime and civil society in the long run.

 

【憲法內文確立共產黨執政】

修憲內容中建議憲法條文第一條第二款新增了一句「中國共產黨領導是中國特色社會主義最本質的特徵」。在毛澤東時代,憲法正文中多次中國共產黨領導,定名中共的執政地位,甚至指出「公民的基本權利和義務是擁護中國共產黨的領導」。文革結束後,《八二憲法》除了序言中「中共執政」的事實陳述,將正文中有關共產黨的論述全部刪除。

是此修訂明顯是一次歷史倒退,使得中國回到「黨天下」的局面,把自鄧小平時期(尤其是趙紫陽)的政治改革一掃而空。前中紀委書記王岐山在去年兩會便談到:「在黨的領導下,只有黨政分工、沒有黨政分開。」在兩會之前召開的三中全會中通過了《深化黨和國家機構改革方案》,公報中指出「深化黨和國家機構改革的首要任務是,完善堅持黨的全面領導的制度,加強黨對各領域各方面工作領導,確保黨的領導全覆蓋,確保黨的領導更加堅強有力」。BBC的報導中形容這個所謂深化改革方案,「實際上是不改革方案,是反改革方案,也就是說,是和中共十一屆三中全會所確立的改革方向背道而馳的」。中共這樣的論述不單和以往一般重申黨的領導地位,更強調黨要進入社會各個層面和單位,包括企業,使自由經濟進一步收窄;同時,政府和黨的影響滲透到人民生活的每個層面,使個人自由進一步收縮。

【Refirming one-party rule】

A clause is proposed to be added to Article 1 Section 2 of the Constitution, ‘The leadership of the Communist Party of China is the quintessential characteristic of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’. During the Mao era, the Constitution establishes the rule of Communist Party in numerous instances. It even stipulates that it is a citizen’s basic right and duty to support the leadership of the Party. After the Cultural Revolution, the 1982 Constitution is stripped of many of those references, except stating that the Communist Party is the ruling party.

This amendment is again a regression, reversing Deng’s and especially Zhao Ziyang’s political reforms to separate the state and the party during their times in power. Former Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Wang Qishan made the statement two years ago that ‘Under the leadership of the Party, there is only a distribution of labour between the party and the state, not a separation.’ In announcing the passing of the ‘Plans to Deepen the Reform of the Party and the Government Institutions’, the National People’s Congress pointed out that the primary mission in deepening the reforms of the Party and the government institutions is to maintain the all-round leadership of the Party, thus strengthening the leadership of the Party. Quoting BBC China, this reform proposal is in fact an anti-reform proposal. Its conservatism runs counter to the principles of reform established in the 11th National People’s Congress. The narrative adopted by the 13th National People’s Congress not only reaffirms the leadership position of the Party, it also emphasises the significance of party in all areas and levels in society, overshadowing individual liberties.

 

【設立國家監察委員會】

是此修憲另一重要改革在於設立與人民法院、檢察院同級的國家監察委員會,統整和擴大反貪的工作單位。目前中共反貪的主要機關為中紀委,但是紀委只屬於黨的機關,無權監督非中共黨籍人士。而國家的反貪機關可謂「九龍治水」,涉及監察部、檢察院的反貪、反瀆職部門、審計署等。是此改革將反貪的國家機關整合成監察委員會,同黨的紀律檢查機關「合署辦公」。

這次改革從正面來看能夠「整合反腐敗資源力量,擴大監察範圍,豐富監察手段,實現對行使公權力的公職人員監察全面覆蓋」,對於打貪和建立所謂「不敢腐、不能腐、不想腐」的風氣可能有幫助。但是,更令人擔憂的是,這個改革擴大了共產黨對於公民的控制,而監察委缺乏制衡的權利也是對法治赤裸的破壞。監察部部長楊曉渡早前沒有否認監察委將會受黨的領導;他更表示監察委直接向黨中央報告工作,接受黨領導、由黨監督,實現黨的統一領導。這項改革變相令不屬於共產黨黨員的公民,尤其是原本較難管的國企高層,甚至基層群眾性政治組織,也受制於黨的管理,能夠以「反貪」為名抓捕,可謂實施「黨管一切」的第一步。此外,監察委擁有龐大的權利,從談話查詢,到凍結、搜查、扣押等。雖然具體權限仍有待詳細的法規公佈,但現行試點的監察委主任表示他們有權在查辦期間留置嫌疑人最高6個月,甚至有權審查法官和檢察官。此舉明顯違反了最基本的法治精神,縱容以公權限制個人權利。

【Establishing National Supervision Commission of the People's Republic of China】

The proposed National Supervision Committee shares the same legal status as the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. The aim of the Committee is to coordinate and expand the anti-corruption efforts. The main institution that deals with corruption currently is the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. However, it is only a party institution, so its jurisdiction does not extend to officials that are not Party members. This reform combine government agencies that already handle corruption cases, including the Ministry of Supervision, the anti-corruption unit of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, Anti-misfeasance unit and the National Audit Office.

The positives of this reform are that anti-corruption efforts can be combined and strengthened, given that their area of jurisdiction will be expanded to encompass all officials. This will further discourage the culture of corruption. However, the worrying side of the reform is that the Communist Party’s grip on the lives of citizens will be firmer, and the sheer power possessed by the Committee paralleled by only few other institutions can potentially damage the rule of law. The Minister of Supervision Yang Xiaodu did not deny earlier that the Committee will be under the leadership of the Party. He stated that the Committee will report directly to the Central Committee of the Party, led and monitored by the Party, demonstrating the all-round leadership that the Party has. This reform means that individuals that are not members of the Party including the board members of enterprises owned by the state, even the members of political organisations, will fall under the area of jurisdiction of anti-corruption efforts. Also, the committee possesses a lot of power, from interrogation, asset freezing, to searching and detainment. Although the exact powers possessed by the Committee have yet to be announced, the provisional Committee has the right to detain a suspect for up to six months, and the right to interrogate judges and prosecutors. This move is a betrayal of the spirit of rule of law, and a threat to the rights of private individuals.

Snapshots #7 – On Strike: a HK perspective 港講:英罷工?

Snapshots #7 – On Strike: a HK perspective 港講:英罷工?

【中文版本附於英文版本之後】

While high school students over the States are boycotting classes for gun control and bus drivers of KMB striking for fairer remuneration, employees at UK universities also refuse to remain silent. Lecturers at multiple Universities are now striking because of a new proposal for their pension scheme. In this Snapshot, we will explain the causes of the strike. We have also interviewed three current students at the University of Cambridge, hoping to analyse this movement from a local, international and Hong Kong perspective, and further reflect upon the role and value of student movements and strikes.

*Answers to the interview only represent the stance of individual interviewees and do not represent the view of the Society

正當美國中學生為了槍械管制而罷課,香港九巴司機為了公平的待遇而罷工,英國的大學員工也沒有靜下來。多間大學的講師正因為退休金的改革方案而罷工。本期Snapshot將解釋是此罷工的前因後果,並訪問了三名在劍橋大學就讀的學生,從本地、國際、香港不同的角度看這次運動,也籍此反思學生運動與罷工的價值和意義。

*所有受訪者均以英語回應,中文內容為編者所譯;採訪內容僅代表個別學生意見,並不代表本會立場

Cover photos credit: Alvin Wong

 

 

The Universities Superannuation Scheme 大學退休金計劃 (USS)

【What is the USS and how does it work?】

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is one of the largest private pension schemes in the UK and is the principal scheme for academic and comparable staff in UK universities and other higher education and research institutions. 

Under the unchanged USS, all members are subscribed to the USS Retirement Income Builder (USS RIB), an accumulation scheme that gives certainty about future pension benefits. Members contribute 8% of their salary every month, matched at 18% by employers, the value of which is protected against inflation. At retirement, members receive income based on their contributions every month, equal to 1/75 of their salary; alternatively they can take 3 times their total pension savings under the USS RIB as a one-off tax-free lump sum. They may also only take part of the tax-free lump sum payment in exchange for a higher monthly income.

For members earning beyond an income threshold (£55,000/year), the USS Investment Builder is a mandatory alternative that can offer a higher amount of savings, but contains risks of uncertainty (this alternative is optional for those below the threshold). Similar to the USS RIB, members contribute 8% of their salary every month, matched at 12% by employers. A ‘match’ mechanism also exists for the first 1% of voluntary additional payments into the USS Investment Builder to be matched by employers. These savings are invested in options chosen by the member, such that the savings’ value is now based on the investment and thus can fluctuate according to market conditions.

【How is the USS being changed?】

The proposed new scheme consists only of the USS Investment Builder, meaning the defined/guaranteed portion of the pension benefits are now removed. Instead, the scheme will base benefits on how well investments perform, meaning value of pensions can both rise and fall. The ‘match’ mechanism that benefitted voluntary additional payments is also proposed to be removed.

Employer contributions are proposed to remain at 18% of salary, though only 13.25% go directly into pension savings, whilst the rest cover death and incapacity payments,
deficit recovery contributions, and scheme running costs. Moreover, benefits already earned before the changes are made are not affected.

【什麼是大學退休金計劃(USS)?】

大學退休金計劃是英國其中一個最大的私人退休金制度,也是絕大部分學者和其他在英國大學、高等院校、研究機構職員的退休金計劃。

在現行的USS底下,所有成員會受惠於USS退休收入建設計劃(USS RIB)。此計劃為大學的職員提供穩定的退休保障。成員只需要每月從工資中供8%到這個計劃,加上雇主的18%(根據通脹調整),退休後便能根據每月供款,每月獲得相等於月薪1/75的退休金。僱員也可以選擇一次過從USS RIB中取得最多比他們總退休金儲蓄三倍的免稅金額。

假若僱員年薪超過£55,000,僱員就必須使用另一個退休金計劃(USS Investment Builder)(月入低於此水平的僱員也可以自願參加這個計劃)。這個計劃提供更高的回報,但同時帶來更多的不穩定性。類似於USS RIB,僱員需要供款月薪8%,而雇主則供款月薪12%。此外,計劃內還設有配對計劃,僱員假若願意自願將額外1%月薪放進退休金計劃,雇主便會進行配對。他們的儲蓄會用於投資在僱員選擇的產品,而退休金的金額則會根據投資表示和市場狀況而浮動。

【退休金改革方案】

新提出的退休金計劃只包含上述的USS Investment Builder 選項,設有固定退休保障的USS RIB計劃則被移除。因此,所有計劃內的僱員的退休金都會根據投資的表現而釐定,可升可跌。而自願額外公款的配對系統也被取消。

但是,雇主的供款依然會維持在18%。而在計劃改變前所取得的保障將不會受影響。

 

 

The Strike: For and Against 罷工行動

【Why is Universities UK (UUK) proposing a new scheme?】

Universities UK (UUK) is representing the views of more than 350 higher education employers on USS reform proposals. UUK states that difficult economic circumstances and increasing costs of paying out future pensions (by over a third since 2014) are exacerbating their deficit, which has reached £6.1bn. Moreover, they say an additional £1bn each year is required to keep the scheme as it is - which universities and staff cannot afford.

【Why is the University and College Union (UCU) opposing it?】

The University and College Union (UCU) represents over 110,000 employees in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK. UCU opposes the changes proposed as they estimate losses to retirement of 10-40% to employees.

As the value of existing benefits are to be protected, the changes also discriminate new entrants to the education industry, costing them £200,000 on retirement. UCU believes this phenomenon attacks the future of represented universities. Moreover, they argue that loss of new entrants will only create a worsening spiral of deficits for the USS, as no additional income is received to fund existing pensioners.

【The Strike】

Discussions between UUK and UCU ended without an agreement, and the proposed changes above by the UUK were passed through by their chair’s casting vote. In response, UCU has opted to place sustained pressure on employers.

On the 19th January, votes for industrial action by the UCU showed that members were largely in favour of strike action, with 88% voting for action consisting of strike and 93% for action short of strike (ASOS). For members employed by the University of Cambridge, that number reached 89.4% and 95.8% respectively.

Strike action began on 22nd February, with a planned 14 days of strikes spread over four weeks. Strikes entail doing no work at all on strike days, and refusal to enter university premises except to join picket lines. ASOS is to be conducted from the first day of strike on non-strike days to the end of the industrial action, which includes ‘working to contract’ (only working minimally as required by contracts), not taking on voluntary work, not rescheduling classes, and not covering for any colleagues.

【UUK為什麼提出新的改革方案?】

UUK代表超過350間高等教育的雇主就退休金改革的意見。UUK表示不明朗的經濟狀況,加上未來持續增加的退休金付款(從2014年起已佔總開支超過三分之一),令其財政虧損達到 £61億。再者,他們指出每年將需要額外£10億來維持顯示的計劃,而大學和職員將不能負擔這筆資金。

【UCU為什麼反對新的方案?】

大學與學院聯盟(UCU)代表超過11萬大學、學院、監獄、成人教育和進修機構的僱員。UCU反對退休金改革方案的原因在於改革將令僱員的退休金減少大概10-40%

由於現有的福利將會受到保障,有關的改革將對新入職高等教育業的僱員造成歧視性的影響,令他們退休時需要多付£20萬。UCU相信這次改革將影響大學的未來。他們也擔心因應雇主沒有在退休金上有額外的投入,退休金計劃只會有更大的虧損。

【罷工】

UUK和UCU的談判沒有達成共識,而有關的退休金改革由UUK的主席通過;因此UCU以罷工行動來向雇主施壓

在1月19日,UCU就工業行動在會員間進行了投票,88%投票的會員支持包含罷工的工業行動,而98%支持非罷工的行動。而在劍橋大學,兩者的支持度分別達89.4%和95.8%。

罷工行動在2月22日開始,計劃將會在四個月內分階段罷工14天。罷工行動包括在罷工日子內不工作和拒絕進入大學範圍(加入糾察線除外)。在沒有罷工的日子將進行其他類型的工業行動,包括按章工作,不參與大學裡的義務工作,不補課和不為其他同事代課等。

Katie Nelson - 2nd Year law student

Q: Why is the strike relevant to students?

The strike is important and relevant to all students simply because the proposed pension changes will have a detrimental impact on staff who work hard to provide us with a good education. The proposed pension changes seek to switch pension income from a guaranteed amount to one which depends on investments. Given that the University’s pension scheme (USS) is in a financial deficit, it is very likely that staff will lose a percentage of their retirement income. Students should stand in solidarity with staff.

Beyond this, though, the proposal to make pension income dependent on investments is deeply concerning and reflective of the wider issue of the marketisation of higher education. It logically follows that the university will have to up their investments in lucrative areas, which are often not the most ethical, if staff are to receive a decent pension.

Q: Is this just a “British issue”?

This is by no means just a British issue. All students are implicated in the strike as it affects almost all departments. As international students often pay far higher tuition than British/EU nationals, a particular concern might be the quality and value of teaching which might diminish if staff are not confident that they will be able to retire on a decent pension.

Q: 這次大學講師罷工與學生有什麼關係?

這次罷工不但重要,更與學生息息相關。現在提出的退休金改革方案將退休金由受保障的金額轉移至會根據投資而浮動。有見現時USS是處於財政負債的狀態,大學職員的退休金很可能會有一定百分比的損失。這個方案將負面地影響那些孜孜不倦地為我們提供優質教學的講師,我們作為學生應該與他們並肩團結,支持他們的訴求。

再者,這個方案引申出更大的憂慮——高等教育商業化。將退休金與投資掛鉤後,大學要令職員有合理的退休金,便需要將更多資源投資在有利可圖的行業上。此舉很多時候並不道德。

Q: 你認為罷工反映的議題只局限於英國嗎?

這當然不只是英國學生所要面對的議題。所有大學學生都會受到罷工的影響。作為海外學生,很多時候需要付更高的學費,他們更應該關注這個議題,因為教學的質素有機會因為講師失去信心能夠在退休的時候取得合理的退休金而下降。

 

Jun Pang — 3rd Year HSPS student, member of Cambridge Defend Education

Q: How will you convince an international student who is paying more than £20,000 a year for the education here to join in?

International students need to realise that the strike has implications for all of us. UCU isn’t just fighting for pensions – its members are exercising their right to engage in industrial action in order to defend their right to fair employment. Many students who have expressed broad support for the strike but who are continuing to cross the picket line say that the strike is inconvenient, and that it is obstructing their learning. But that is the point of a strike – to be disruptive, to shut the university down, to show that workers will not accept precarity and a loss of dignity and respect while lying down.

It is important to remember that the extortionate fees we pay to go to this university are not going to the lecturers and educators who make this place what it is – a place of critical thinking and learning. Instead, they are going to management officials, to infrastructural projects that do nothing to improve our educational experience. Looking at the UCU strike from the perspective of an individual consumer is incredibly myopic; you may be losing three supervisions, or two weeks’ worth of lectures, but our teaching staff and all future potential academic staff are losing the possibility of even the most minimal amount of financial security and stability.

Do not forget that lecturers on strike do not get paid for the days that they are striking – for many, that could amount to as much as a 6% loss of their annual salary, in addition to the proposed cuts to their pensions. Do not forget that striking lecturers who offer to reschedule supervisions are doing so out of a dedication to their profession – they are not being paid to engage in this labour. Do not forget that our lecturers would rather be teaching – that is their vocation – and they are striking not only for themselves but for the sake of the public good of education.

I believe in the liberatory power of education as a public good and in the importance of labour rights. In Hong Kong, the education system has been a political battleground (e.g. in the 2012 Scholarism protests) and industrial action has recently gained traction – people are mobilizing for the freedom of knowledge for future generations, and demanding better socioeconomic conditions in the face of growing disparities between rich and poor. It is our duty as those with privileged access to education to fight for a better society that works for the many, not the few – I firmly believe that this is a duty incumbent on us regardless of whether we are at home or abroad.

Q: How do you think the strike shed lights onto student movements in Hong Kong?

The USS strike has demonstrated to me the power of collective mobilisation in pursuit of coherent and meaningful political goals. It has rallied staff and student unity in support of fair employment rights, decolonisation, divestment, anti-neoliberalism and anti-marketisation – in such a crucial political moment, this is a particularly important and stark warning to the powers-that-be that the demands of the people will not go unheard. Participating in the strike has returned to me the same feeling of hope that I felt in Occupy in 2014 and in the summer of 2017 as a reporter covering the imprisonment of the NENT land right activists and Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, and Alex Chow. This time around, I am helping to organise breakfast runs to picket lines, speaking with striking staff – I am trying my best to put political beliefs into action.

We cannot do much as individuals – but again, it is a mistake to see the strike in individual, myopic terms. When we come together, we achieve so much more, and we gain and learn so much more from one another.

Q: 你怎樣說服一位每年需要交超過£20,000 學費的海外學生支持這次罷工?

海外學生需要明白這次罷工對我們所有人都有密切的影響。UCU(大學職員聯盟)不單是爭取退休金,而是行使他們應有罷工的權利,以保障他們公平受僱的權利。很多學生雖然支持罷工,卻對於需要穿過糾察線才能到自己的院系感到不便。但這正正是罷工需要達到的結果——帶來不便,使大學不能運作,展示職員不會接受剝削,沒有尊嚴和尊重的待遇。

我們也不應忘記我們所付的昂貴學費並不是轉到讓這裡成為批評思考學習的講師、教學人員身上;反之,卻被用於管理層的工資,或用來興建難以令我們受惠的新建築。假若我們只從個人角度去看罷工是很短視的。我們可能會失去一兩個小組指導課,或一兩個星期的講堂;但是如果不罷工,現在和未來的教學人員將失去的是得到最基本的退休保障和穩定

同時,我們也不要忘記罷工的講師是不能取得他們罷工期間應該所得的工資。對於很多講師來說,他們可能會面對6%的年均工資減少。而願意重新安排小組指導課的講師是完全出於他們對於教學的熱誠,他們不會得到任何工資。此外,講師其實更希望能夠在講堂裡教學——這是他們熱愛的職業,他們之所以罷工不單是為了他們自己,更是為了教育本身

我重視勞工的權利,也相信教育作為公共資產(public good)是崇尚自由的。在香港,教育制度成為政治發聲的平台(例如2012年的學民思潮示威),而工業行動也漸漸獲得牽動力——大眾開始為了下一代的思想自由而發聲,爭取更好的工作環境待遇以減少貧富的差距。我們作為有幸能夠接受教育的一群,更應該為爭取一個為大眾而非少眾而設的社會——無論身在何方,這都是我們的義務。

Q: 你認為這次罷工能夠為香港的學生運動帶來什麼啟示呢?

這次罷工展示集體行動能夠帶來實質的效果。罷工令職員、學生團結一起,爭取公平受僱的權利,更反映對 decolonisation, divestment, anti-neoliberalism, anti-marketisation 等其他教育議題的關注。我相信在今天的政治環境,這次行動向當權者清晰展現人民的聲音是不能被輕易模式。這次罷工亦讓我重新找到過往在2014年佔中,以致在去年暑假作為記者採訪新東示威著以及佔中三子的聆訊,所感受到的那股希望。這次我不再是一位旁觀者,而是在糾察線上為義工安排早餐,和罷工的職員談話,盡力將我的信念轉化為行動。

我們作為個人可能不能做什麼。但這次罷工不能夠以個人能衡量,當我們團結一起的時候,就能夠達成更多,從大家身上學到更多。

 

Alvin Wong - exchange student at Cambridge University from the Chinese University of Hong Kong

Q: What are the differences between the strike and student movements in Hong Kong?

“Students and Workers, Unite and Fight!” This chant marks the difference. When I was on
King’s Parade yesterday, I could not distinguish between students and lecturers. We were all standing next to each other, chanting the same slogan, fighting against the management for fair pensions. Teaching staff and students were united to battle against the common enemy.

However, it has quite not been the case in Hong Kong. When students attempt to push forward initiatives, teaching staff often choose not to play a role in the movements. For example, in the recent “Mandarin Incident” in the Hong Kong Baptist University, where students were trying to push the management to review the discriminatory graduation criteria (only Hong Kong students are required to pass the National Mandarin Test to graduate, while mainland students and international students have no such requirement), there was no sign of teaching staff taking part in the whole movement. Student movements in Hong Kong are, in the end, “student” movements.

Q: Some may say that the new pension scheme is part of the marketization of university education in the UK. To what extent do you think Hong Kong’s universities are affected by this trend of marketization?

Universities in Hong Kong may not be commodified in the same way it is happening here, but marketization has no doubt topped the agenda. Universities have been trying to ask for more funding from the government and donors by establishing greater reputation. They employ more international staff, attract more international students, and establish new faculties and subjects which no one has heard of just for the sake of being ranked higher in the QS ranking. What the universities care, is not the education provided to the students, but the QS ranking so that their universities can be marketized with a better gift wrapper.

A friend of mine in one of the universities in Hong Kong told me, “our university is higher in the QS ranking this year, but my lectures have only got worse.”

Q: 這次罷工與香港的學生運動有什麼不同之處?

“Students and Workers, Unite and Fight!” 這個口號就恰恰展現了兩地學生運動不同之處。當我昨天(22/2)在 King Parade’s 上參與罷工集會,我幾乎不能分別出學生和講師。我們並肩站在一起,喊著口號,向管理層爭取合理的退休金。教學職員和學生是一同面對共同的敵人。

但是,這在香港卻鮮有見。當學生推動改變的時候,教學職員往往選擇不在運動中參與。例如在浸會大學普通話事件中,學生嘗試推動管理層重新審視畢業的普通話考試(只有香港學生需要通過普通話評核才能畢業,而內地生和海外生沒有這個要求),但是教師卻好像沒有踪影。香港的學生運動,似乎始終還是有「學生」推動。

Q: 有人說新的退休金計劃是大學商品化、市場化的結果。你認為這個趨勢怎樣影響香港的高等教育?

A: 縱使香港的大學沒有像英國一般將退休金與市場風險掛鉤的計劃,市場化絕對是大學重要的策略。大學為了從政府和捐款人取得更多的資金,便著力提高聲譽,包括聘請更多海外職員、吸引更多海外生、設立鮮有人知的院系等,其目的都旨在提高大學在QS的排名。大學並不是重視提供給學生的教育,更多的知識提升國際排名,使得自己在市場化的教育系統下能夠有更好的包裝。

我有一位在香港其中一間大學的朋友告訴我:「雖然我們的QS排名今年有所上升,但是講課教學的質素卻節節下降。

Snapshots #6 – 北京最冷的冬天:「低端人口」被驅離 The Coldest Winter in Beijing: Eviction of Migrant Workers

Snapshots #6 – 北京最冷的冬天:「低端人口」被驅離 The Coldest Winter in Beijing: Eviction of Migrant Workers

[For English version, please scroll down]

上月18日,北京大興區發生大火,造成19人死亡。起火公寓位處外來勞工聚居的區域,為典型集生產經營、倉儲、住人於一體的「三合一」建築。密集的居住環境,加上雜物嚴重堆放,造成安全隱患,間接導致是次悲劇。北京當局翌日成了「全市安全隱患大排查大清理大整治專項行動」,以「安全隱患」為名,對市內外來人口聚居的地方進行清查行動,將大批「低端人口」趕出北京城外。

所謂的「低端人口」指的外來勞工,大多從事建築、快遞、清潔、保安等低收入的工作,他們離鄉別井希望在首都尋找更多發展機會。然而,受到中國的戶籍制度所限,這些基層外來工的權益不單並未有在城市發展時被考慮在內,他們教育、醫療及勞工權益亦缺乏保障。北京當局在清查行動後,否認以「低端人口」形容從事低端產業的人群;但事實上,這個詞彙早於2007年便出現在北京市政府文件中,更在民間宣傳標語中(如「清退低端人人有責」)廣泛使用。

是次行動並非無跡可尋。2012年,北京有773.8萬為外來人口,佔常住人口約37%。面對外來人口常住化對政治安全的壓力,加上配合「京津冀協同發展」整治產業結構的需要,習近平在2014年要求調整疏解非首都核心功能,並將北京市的常住人口上限定於2300萬。自此,北京當局在「加快疏解非首都功能,積極構建高精尖經濟結構」的綱領下,一方面收緊落戶政策、提高外省兒童入讀學校的門檻;另一方面,打擊低端產業,多個原本外省人做小生意的批發市場一個接一個地被要求倒閉。

這次火災以後,北京當局以粗暴的手段迫遷「低端人口」,只是將一直以來的矛盾進一步暴露於公眾眼前。政府以斷水斷電斷燃氣及武力脅迫手段,非法要求「低端人口」在三天內搬離居住地。部分民間熱心人士發起行動協助、接濟這群基層勞工,但很快就被當局制止。此舉不單引起境外媒體關注,國內逾3千名知識分子亦聯署,要求當局處理這宗「違反憲法和嚴重踐踏人權的惡性事件」。

今個冬天,北京不單面對著「低端人口」被驅離的危機,天然氣供暖不足和大規模拆卸招牌等政策,都令北京民眾叫苦連天。十九大後,社會看似歌舞昇平,但一片歡騰下的暗湧究竟能否被妥善解決呢?習近平集權以後,政府進一步走向威權政治,這種強硬、粗暴甚至不近人情的施政手法究竟會延續多久呢?北京何時才會走過這個漫長的冬天呢?
北京「切除」:11張圖帶你看懂「低端人口」清退行動 | 端傳媒
https://theinitium.com/…/20171201-mainland-Beijing-uprooted/

北京清理「低端人口」的前因後果 | am730
https://www.am730.com.hk/…/%E5%8C%97%E4%BA%AC%E6%B8%85%E7%9…

林垚:「低端人口」從來都是「低端外來人口」——北京切除的戶籍維度 | 端傳媒
https://theinitium.com/…/20171206-notes-beijing-migrant-ho…/

 

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On November 18, a deadly fire in Daxing, Beijing caused the death of 19 people. DaXing is an area mostly inhabited by migrant workers. The estate concerned is a typical structure that combines commercial production, storage, and housing functions in one facility. A compact living environment, alongside accumulation of unorganised debris, indirectly propagated this tragedy. Following the incident, the Beijing authority established a city-wide movement to clear those living around the periphery.

The “Low-end Population” is coined to describe migrant workers in Beijing, most of whom in low-income occupations such as construction, delivery, sanitation, and security. While many arrived in pursuit of economic opportunities, they have been heavily restricted by the Chinese Hukou system; a local registration system that limit access to education, healthcare, and labour rights in other provinces. Beijing has denied referring to these migrant workers as part of a “Low-end Population”, yet the phrase has been in use in government documents since 2007 and even in “common-folk” propaganda slogans.

In 2012, Beijing had a foreign population of 7.74 million people, which made up 37% of the residential population. In view of the pressure on political security from increased population inflow, coupled with the needs to restructure the industries to accommodate the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Collaborative Development proposal, Xi Jinping demanded the modification and alleviation of non-core functions in Beijing. It was also decided that the upper limit of the permanently residing population of Beijing to be 23 million. Since then, the Beijing authority, on one hand, tighten the Hukou policy, lifting up the requirements for children without a Beijing account from entering schools; on the other hand, closing down small businesses owned by non-Beijing residents.

Following the incident at DaXing, Beijing has resulted to violence in evicting the “Low-end Population”, uncovering these long-standing conflicts to the public. The authorities cut-off water, electricity, and fuel supplies, and threatened with violence to illegally demand the “Low-end Population” to leave their residence within 3 days. Certain eager civilians have initiated projects to support the migrant workers, but were put to a swift end by the authorities. This act not only caught the attention of foreign media, but also led to over 3000 intellectuals joining forces to demand the authorities deal with this “atrocious issue that is anti-constitutional and is a serious violation human rights”.

This winter, Beijing not only faces the dangers of the deportation of the “Low-end Population”. Shortages of natural gas supplies for heating and assorted policies like the large-scale destruction of billboards have left Beijingers in agony. Following the 19th NCCPC, society looks to be in a state of prosperity; yet hidden beneath the apparent joys.

Snapshots #5 – 施政報告:六個你要知的新政策 Policy Address: Six New Policies That Matter

Snapshots #5 – 施政報告:六個你要知的新政策 Policy Address: Six New Policies That Matter

[For English version, please scroll down]

林鄭月娥今天(十月十二日)發表了任內第一份行政長官施政報告(Maiden Policy Address)。在二百七十五個段落之中,羅列新政府在七大施政方針的「新思維」和「新角色」。本文摘選了六個與大學生有關的新政策。

1. [STEM]教育局將注資30億元,以助學金吸引本地學生修讀本地大學研究院研究課程;資助企業聘用創科博士後專才從事研究工作科研及產品開發;並提供更多實習研究員崗位供STEM畢業生。另外,政府亦利用20億元的「創科創投基金」,與私人風險投資基金共同投資本地創科初創企業。

2. [置業易?]除了居屋和「綠置居」外,政府將於觀塘提供約1 000個單位的住宅用地推行「港人首置上車盤」試驗計劃。居港滿七年的香港居民,從來沒有在香港置業,而每月收入不超過34,000元(單身人士)/ 不超過68,000元(二人或以上家庭)將受惠(實施機制仍需進一步研究)。

3. [搭車著數] 政府會為每月公共交通開支超出400元的市民提供額外金額的25%補貼,以每月300元為上限。計劃將會涵蓋港鐵、專營巴士、專線小巴、渡輪及電車,而且免入息審查。

4. [環境保育] 為響應國際社會對減緩氣候變化的強烈要求,政府將推動香港低碳轉型,期望2030年碳強度從2005年的水平減低65%至70%;並落實《香港都市節能藍圖2015~2025+》(https://goo.gl/bEo9ZR) ,以更潔淨能源替代燃煤發電;亦透過與內地政府合作改善空氣質素。

5. [有份參與]政府將在委員會的層面,提升青年成員(即18至35歲人士)的整體比例至 15% (現為8.4%),透過自薦計劃吸納年輕人加入政府法定和諮詢組織;此外,政府亦會改組「中央政策組」為「政策創新與統籌辦事處」,聘請20至30位青年人,負責政策研究與項目協調工作,從而讓青年更加積極參政。

6.[暑期工]各個特區政府駐海外經貿辦(Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices) 會在暑假期間收納大學學生體驗海外工作文化。政府同時亦會與更多國家簽訂新的工作假期協議,讓香港年齡介乎18至30歲的青年人透過在外地遊歷,從而擴闊視野。

這份施政報告在扶貧、醫療、房屋、人才培訓、經濟等方面提出了不少方向性的願景,但究竟多少政策最終「雷聲大,雨點少」實在不得而知。

正如本會於三月的Snapshot《林鄭月娥的承諾》(見以下連結)所引述,林鄭提到她首要的工作是要「修補撕裂,團結大家」,為青年人提供更多機會,在施政過程中進一步吸納青年人的意見。今年施政報告以「一起同行、擁抱希望、分享快樂」為題,與競選口號「同行」有著近似的志向和抱負,同時反映林鄭創造和諧社會的重視與願景。究竟這份報告是否能夠伸出橄欖枝,修補分化,實在拭目以待。但正如林鄭所言,要實現社會和諧不是靠文字;要解決深層次矛盾,似乎還有很多步要走。

 

行政長官2017年施政報告
https://www.policyaddress.gov.hk/2017/chi/policy.html

林鄭月娥的承諾 | CUHKCAS
https://goo.gl/2D19re

Carrie Lam focuses on middle class to bring housing market out of crisis | South China Morning Post
https://goo.gl/ggo7Ux

*******************

Chief Executive, Carrie Lam published her Maiden Policy Address today (12th October). In the span of 275 paragraphs, Lam details the “new thinking” and “new role” of her Government in the seven policy directions. We have chosen six new policies that are most relevant to us as university students.

1. [STEM] The Education Bureau will invest 3 billion into the following initiatives: bursaries for Hong Kong student to enrol into local universities’ research institutes, subsidising businesses to hire post-docs with expertise in innovation and technology (I&T) for R&D, and providing more research internships to STEM graduates. The Government will also set up the 2-billion Innovation and Technology Venture Fund to co-invest in local I&T enterprises with private venture capital funds.

2. [Home ownership] Apart from increasing the supply of flats for Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) and Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme (GSH), the Government will release the first batch of flats for the “Starter Homes” pilot scheme. Hong Kong permanent residents who have never owned a home in Hong Kong, and receive a monthly income not higher than HK$34,000 (for singles)/HK$68,000 (for families) will benefit from the scheme.

3. [Getting around] The Government will subsidise 20% of the transport fees for citizens who pay more than HK$400 per month for transport, with the limit of the non-mean-test subsidy being HK$300. The scheme will cover MTR, buses, minibuses, ferries and trams.

4. [Environmental protection] Responding to the increasing international attention to climate change, the Government will kickstart low-carbon transformation, with the hope to reduce carbon emission by 65-70% by 2030, comparing to the 2005 level. The Government will implement the “Energy Saving Plan 2015-2015+” (https://goo.gl/bqTcGc), replacing coal with cleaner energy. The Government will also continue its collaboration with Mainland Government on air quality issues.

5. [Get involved] The Government will increase the ratio of youth (aged 18-35) in government committees from the current 8.4% to 15%, and encourages youth to enter the Government's Advisory and Statutory Bodies through self-nomination scheme. The Government will revamp the old Central Policy Unit into “Policy Innovation and Co-ordination Unit”, and will hire 20-30 youth for policy research and operation works to encourage youth political participation.

6. [Summer jobs] The Government plans to provide overseas internship opportunities in multiple Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices over the summer. It will also make new deals with more countries to grant Hong Kong youth working holiday opportunities.

This Policy Address proposes new visions in areas of poverty alleviation, healthcare, housing, manpower and economy, but how many of those visions will be realised is still an uncertainty.

In our previous Snapshot in March titled “Carrie Lam’s Promises” (see link below), we have talked about how Carrie Lam claimed that her first priority would be to ““heal the society, unite the people” by giving the youth more opportunities to participate in politics and to be listened to. This year’s Policy Address is titled “We Connect for Hope and Happiness”, an obvious continuation of her election slogan “We Connect”, showing her commitment to creating harmony in society. We cannot know yet whether this Policy Address can extend the olive branch and bring about reconciliation. All we know is, in Carrie Lam’s own words, harmony is not built on the foundation of words, actions, however, are a rock-solid proof of intentions.

 

Chief Executive’s 2017 Policy Address
https://www.policyaddress.gov.hk/2017/eng/policy.html

Carrie Lam’s Promises | CUHKCAS
https://goo.gl/2D19re

Carrie Lam focuses on middle class to bring housing market out of crisis | South China Morning Post
https://goo.gl/ggo7Ux

Snapshots #4 – 議會廳內的空凳 Seats Without Legislators

Snapshots #4 – 議會廳內的空凳 Seats Without Legislators

高等法院原訟庭昨日裁定劉小麗、羅冠聰、梁國雄及姚松炎四名議員的宣誓無效,失去議員資格。法官區慶祥指出,根據《基本法》第104條及人大常委會上年11月的解釋,宣誓人必須

(1)準確、完整地宣讀法定誓言(「嚴格形式和內容規定」);
(2)真誠、莊重地進行宣誓(「莊重規定」);
(3)並真誠相信及履行誓詞承諾(「實質信念規定」)。
區官指,羅冠聰將「中華人民共和國香港特別行政區」中的「國」字聲調提高並作出開場白和結束辭,表達出他對中華人民共和國作為香港特別行政區的合法主權國的地位的質疑,沒有展示真誠履行誓言中的責任的意圖。梁國雄被指在宣誓時撐傘、叫口號,而口號作為宣誓的一部分,因此不符合規定(1)和(2)。至於,劉小麗及姚松炎則分別因故意慢讀及用其他方式加入和讀出額外字句,違反規定(3) 和 (1)。劉小麗等4人已表明會上訴。
連同早前失去議席的青年新政梁頌恆和游蕙禎,非建制派先後有6位議員被褫奪議員資格。分析指,泛民將會歷史性地失去在地區直選的分組點票「否決權」。修改議事規則及議員私人草案需要在分組點票才能通過。目前民主派在直選只餘下14席,比建制派少2席。假若政府一併重選6席,新界東和九龍西將各有2個席位(梁國雄、梁頌恆;劉小麗、游蕙禎)供競逐。民主派預計只能各取1席,建制派在直選議席取得過半數。政府表示會在法庭有最終裁決後才決定補選安排。因此,政府會否一併進行補選,仍是未知之數。
泛民主派批評批評人大釋法濫用司法程序,改變選舉結果,認為做法「可恥」。部分議員把矛頭直指新上任的特區政府,指「政府的做法」有如向市民宣戰,並指會在議會推動不合作運動,重新開始拉布。特首林鄭月娥回應裁決指,無論行政長官或政府官員都不應因為要建立友好關係而在法治上作出妥協。她強調,建立橋樑要依法進行,表示不會與議員商討解決宣誓問題。
是次判決進一步顯示釋法對於法治可能造成的破壞。同時,法庭判決無疑是對銳意改善行政立法關係的新政府來說的一大打擊。平心而論,是次司法覆核由前特首梁振英及律政司提出,新政府在是次官司的角色有限;基於司法獨立的原則,特首的確不應該也無權干預法庭判決,而泛民主派亦難以責怪林鄭月娥。究竟新政府過去兩週試圖修補行政立法關係的手段會否功虧一貴,除了視乎林鄭月娥政府如何應對,更視乎泛民主派能否以事論事,以及公眾對於事件的輿論壓力。但無論如何,宣誓覆核案必定會在短期內重塑香港的政治氣候。
釋法懶人包 | CUHKCAS
https://goo.gl/VuFvee

DQ案專頁 | 《香港01》
https://goo.gl/u4pAuA

Court ruling disqualifying Hong Kong lawmakers over oath-taking controversy ‘a declaration of war’ | South China Morning Post
https://goo.gl/uhsDwb
【SNAPSHOTS 2017 | #4】Seats Without Legislators
Four more pro-democracy legislative council members including Lau-Siu-lai, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Leung Kwok-hung “Long Hair” and Edward Yiu Chung-yim are removed from their seats over the oath-taking fiasco after the First Court of Instance’s ruling on Friday. Judge Au Hing-cheung stated that according to Article 104 of the Basic Law and its interpretation by the NPCSC, oath takers must:

(1) take the LegCo Oath in exactly the same form and content as prescribed (“the Exact Form and Content Requirement”);
(2) do it solemnly and sincerely (“the Solemnity Requirement”); and
(3) sincerely believe in and strictly abide by the pledges in the oath at the time of taking the oath (“the Substantive Belief Requirement”).
The respective ruling of the disqualifications go as follows. Nathan Law was accused of questioning the legitimacy of the PRC as the sovereign by pronouncing “Republic” as if asking a question. He was also disqualified for Including his own additional opening and closing speech. “Long Hair”, who held a yellow umbrella and shouted out slogans during his oath was considered a violation of Clause (1) and (2) above. For Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu, they were accused of reading the oath in slow speed and adding words into the original content respectively, violating Clause (3) and (1). All four defendants pledged to appeal.
With Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching of Youngspiration losing their seats in November, the anti-establishment now has lost six seats in total. This historical judgment has weakened their power in the Legislative Council of paramount scale as they have lost their veto power in Group Counting. From direct election, the anti-establishment camp now only has 14 seats, two less than their pro-Beijing counterpart. Those who hold the majority in both functional and geographical constituencies can subsequently amend “Rules of Procedures” and pass private bills in the Legislative Council, potentially changing the rules for filibustering against the opposition. If the Government decide to hold the by-election for all six vacant seats at once after the final ruling, it is expected that the anti-establishment camp will lose two seats, one each from the New Territories East and Kowloon West geographical constituencies, ultimately insufficient to regain majority.
Pan-democrats has described the interpretation of the Basic Law as “shameful” by allowing the Central Government to alter election results, putting more than 180,000 votes to waste. Certain legislators accused the Government of “declaring war” on the Hong Kong people, and will start protesting in the Council. The new Chief Executive Carrie Lam responded by stating she would not trade-off rule of law for friendlier relationships with the pan-democrats. She reiterates the importance of legislators abiding the current legal framework and will not attempt to negotiate with any offenders regarding the issue.
This recurrent scene from the interpretation of the Basic Law is believed by many to be a devastating blow on Hong Kong’s rule of law. The judicial review was proposed by former Chief Executive CY Leung and the Department of Justice. On the principles of judicial independence, the executive branch should and cannot interfere with the court’s decision. Hence, in all fairness, Carrie Lam and her new administration has little to be blamed for the oath-taking fiasco. The biggest question remains as whether this further disqualification of four legislators will hinder the new Government’s effort in building better relationship with the anti-establishment camp. On the other hand, it is also up to pan-democratic legislators to take the matter on its merits and maintain its popularity among voters. Regardless, this case will most definitely reshape Hong Kong’s political landscape in the coming short period of time.
Court ruling disqualifying Hong Kong lawmakers over oath-taking controversy ‘a declaration of war’ | South China Morning Post
https://goo.gl/uhsDwb

Hong Kong pro-democracy legislators disqualified from parliament | The Guardian
https://goo.gl/ej5Hxm

Once a Model City, Hong Kong is In Trouble | The New York Times
https://goo.gl/nEEvUJ

SNAPSHOTS x MOMENT IN TIME | 香港般的地方 A Place Like Hong Kong #4

SNAPSHOTS x MOMENT IN TIME | 香港般的地方 A Place Like Hong Kong #4

獅子山精神 The Lion Rock Spirit

「人生不免崎嶇 難以絕無掛慮
既是同舟 在獅子山下且共濟
拋棄區分求共對」

獅子山是香港的象徵;「獅子山下」這首七十年代膾炙人口的電視主題曲亦自然地成為香港人共同的歌曲。「獅子山精神」源自於七十年代,體現香港人在急速發展的經濟中力爭上游的拼搏精神。時至今天,「獅子山精神」一詞除了繼續出現在流行文化中,不少政治人物亦多番強調這股精神。前財政司司長梁錦松(2001-2003)、前總理朱熔基(1998-2003)、以致今年的特首選舉的參選人曾俊華都曾使用這個詞彙。作為「香港般的地方」系列最後一幀回顧,我們將會探討或許最牽動香港人的核心價值 —— 究竟這條舟能否繼續共濟呢?


“The road is rugged and rough,
And it is mired with worries.
But since we are on the same boat below the Lion Rock,
All discord set aside, with one heart on the same bright quest”

The Lion Rock is the unofficial symbol of Hong Kong, and naturally, the famous theme song from the 1970s TV series hit “Below the Lion Rock” has become the unofficial anthem of Hong Kong. The term “Lion Rock Spirit” emerged in the 1970s to embody the hardworking attitude of the many Hong Kong people at the time, who strived to work their way out of poverty in the period of fastest-growing economy in Hong Kong. To this day, not only does “Lion Rock Spirit” remain a popular cultural reference, it has gained currency in politics. Former financial secretary Anthony Leung (2001-2003), Zhu Rongji, former Premier of the PRC (1998-2003) and the 2017 Chief Executive election candidate John Tsang have used the term. The last post in the Handover series , “A Place Like Hong Kong”, will address this core value that is perhaps the most sentimental to Hong Kong people. Can our boat sail on?

 

 

【貧富懸殊,還是團結精神?】

去年,香港的堅尼系數達到0.539,成為45年來的新高,亦在已發展經濟體系中稱冠。這數字反映香港的貧富差距持續擴闊,但此現象並不能歸咎於回歸。香港的堅尼系數事實上從80年代就開始急升。這個現象在急速發展的經濟體系中十分普遍,因此,香港回歸對堅尼系數的影響難以判斷。根據一個政府統計,從1997-2009年間,雖然平均家庭住戶每月入息的差距增大,十等分組別中的平均每月入息卻普遍改善。不少人認為自回歸後香港人的生活質素因各種因素而下跌,例如香港樓價在內地投資者炒賣下持續上升,本地小型企業亦因2003年推行的個人遊計劃式微

【Wealth inequality-the spirit of community?】

Last year, the Gini coefficient of Hong Kong reached 0.539, a high in 45 years, and the highest among developed economies. It means that Hong Kong’s wealth inequality has been steadily rising, but it would be misguided to blame it on the handover. In fact, the surge of Hong Kong’s Gini coefficient started in the 1980s, which was normal in any rapidly developing economy. It is difficult to judge the impact handover has on wealth inequalities. According to a study done by the government, while the average monthly household income disparity widened from 1997 to 2009, average monthly employment earnings of full-time employees improved across decile groups. However, many would argue that the handover has made the lives of average Hong Kongers a little bit harder. Mainland Chinese investors keep the housing price high while an influx of mainland Chinese tourists since the Individual Visit Scheme was introduced in 2003 forces small, local businesses out of business.

【堅持=向上流動?】

+ 根據香港大學的一份研究,即使工作超過十年,香港最貧窮的四分一人當中仍然有54.1%停留在同一的收入水平。
+ 租金佔港人的支出的最大部分。小型單位價格在2006年至2013年間上升了188%,而同期入息中位數只是上升了30%。
+ 青年入息中位數低於全港勞動人口的入息中位數。

不少人視高樓價和單一經濟為香港社會流動性偏低的原因。以上的數字顯示,不幸地,教育似乎已經無法如上一輩般成為地下階層脫貧的方法。

【Social mobility-perserverance?】

+ According to the study done by the University of Hong Kong, 54.1% of those in the poorest quintile stay in the same quintile after 10 years of working.
+ Affording a place to live still accounts for a massive chunk of Hong Kong people’s savings and expenses. The price of small apartments rose by 188% from 2006 to 2013, while the median income has only risen by 30%.
+ The median income of young people is lower than the median income of the entire Hong Kong working population.

Many see the causes of low social mobility to be exorbitant housing price and an economy that is lacking diversity. Unfortunately, education, an asset that previous generations rely on to escape poverty does not give young people the competitive edge they need anymore.

【追求理想?還是跨代貧窮?】

過去,不少人好像前律政司司長黃仁龍般,透過教育向上流動,能夠闖出一番事業。時至今天,這些故事還有沒有在香港上演呢?

+ 2011年,來自香港最富有的10%家庭的子女入讀大學的機會比活在貧窮線的學生多超過370%。1991年,這個差距只有116%。
+ 假若父親是一名教授,其兒子有42.8%機會踏上同一條路,成為大學教授。

近年不少免費的津貼學校轉為收取學費的直資學校,大部分學費大概為$2000-3000。不少人歸咎直資學校和私人補習社的興起,導致跨代貧窮加劇。

【Intergenerational poverty-idealism?】

Hong Kong has seen numerous cases of people escaping poverty through education, including the former Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung whose father sold ice-cream for a living. Are such stories still possible in today’s Hong Kong?

+ In 2011, child of the richest 10% of Hong Kong families has a 370% higher chance of getting into university than his cohort living below the poverty line. In 1991, the figure was 116%.
+ If the father is a professional, there is a 42.8% chance that the son will become a professional too.

Many blame rising intergenerational poverty on the rise of private tuition culture and the transition of many government-subsidised schools (free-of-charge) to the direct subsidy scheme (schools in this scheme charge about HK$2000-3000 per month).

 

 

何謂獅子山精神?

獅子山指的是座落於九龍半島與新界之間,形狀貌似獅子的山峰,亦是香港的象徵。獅子山精神源自於香港電台1972年開始播放的電視節目「獅子山下」,節目斷斷續續播放至2016年。這套膾炙人口的電視節目多次拍攝續集,最新一幀在上年播放;節目反映七十年代香港人如何拼博求存,當中包括內地新移民及石硤尾貧民的故事。

獅子山精神並沒有一個確切的定義。現職監製的陳曼儀是「獅子山下」八十年代的製作助理,她表示節目推出之初,這份精神僅代表低下階層的市民努力工作以期改善自己生活的態度。中文大學中國研究中心Kristof Van Den Troost教授則指獅子山精神對於不同年代的香港人都有不同的定義。對於老一輩的港人,獅子山代表的是努力改善生活態度,最終達致自立、自足。對於被低社會流動性和高樓價所困擾的年輕一輩,這個似乎只是一個遙不可及的夢。每當老一輩批評年輕人缺乏動力、只求政府協助時,年輕不期然都會指出一個清晰的改變——香港經濟不再如七十年代被快速增長。

相反,對於年輕一輩來說,獅子山精神有另一層的意義。在2014年,一群行山人士登上獅子山頂,並懸掛「我要真普選」的直帆,事件與其發生的背景反映青年人所追求的不只於物質上的改善。曾俊華在特首選舉期間,發表了一篇有關獅子山精神的帖文,當中也指出「市民對於社會制度、對於公義、對於生活、都有更高層次的追求」。今天,獅子山精神所代表似乎不單是努力上游的態度,而是勇於追尋夢想的精神。接下來,我們會審視香港經歷了回歸二十年後,這份獅子山精神是否仍然長存呢?

What is the Lion Rock Spirit?

The term “Lion Rock Spirit” originates from the RTHK television series “Below The Lion Rock”, which which ran five times discontinuously from 1972 to 2016. The series featured communities struggling to survive in the 1970s, including new immigrants from mainland China and the slum dwellers of SheK Kip Mei. “Lion Rock” refers to the peculiar-looking hill in Kowloon Country Park, which has become a symbol of Hong Kong.

It has never been clear what the “Lion Rock Spirit” actually entails. Rita Chan Man-yee, who was the production assistant for the show in the 1980s and now an executive director, said that when the show first came out, it was merely about “people being poor and working to improve their living standards.” Professor Kristof Van Den Troost of the Centre for China Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong said that the term strikes a different chord in each Hong Kong generation. For the older generation, the Lion Rock reminds them of the time when people were self-reliant and self-sufficient. To them, it means a grounded approach to improve life. To the younger generation, the Lion Rock dream is becoming unreachable for them due to low social mobility and high housing price. While the older generation condemns the younger generation for expecting the government to help them, the younger generation points to the changing circumstances--Hong Kong economy is no longer booming as it is in the 1970s.

Instead, the younger generation looks to something beyond improving material living standards as their Lion Rock dream. In 2014, a group of hikers reached the peak of the Lion Rock, and hung a banner that said “I want Real Universal Suffrage”. The backdrop to the message was significant. During his election campaign, John Tsang released a post about his reflections on the “Lion Rock Spirit”. He points out that the “Lion Rock Spirit” has acquired the meaning of pursuing fairness in society and a high quality of life.

In sum, the “Lion Rock Spirit” is about idealism and the possibility to reaching dreams. Now, we turn to the last 20 years to review whether our Lion Rock Spirit has been dampened.

 

 

獅子山下

香港的每一代人至今都依然敬佩同舟共濟、努力不懈、追求夢想,這些獅子山所象徵的精神。新政府能否提升社會流動性,為青年提供機遇,仍然是未知之數。2014年,時任政務司司長的林鄭月娥鼓勵年輕人承傳獅子山精神,「珍惜今天、放眼明天,更要好好地瞭解昨天」。我們都希望這位新任的香港「第一負責人」不單只推廣,更能夠協助青年活出這份可貴的精神。特首今天公佈了新增5億教育經常性開支的詳情;這些新的措施包括資助修讀自資院校學士學位和在內地升讀學士的學生,並提升中小學教師與學生的比例。

我們除了要傳承獅子山精神,更要多元創新、抓緊機遇。林鄭在選舉期間承諾會透過再工業化和投資創新產業,使經濟更為多元化。她在政綱中亦提到會支持中小企發展創新科技。至於房屋問題,林鄭承諾推出港人首置上車盤,解決青年難以置業的問題。此外,不少人之初一帶一路能夠成為香港發展的新機遇,同時能夠擴闊青年人的視野。

但是,無論前路如何,我們相信香港人仍然會如「獅子山下」的歌詞般,活出永不言敗、拼搏理想的獅子山精神。

「我哋大家 用艱辛努力寫下那
不朽香江名句」

Below the Lion Rock

The Lion Rock, a symbol of solidarity, perseverance and idealism, is still a symbol that every generation looks up to. It is unsure how the new administration can improve social mobility and give the younger generation hope. In 2014, the now Chief Executive Carrie Lam encouraged the youngsters to inherit and pass on the “Lion Rock Spirit” by “cherishing today, looking forward to the future and understanding the past”. We hope that apart from promoting a positive attitude, the new leader of Hong Kong can provide the vehicle for the young to achieve their dreams. Today, Lam announced that her plan to add 5 billion to recurrent expenditure in education. New measures include subsidising students in tertiary education and students studying in mainland China, and increasing the teacher to student ratio in primary and secondary schools.

Apart from persevering, the “Lion Rock Spirit” is about embracing. Embracing differences, embracing opportunities. It is uncertain what the new administration can bring, but the future can be promising. In her election campaign, Lam promised to diversify economy by “reindustrialisation” and investing particularly in creative industries. She also mentioned in her manifesto that small enterprises will be supported by new technology. To address the housing issue, Lam promised to increase the supply of residential units reserved for Hong Kong first-time buyers. Some also say that the One Belt One Road Initiative can bring new economic opportunities and broaden the minds of the younger generation. No matter what the future brings, the “Lion Rock Spirit” teaches idealism.

“Together we work hard to create
The everlasting legend of the Fragrant Harbour”

SNAPSHOTS x MOMENT IN TIME | 香港般的地方 A Place Like Hong Kong #3

SNAPSHOTS x MOMENT IN TIME | 香港般的地方 A Place Like Hong Kong #3

多元包容 Diversity

《香港核心價值宣言》中,一眾學者列舉出八個被廣泛討論的香港核心價值,而當中的「多元包容」一直為公眾焦點。「多元」、「包容」,兩者非南轅北轍,但亦非異曲同工。有輿論認為香港作為國際金融中心以及亞洲商業活動的樞紐,「多元」一譽尚算名副其實。然而,在中港矛盾、種族歧視等問題的持續發酵下,排外情緒升溫,「包容」則淪為輿論戰場上的導火線。「多元包容」,作為一體兩面的概念,傳達的,大概是「和而不同」。今天,我們將針對少數族裔及中港關係兩範圍,與您一起剖析回歸以來「多元包容」在形式及其體現方法上的轉變。

In the "Declaration on Core Values", scholars listed 8 core values of Hong Kong that was being widely discussed. Among them, diversity and tolerancehave been the focus of the public, being similar but not the same. There are public opinions claiming that, as an international financial hub, Hong Kong is worthy of the name of diversity. Nevertheless, with the problems of Hong Kong-Mainland China conflict and racial discrimination, xenophobia are steadily growing. Tolerance has become the sparkling point of conflicts. Diversity and tolerance should be the idea of keeping harmony but seeks no oneness. Today, we will be focusing on the area of minorities in Hong Kong and relationship between Hong Kong and Mainland China, analysing how the core values "diversity and tolerance" have changed in its forms and expressions after the handover.

 

【少數族裔】

香港少數族裔是指一些居住在香港的少數非華裔人士。根據 2011年人口統計結,香港約有451,000人報稱為非華裔人士,佔總人 口 的 6% 。當大家談起「少數族裔」,大部分人也會先想起南亞、東南亞或非洲等地方。然而,其實日本人和白人也是香港少數族裔。而多被稱為「少數族裔」的尼泊爾、印度或巴基斯坦人,他們多屬於社會經濟的下層。由此可見,「少數族裔」一詞牽引著很多背後的社會問題。

少數族裔所面臨最大的難題便是中文教育不足。少數族裔升讀中小學時多數被分配至英語為主的「指定學校」。當他們面對香港傳統的公開試,很多皆因中文程度不足而無法應對考試,繼而錯失入讀大學的機會。中文不只是入讀大學的重要條件,也是不少工作的基本要素。中文能力不足不單單阻礙發展,也造成跨代貧窮的問題。

香港雖說是國際城市,但仍以華裔佔大多數,由於語言不通,對他國文化不了解,華裔人士很容易對少數族裔產生偏見,甚至歧視。眼見不少少數族裔從事低薪工作,港人不自覺將兩者關聯起來,認為少數族裔能力不足,間接增加他們求職時的難度。而當有能力的少數族裔受到偏見時,一種挫敗感在整個群體中被形成,他們對於港人心中的「獅子山精神」亦難以產生共鳴。這顯然造成了一個惡性循環。

【中港關係】

提起「多元包容」的問題,近年社會中多了另一個議題,那就是中港關係。自回歸以來,中國大陸與香港一直存在矛盾。由雙非嬰兒居港權、自由行帶來的文化衝突,到釋法以及雨傘運動等較為敏感的政治議題,中港矛盾隨著中港關係日趨密切而同時增加。

中國 及香港雖然在地理位置上非常鄰近,而兩地人民同屬中華民族,但兩地始終相隔著,使彼此無論是生活、行為及言語上等形態都存在許多差異。中國是一個幅員廣大的國家, 單單是中國內部區域間民族文化的差異和關係已經非常不同。隨著自由行以及近年一帶一路的實施,港人與內地人接觸相應增加,亦促使生活上的文化衝突。

除了文化差異,釋法及政治分歧亦是中港矛盾的重要因素。回歸二十年以來的五次釋法減弱了港人對一國兩制的信心,法律界對於港人自治和基本法的擔憂也日漸增長。民間多項調查顯示港人對於一國兩制、法治以及民族身份的認同指數持續下降,中港矛盾是「多元包容」中需要正視的問題。

(有關法治的詳細資料能參考2/7的出版)

【Ethnic Minorities】

Hong Kong minorities refer to non-Chinese people living in Hong Kong. According to the HKSAR government’s population statistics in 2011, about 451,000 people in Hong Kong are reported as non-Chinese, accounting for 6% of the total population. When the society mention"ethnic minorities", South Asia, Southeast Asia or Africa will first come to our mind. However, Japanese and white people are actually also minorities in Hong Kong. Nepalese, Pakistanis and Indians, who are commonly known as "ethnic minorities" instead, are usually being seen as the lower class in the society. In fact, the term "ethnic minorities" draws a lot of social problems and misunderstanding behind it.

The biggest problem faced by ethnic minorities is inadequate Chinese education. Minorities are usually assigned to English-based "designated schools" when they enroll in primary and secondary schools. Many are unable to cope with the Hong Kong’s traditional examination because of Chinese, and thereby miss the opportunity to enter university. Chinese is not only an important requirement for college entry, but it is also essential in many jobs. Not proficient in Chinese not only impedes many ethnic minorities’ career development, but also causes intergenerational poverty.

Although Hong Kong is an international city, but still, majority of the citizens are Chinese. Due to language barrier and lack of cultural understanding, prejudice or even discrimination can easily arise. With many ethnic minorities employed in low-paying jobs, some locals unconsciously associate “ethnic minorities” with “low pay jobs”, indirectly increasing the barriers of their job search. This creates a sense of frustration among the minority groups, making them difficult to resonate with the “Lion Rock Spirit” in Hong Kong.

【China-Hong Kong Relations】

China-Hong Kong relations has become one issue of diversity in recent years. Since the handover in 1997, Hong Kong-Mainland China relations have faced increasing tension.

China and Hong Kong are very close to each other geographically, but there are many differences in lifestyles, behaviors and language between the two places. With the implementation of the individual visit scheme and the Belt and Road Initiative, the interaction between Hong Kong and Mainland people increases. At the same time, however, the conflicts between Hong Kong and China also rises. For example, mainlanders are sometimes derogatorily called “locusts,” a reference to the idea that they come to Hong Kong, consume its resources, and leave a mess behind when they leave.

In addition to cultural differences, political differences is also an important factor for the contradiction between China and Hong Kong. The 5 interpretations of the Basic Law in the last two decades have weakened Hong Kong citizens’ confidence in “one country, two countries”, and there is growing concern about the nature of “Hong Kong people running Hong Kong” and the Basic Law. A number of surveys have also shown increasing number of Hong Kong citizens feel distant with the National identity. The Hong Kong-China conflict is something that needs to be addressed if Hong Kong hopes to continue embracing diversity.

(Please read more about the interpretations of Basic Law in our publication on 2/7)

 

 

2001年3月 香港融樂會成立並推動國際消除種族歧視日

香港融樂會在2001年成立,從此之後在每年3月21日的國際消除種族歧視日進行推廣活動,期望社會不會再在少數族裔身上加諸定型和偏見,不再把少數族裔的多元面貌和身份漠然置之。國際消除種族歧視日的訂立源於1960年3月21日,為紀念69名在南非沙佩維爾為反對種族隔離通行證法而被警察殺害的和平示威者, 並且號召國際社會致力消除各種形式的種族歧視。


2008年7月 制訂種族歧視條例

《種族歧視條例》於二零零八年七月制定,並於二零零九年七月全面生效。該條例規定,基於種族的歧視、騷擾及中傷均屬違法行為,以確保不同種族的人在香港皆享有平等待遇

2012年1月 D&G禁止香港人攝影風波

事件源於香港九龍尖沙咀廣東道海港城D&G分店,商場保安員禁止及驅趕於該分店店外的人行道上進行攝影的香港人,惟准許中國大陸遊客進行攝影,此等不平等待遇引起了爭議及風波。事件最終引起群眾於該分店外集會、攝影及示威,最終位於義大利的總部發表聲明道歉才使事情告一段落。

2014年1月 香港印尼女傭被虐事件

23歲的印尼籍女傭Erwiana被一個將軍澳家庭僱用8個月,從未休假,每日工作21小時,而且多次遭到女僱主和兩名女少主以衣架、木棍虐打,更嚴重疲勞轟炸她,睡眠及進食亦嚴重不足,她曾經向中介公司求助,然而未有獲得處理,被逼繼續工作,亦因為人生路不熟而不敢報警,最終失去工作能力而被僱主遣送返回印尼。最後在機場被另一位同樣回印尼的女傭發現後報警,揭發事件。在同年1月19日,有約2000名印尼人因此事在香港灣仔修頓球場集會後,遊行至香港警察總部與政府總部聲援受害女傭,要求香港政府正視虐傭問題。事件亦引起國際關注,美國《時代周刊》更指「印尼傭人是香港的現代奴隸」。

2015年2月反水貨客「光復行動」

屯門和沙田出現反水貨客行動,但抗議卻很快從「反水客」變成了「反對大陸旅客來港自由行」。不少抗議者聚集到商場內,向大陸旅客大喊「滾回家」,舉著「中國人滾回中國」的標語牌,甚至有人揮舞「港英」旗幟。示威者一度與大陸旅客發生口角與對峙,場面情況一度混亂,警方曾施放胡椒噴霧,並帶走多人。此事件被中國大陸和香港媒體廣泛報導,由其是中國大陸微博和論壇轉載廣泛,導致不少大陸網民對香港印象趨於負面。

2001 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Founded in 2001, Hong Kong Unison is a non-profit charitable organization that works on upholding rights of ethnic minorities residents in Hong Kong. They aspire to eliminate racial prejudices and stereotypes, and promote the positive multifaceted cultures embraced in the minorities. The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination originated from an incident on 21 March 1960, where police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid pass laws. This day commemorates the lives that have been lost to the fight for democracy and equal human rights, and calls for efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination in the society.

2008 Racial Discrimination Ordinance Enacted

The Race Discrimination Ordinance was enacted in July 2008 and came into full operation in July 2009. The Ordinance, which makes discrimination, harassment and vilification on the ground of race unlawful, serves to ensure that people of different races are treated equally in Hong Kong.

2012 Dolce & Gabbana Controversy

On 5 January 2012, Hong Kong citizens had been prevented from taking pictures of Dolce & Gabbana window displays, yet other tourists from Mainland China were allowed to do so, hence stirring anti-Mainlander sentiment. The actions sparked protests spanning several days, with protesters gathering and taking photos outside the shop. The incident was appeased with apology statement published by the headquarters of Dolce & Gabbana from Italy.

2014 Erwiana Domestic Worker Abuse Case

Erwiana, aged 23, was physically abused at the hands of her employer for a period of 8 months. She claimed that she had to work for 21 hours per day and was not permitted a day off. She alleged that she was beaten by her employer with various household items, including clothes hangers and wooden sticks. Her health was left in a weakened state. She had asked for help from the agency but was being ignored. She refrained from reporting the case to the police due to her unfamiliarity to Hong Kong. Her employer arranged for her to return to Indonesia as she has lost her working ability. Yet, the incident was discovered by her fellow Indonesian citizen at the airport, and escorted Erwiana to the police to ask for help. The incident provoked protests with around 2000 people calling for justice for Erwiana. This New York Time magazine labelled the Indonesian domestic helpers as Hong Kong’s “Modern-Day Slaves”.

2015 Anti-parallel trading “liberate” activities

Anti-parallel trading protests occurred in Tuen Mun and Shatin. Parallel traders from Mainland China used multiple entry visa policy to import goods back to China and sell them, creating inflation and shortages in Hong Kong. The residents hence responded with “Liberate Tuen Mun” and “Recover Shatin” campaign to express their dissatisfaction. The protests quickly heightened from anti-parallel trading to anti-IVS (Individual Visit Scheme), which the residents regarded as the root of the problem. Conflicts arose between the residents and tourists from Mainland China and descended into chaotic scenes. The police used pepper spray to control the situation and arrested those involved in assaults. The incident was widely reported by the press, especially through Weibo and forums in Mainland China, worsening Hong Kong’s image among the Mainlanders.

 

 

富多元性一向都是香港作為中西文化匯萃之地一個非常重要的要素。但是由於近年中港矛盾日漸加劇,香港的富多元性反而令城市變得不和諧起來:有市民認為香港的獨特定位因來港的內地新移民不斷增加而不復再,隔離少數族裔、外藉家庭傭工等少數派的聲音更加越來越響。少數族裔更驚覺自己被「主流市民」唾棄得越趨厲害-外藉家庭傭工被顧主侵犯,母語非中文的少數族裔學生的孤立無援都是其一大啟示。但大家不可以忘記正正是香港的多元性令社會變化,並進步起來,而文化日新月異,昨天的社會規範與今天的亦大不相同。可是,只靠打著「富多元性」這個旗號並不會令普羅大眾完全接納少數族裔們。政府應帶頭實行改變市民的想法,採取令族裔融洽起來的措施,解決普羅大眾與少數族裔之間的深層次予盾。而的而且確,達到民族其融的這一條路並不易走,前路甚至可說崎嶇得很,但正所謂「不經一番寒徹骨,焉得梅花撲鼻香」呢。

「多元包容」作為香港的核心價值,政府也有不少相應的政策保障此價值。例如2017年施政報告便指出,除了現時在中小學已開始實施的「中國語文課程第二語言學習架構」,政府將向每間錄取8名或以上非華語學生的合資格幼稚園增撥資源,協助非華語學生打好中文基礎。在中港矛盾方面,政府亦希望從一帶一路政策以及即將開通的港珠澳大橋加強中港文化經濟交流,亦從而改善中港矛盾問題。然而,究竟單憑施政能否做到「多元包容」?

Diversity has always been a cornerstone of Hong Kong society, celebrating our status as a melting pot of cultures, the fusion of east-west ideas, and the creation of opportunities due to the collision of different perspectives. However, with the rise of China-Hong Kong conflict, diversity in Hong Kong’s population has evoked concerns of the dilution of domestic culture, and voices for segregation of minorities have grown louder and louder. Ethnic minorities have found themselves shunned by those considered as the ‘majority’, incidents surrounding the abuse of foreign domestic helpers, and the continous lack of support for non-Chinese speaking ethnic minorities are an indictment of this unfortunate trend. One must not forget that diversity creates societies in which different ways of life collide and innovate -- culture is not static, but rather an evolving collage of different aspects of life that stem from traditions but are moulded by acceptance. Acceptance, however, is not simply given, but earned. It cannot be earned by the feeling of being threatened by diversity -- that the rule of law, democracy, freedom and order has weakened due to the poor planning and response of the government towards the changing dynamics of Hong Kong society. The path to cultural understanding and acceptance may be slow and rife with tension, conflict and misunderstanding, but when it is done right, it is definitely worth it.

As a core value of Hong Kong society, the Government has enacted policies in the effort of promoting tolerance and diversity. In 2017, the Government will give subsidies to kindagartens with 8 or more non-Chinese speaking students in an effort to build a foundation for Chinese language learning. Moreover, the Government hopes to alleviate China-Hong Kong tensions through ‘one path one road’ and infrastructure such as Hong Kong-Zhuhai- Macau Bridge to foster economic exchange between the two regions. Whether these policies actually succeed in alleviating strong divides remains to be seen.04

SNAPSHOTS x MOMENT IN TIME | 香港般的地方 A Place Like Hong Kong #2

SNAPSHOTS x MOMENT IN TIME | 香港般的地方 A Place Like Hong Kong #2

廉政 Probity in Governance

每一屆行政長官和主要官員的就職誓詞中均有「盡忠職守,遵守法律,廉潔奉公」幾句。香港素來以廉潔奉公為傲,香港人也珍視這個來之不易的價值。中大香港亞太研究所一四年的民意調查中,有超過九成受訪者同意或非常同意公正廉潔是香港的核心價值,緊隨在法治之後。但是,政府前任第一、二把手相繼被控貪污,香港的廉潔受到了衝擊,究竟廉政能不能夠延續下去呢?

 

 

香港,勝在有ICAC? Zero Tolerance?

【廉政公署的成立】

香港的廉潔絕對來之不易。在上世紀六七年代,香港人口大幅增加,製造業蓬勃發展,同時貪污的情況也很嚴重。當時,社會資源未能夠趕及社會需要,不少市民為了及早獲取公共服務,而被迫「走後門」,例如病人要「打賞」醫院的亞嬸,才可取得開水或便盆。其中,貪污風氣在警隊中最為嚴重,受賄的警務人員包庇各種非法罪行,使社會治安受到嚴重的威脅。1973年,葛柏案引發市民對於貪污的不滿,港督遂按照調查委員會的建議,宣布成立一個獨立的反貪污組織。

廉政公署(下稱「廉署」)因此於1974年正式成立,以執法、預防及教育「三管齊下」的方式打擊貪污,當中包括調查公私營機構人員,並確保各項公共選舉得以公平、公開和誠實的進行。廉署獨立於任何政府部門,直接向港督負責,以維持獨立運作。除此以外,政府也推行「高薪養廉」的政策,向公務員提供優厚的薪酬和福利,增加貪污的代價,以減少貪污的動機和可能性。

【廉潔的價值】

廉署成立初期,有關政府部門的貪污投訴遠比涉及私營機構的為多。到了八十年代中期,廉署成功瓦解政府部門的集團式貪污,並推動了廉潔的風氣,使得廉潔奉公漸漸成為了香港引以為傲的核心價值,也是香港得以成為國際金融中心的其中一個重要原因。自1995年國際反貪組織「透明國際」發表廉潔指數以來,香港一直名列前茅。香港也多次被美國傳統基金會(The Heritage Foundation)選為全球最自由經濟體,而廉潔程度是十項評估項目之一。前政務司司長陳方安生表示,本地及海外公司在本港作出投資及發展業務時,都信賴本港具有完善而嚴謹的制度,監管公職人員及商家的行為。民主黨前主席劉慧卿更指:「如果廉署玩完,香港都會玩完」。可見廉潔與廉署對於香港的重要性。

【回歸後的廉署】

《基本法》第五十七條繼續訂明廉署獨立運作,向行政長官負責,但英文版卻引起一些爭議。《基本法》中廉署翻譯為Commission Against Corruption,刪去Independent,令人擔心廉署的獨立性受影響。

儘管如此,《防止賄賂條例》等法例仍依然授予廉署龐大的調查權力,當中包括查閱被懷疑人物的銀行帳目、私人文件及資產資料。其中,第10條規定,若行政長官或任何公職人員的財富高於擔任公職時的收入,除非該人能對該等財產來源向法庭作出圓滿解釋,否則即屬犯罪。另外,第14條訂明,受查或與案相關人士人若接獲廉署的通知書,必須如實陳述所有事實。以上兩個條款分別違反了普通法「無罪推定」原則與保持緘默的權利,被視為廉署的尚方寶劍,更凸顯出廉署權利範圍之大。

為了監察這些特別權力的運用,廉署設有多個監察機制,防止濫權。廉署除了直接向行政長官負責,並需要定期向行政會議匯報;立法會亦有權要求廉政專員出席會議,解答有關廉署政策、運作的問題,甚至可以進一步賦予或撤銷廉署的權力。廉署調查完畢後,律政司司長獨立行使檢控權,避免濫權。除此以外,政府也設立了四個諮詢委員會,由特首委任社會賢達,就廉署的整體工作方針、調查工作等提出建議。民主黨立法會議員林卓廷指,其中,審查貪污舉報諮詢委員會有權審查所有舉報,能夠左右,以至決定應否結束調查。公眾也可以就廉署人員的行為或廉署的工作常規及程序向獨立運作的事宜投訴委員會投訴。

然而,廉署的成功不單取決於監察的機制,還取決於市民的信心和支持。可是近年來,廉署的公信力多番受到質疑,而多名前高管被控也產生香港的廉潔受到衝擊的觀感,以下將會回顧回歸二十年來香港廉政所遇到的挑戰。

【The establishment of Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)】

Hong Kong's cleanliness today concerning corruption is not god-given. In the 1960s and 70s, as Hong Kong's population and the manufacturing industry grew exponentially, so as corruption. At the time, public resource could not meet public demand. Hong Kong citizens often had to bribe to obtain public services they were entitled to. For example, patients have to give cleaning ladies in hospital "tips" to get basic services such as water and bedpans. Corruption among the police was particularly rife. Bribed police officers tolerated all kinds of crimes, directly endangering the lives of citizens. Hong Kong people's discontent with corruption reached a boiling point in 1973 with the Godber case. The Governor at the time Sir MacLehose announced the establishment of ICAC according to suggestions made by the investigation committee.

The ICAC was therefore established in 1974. Its mission is to combat corruption using a "three-pronged approach" of law enforcement, prevention and education, including investigating public and private sectors' personnel, and ensuring all public elections are conducted fairly, openly and honestly. The ICAC was independent of all government departments and reported directly to the Governor. Apart from that, Hong Kong government pursued the policy of using high salary to deter corruption, which meant giving civil servants a handsome salary and generous benefits to increase the cost attached to corruption, making corruption less of a palatable option.

【The value of cleanliness】

In the ICAC's early days, it received many more complaints directed towards government departments than the private sector. By the mid-1980s, the ICAC successfully exposed cases of syndicated corruption in multiple officials, setting a precedence of probity and zero tolerance. Cleanliness, lawfulness and fairness became one of Hong Kong's proudest core values. Hong Kong's low corruption rate gives Hong Kong an economic edge too. Since 1995, Hong Kong has ranked highly on the Corruption Perceptions Index released by Transparency International. Hong Kong has also been chosen by The Heritage Foundation as the freest economy numerous times according to the Index of Economic Freedom, one of the criteria of which is Government Integrity. Former Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan stated that Hong Kong's comprehensive and strict system of monitoring public servants and businesses gives both domestic and overseas corporations confidence when investing in Hong Kong. Quoting former Chairperson of the Democratic Party Emily Lau, "if ICAC is dead, Hong Kong follows." Our sentiments exactly.

【The ICAC after the handover】

Article 57 in the Basic Law guarantees the continued independent operation of the ICAC, but following July 1, 1997 ICAC will report directly to the Chief Executive instead of the Governor. The English version of the legal document, however, stirred up controversy. In the English version, the ICAC simply became Commission Against Corruption. With the word "Independent" being taken out from the name of the commission, a lot were worried that the commission's independence was being corroded.

Despite that, legislation such as the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance gives great investigatory power to the ICAC, including checking suspects' bank accounts, personal documents and assets. According to Article 10 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, if the Chief Executive or public servant maintains assets not commensurate with his official emoluments, he can be guilty of an offence unless he can give a sufficient explanation to the Court. Other than that, Article 14 obliges ICAC informants or suspects to give away all information related to the case in their possession. These two Articles contradict the two principles of Common Law: the presumption of innocence and the right to silence. It is not surprising that these two Articles are viewed as the ICAC's most potent weapons and the symbols of its power.

There are multiple checks on the special authority that the ICAC possesses. Except reporting directly to the Chief Executive, the ICAC has to report regularly to the Executive Council too. The Legislative Council also has the right to summon the Commissioner (head of the ICAC) to its meetings to answer questions about the policies and operation of the ICAC, or even grant or rescind power. That the Secretary of Justice independently exercises right of prosecution places a further check. Apart from that, the government has set up four advisory councils, the members of which are respectable members of society appointed by the Chief Executive; they give suggestions to the ICAC on the general direction and specific investigations. The Legislative Council member of the Democratic Party Lam Cheuk-ting pointed out that advisory councils has the power to check all complaints made to the ICAC, and even influence the decision to start or end a certain investigation. The public can also file complaints to the ICAC Complaints Committee.

However, the success of the ICAC does not lie solely on checks and balances. It thrives on Hong Kong citizen's confidence and support. But in recent years, the credibility of the ICAC came under question. The prosecution of several former high-ranking officials also created the impression that Hong Kong's cleanliness is under unprecedented attack. We will review the challenges faced by the ICAC in the past 20 years.

 

 

廉政風暴

過去五年,多番事件和爭議令廉署公信力和誠信接連受到質疑。德國反貪組織透明國際的全球廉潔排名中,香港2012年至2015年廉潔度排名均下跌,由第14名降至第18名,去年才回升至第15名。縱然調查主要反映受訪者的觀感,但無疑顯示市民對於香港廉政的憂慮。以下為回歸以來,觸動全港的部分事件。

The past five years have seen controversies that have shaken public confidence in the ICAC. In Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, Hong Kong’s ranking has continued to drop from 2012 to 2015, from the 14th to the 18th, but ithas risen to the 15th last year. Although the index reflects only the perception of corruption, the drop in ranking shows Hong Kong people’s concerns about Hong Kong’s cleanliness. Below are events that have affect the public perception since the handover:

1. 許仕仁 / 郭氏家族 Raphel Hui and the Kwoks

2007年,新鴻基地產及其子公司購買大圍香粉寮地皮,並在城市規劃委員會的批准下興建816個單位。廉署在2012年因懷疑上列交易中新鴻基所支付的地價與實際成本有不合理的差距,經調查後落案起訴前政務司司長許仕仁,新鴻基地產董事局聯席主席郭炳江、郭炳聯、陳鉅源,及前港交所高級副總裁關雄生。除郭炳聯以外,其餘四名被告都各被判有罪,並均被判處5-7年監禁及不同程度的罰款。其中許氏更涉嫌於2000年6月至2009年1月期間從新鴻基及其他途徑非法收受合共1,968.2萬元利益,被控告公職人員行為失當等8項控罪,最終監禁7年半,並需交還1,118.2萬港元賄款,其後更因多名債主追討賠償而宣布破產。

許氏、郭氏家族等人的貪污案被稱為「香港史上最大貪污案」,除因牽涉的利益龐大之外,更因涉事的犯人各為政界及商界的重要人物,嚴重影響香港社會廉潔奉公的聲譽。

In 2007, Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency Ltd and its subsidiary bought a piece of land in Tai Wai and built 816 residential units with the approval of Town Planning Board. In 2012, the ICAC noticed a discrepancy between the sum of money Sun Hung Kai paid and the actual cost, and decided to sue the former Chief Secretary of Administration Raphael Hui, Joint Chairmen of Sun Hung Kai, Thomas Kwok, Raymond Kwok, Thomas Chan, and the former Senior Vice President of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Kwan Hung-san. All were guilty except Raymond Kwok, and were sentenced to 5-7 years in prison. Raphael Hui was sentenced to 7 and a half years in prison when he was found guilty of misfeasance in public office--he received a total bribery of 19 million during his time in office.

Raphael and the Kwoks case is recognised the biggest corruption case in Hong Kong’s history. No only were the sums involved huge, the people convicted were prominent figures in politics and business. This case severely damaged Hong Kong’s reputation in cleanliness.

2. 曾蔭權案 Donald Tsang

作為前任香港最高級官員,前行政長官曾蔭權理應為香港人民的典範,遵守廉潔法紀,但廉署經5年的調查後,高等法院於2017年最終判定他行為失當罪成立,被判入獄20月。事源2012年,曾氏批出數碼廣播牌照予雄濤廣播有限公司。在此同時,曾氏與雄濤主要股東黃楚標商討深圳東海花園以豪華單位之租賃,而其妻曾鮑笑薇已早付80 萬人民幣予單位發展商東海集團。發展商為黃氏旗下集團,東海更花費300萬元裝修與曾氏洽談的單位。此外,其妻更涉嫌收到雄濤另一大股東李國寶的35萬元賄款。曾氏未有在處理雄濤多項申請的期間披露或申報上述疑有利益衝突的事宜,引起涉嫌貪污的質疑及控告。

As the former Chief Executive, the highest ranking government official, Donald Tsang should have served as Hong Kong people’s model. However, in 2017, after five years of investigation by the ICAC, the High Court finally found him guilty of misfeasance in public office. He is serving a jail time of 20 months. In 2012, Tsang approved a digital broadcasting license to Wave Media Limited (now DBC). At around the same time, Tsang and a shareholder of Wave Media, Bill Wong, were making the rent of a luxury apartment in Shenzhen, the developer of which is a company of Wong’s. Besides, Tsang’s wife received a bribery of HK$350,000 from another shareholder of Wave Media, Sir David Li. Tsang failed to declare the multiple conflicts of interest while dealing with Wave Media’s license application, thus resulting in the final ruling.

3. 湯顯明事件 Timothy Tong

審計署在2013年揭發湯顯明在任廉政專員期間,一次國際活動中的兩場晚餐人均開支都超過了廉署內部常規所訂的上限。及後,有媒體揭發湯顯明在任時豪花公帑酬酢、外訪及送禮等,當中較引起爭議的包括花費超過72萬公帑購買茅台款待內地官員、送牛腩魚蛋回禮、外訪雲南時加入麗江行程藉機遊覽等,引起社會多方譁然,亦令廉署的誠信受到質疑。立法會政府帳目委員會發出歷來最嚴厲的批評報告,以「痛斥」字眼譴責湯毀壞香港廉潔聲譽,難辭其咎。廉署在同年5月展開刑事調查;律政司司長在參考英國御用大律師的意見後,認為沒有充分證據可提刑事檢控達至被定罪的結果,最終決定不起訴。

In 2003, the Audit Commission exposed that while Timothy Tong was the Commissioner of the ICAC, he overspent in an overseas function. More controversies surfaced when the media exposed that Tong spent government’s money on gifts, overseas visits and dinner parties, among them the most controversial incident was spending over HK$720,000 on liquor as a welcoming gifts for mainland Chinese officials. The Public Accounts Committee of the Legislative Council issued the severest reprimand in history, using the term “denouncement” for the damage Tong’s actions brought to public confidence in Hong Kong’s cleanliness. The ICAC also began its investigation in May. However, the Secretary of Justice, after consulting the Queen’s Counsel of the United Kingdom, conceded that there was not sufficient evidence to find Tong guilty, therefore decided not to prosecute Tong.

4. 2016年立法會選舉 2016 LegCo Election

2016年立法會選舉中,自由黨新界西候選人周永勤在投票前九日突然在電視論壇上突然宣布因不想身邊支持他的人惹上「更高層次的麻煩、賠上代價」,停止競選活動棄選。他其後透露有中間人稱以其一倍選舉經費利誘他退選,並威脅家人的性命安全。多個政黨事後向廉署舉報,如有關指控屬實,有可能違反《選舉(舞弊及非法行為)條例》第8條。廉署上月指調查後,因證據不足,終止調查。

此外,廉署在今年四月展開行動,拘捕72人,涉嫌在立法會選舉資訊科技功能界別中種票舞弊。被捕人士收受金錢報酬,登記為資訊科技功能界別的選民;調查發現,涉案的新登記選民的背景包括學生、文員、司機及家庭主婦,未必具備所需學歷或工作經驗,在資訊科技界投票。

In the 2016 Legislative Council election, the Liberal Party’s New Territories West candidate Ken Chow Wing-kan announced withdrawal from the race during a televised election forum nine days before the polling day, for the fear of “people close to him will pay a heavy price”. He disclosed later that he was approached by a middleman who threatened him to withdraw from the election for a sum of money, which was double the amount of his election expenses. A lot of political parties later wrote to the ICAC that if the allegations were real, the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance Section 8 could have been violated. The ICAC announced the end of investigation last month due to the lack of evidence.

Furthermore, the ICAC launched a crackdown in April, arresting 72 people accused of vote-rigging in the information technology functional constituency in the poll. The suspects accepted remuneration and registered themselves as voters in the IT functional constituency. The investigation revealed that the suspects came from various backgrounds, including students, clerks, drivers and housewives, and they should not have qualified to vote in the IT functional constituency.

5. 梁振英UGL爭議 CY Leung

2011年,前任行政長官梁振英持股的戴德梁行控股公司DTZ正在安排賣盤,而澳洲工程企業UGL Limited為其中提出收購DTZ的公司。根據澳洲傳媒報導,梁氏涉嫌收取UGL合共5000萬港元的利益,與該公司達成秘密協議,協議條款是梁氏必須推動DTZ與UGL之間的交易,並且在梁氏離職之後 24 個月內不會撬走UGL管理層、更不會開新公司與UGL競爭。梁氏並無將此協議申報,引起廉署的調查。

爭議其中一疑點為李寶蘭取消署任執行處首長之事宜。前為廉署署理執行處首長兼副廉政專員,在廉署有充足的經驗和卓越的表現,於2015年被任命為執行處首長,但於2016年7月卻突然離職。廉政專員白韞六聲明此為「內部人事問題」,但由因李寶蘭有協助調查梁氏涉嫌貪污的案件,使人懷疑是次離職是否與該調查結果有關,引起公眾對廉署獨立性的質疑。

In 2011, a company that the former Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was a shareholder of, DTZ, was selling orders, and an Australian engineering corporation UGL Limited was offering to acquire DTZ. According to Australian media, Leung allegedly reached a deal with UGL. In return for a sum of HK$500,000, Leung would push for the acquisition of DTZ, guarantee that he will not directly harm UGL’s interests for 24 months after he steps down from office. Leung did not declare the deal, prompting the investigation of the ICAC.

Part of the controversy involves the first female head of the ICAC, Rebecca Li. An extremely experienced and talented investigation officer, Li was the Acting Head of Operations and Deputy Commissioner at the time. She was officially appointed the Head of Operations in 2015. However, she suddenly left the ICAC in July 2016. The Commissioner of the ICAC, Simon Peh, claimed that she left simply due to “internal personnel issues”. Many, however, suspected that Rebecca Li’s leaving has something to do with her investigation of Leung’s corruption case. They believed that this incident was the final blow to the ICAC’s independence.

 

 

廉潔之都

廉潔素來是香港的核心價值,但是近年來卻面對一次又一次的衝擊。無可否認的是,香港的廉潔程度仍然位於世界的前列。國際調查機構與廉政公署委託獨立研究機構的調查都顯示大部分受訪者均認為廉署的反貪工作非常有效或頗有效,也鮮有遇上貪污。可是,面對這些挑戰,我們必須前車可鑑,完善我們的反貪機制,才能避免我們的核心價值和公眾對於廉政的信心再一次被減弱。

有人提出首先從廉政公署的架構著手。監察廉署的諮詢委員會委員均由特首任命。在梁振英任內,大部分委員均屬於建制派,並沒有如以往般邀請部分泛民主派議員進入委員會;同時,他亦委任譚惠珠掌廉署審查貪污舉報諮詢委員會。民主黨立法會議員指此職過往一直由中立人士出任此職,他認為譚極端親共,卻可以控制廉署結案,是非常危險的事。我們固然期望新一任特首能夠維持諮詢委員會的中立性,增加其透明度;但廉署也必須從制度性改革,避免特首濫用這個權利,破壞其獨立性,或造成利益衝突。民主黨立法會議員林卓廷提出廉政專員應改為向由退休法官組成的小組委員會匯報,而不是向特首負責,避免廉署在調查有關特首貪污的指控是進退兩難。

此外,現行的《防止賄賂條例》被指存有漏洞。第3條定明任何人員未得特首許可索取或接受任何利益即屬違法,但條例不包涵特首在內。廉署現時只能以舉證責任較高的「受賄罪」控告特首,對控方蒐證造成不少困難。林鄭月娥在競選時承諾修訂《防止賄賂條例》第3(及8)條的範圍適用至特首。

新政府上場依然要著手處理不少廉政風波。白韞六獲得續任廉政專員,如何重建廉署的公信力成為他最大的挑戰。梁振英UGL風波能否依法處理,定當將影響新政府在市民中的形象。而林鄭亦須著手推動《防止賄賂條例》的修訂。香港的廉潔除了靠政府和制度維護,更有賴我們提高廉潔的警覺,無論在選舉還是工作場上,時刻保持廉潔公正的心態,在有需要是作出舉報,才能夠真真正正維護廉潔的核心價值。香港勝在有你!

Probity in governance has always been Hong Kong's core value, but now it is under attack. Despite that, Hong Kong still enjoys one of the world's cleanest governments. International investigation and independent studies commissioned by the ICAC all show that the majority of respondents still believe that the ICAC is an effective anti-corruption organisation. Corruption is more of a rarity than a norm. However, in face of above incidents, we must learn and improve to safeguard our core value.

Some suggested that the change must come from within the structure of the ICAC as members of its advisory councils are appointed by the Chief Executive. When Leung Chun-ying was in office, most members belong to the pro-establishment camp. Pan-democrats were denied the level of participation they used to enjoy. Leung also appointed Maria Tam, an overtly pro-Beijing figure to head the ICAC's Operations Review Committee. Democratic Party's Legislative Council member James To pointed out that this position has always been filled up a neutral figure. The appointment of Maria Tam could influence the operation of the ICAC. We hope that the new Chief Executive could safeguard the independence of the Operations Review Committee and increase its transparency, but at the same time, there must be reforms in the ICAC to prevent the abuse of power by the Chief Executive. Another Democratic Party's Legislative Council member Lam Cheuk-ting proposed that instead of the Chief Executive, the Commissioner of the ICAC should report to a committee comprised by retired judges. It could prevent conflicts of interest when the Chief Executive is the person being investigated.

It has also been pointed out that there are loopholes in the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance. Article 3 states that it is against the law for any government official, without the Chief Executive's permission, to receive any form of benefits. The Article does not apply to the Chief Executive. The ICAC could only prosecute Chief Executive on the grounds of bribery, which is a much harder case to argue. Carrie Lam, the new Chief Executive promises in her election campaign to amend the Ordinance to close the loophole.

The new government has a lot of challenges ahead of them. Simon Peh's appointment as the Commissioner of the ICAC is renewed. Rebuilding ICAC's credibility is his biggest challenge in the coming term. How Leung Chun-ying's UGL case is to be resolved is yet another issue. All eyes are also on Carrie Lam for her to fulfil her promises. But we also have a role to play. We must be vigilant at all time and report any instances corruption when necessary. Make Hong Kong proud!

SNAPSHOTS x MOMENT IN TIME | 香港般的地方 A Place Like Hong Kong #1

SNAPSHOTS x MOMENT IN TIME | 香港般的地方 A Place Like Hong Kong #1

法治 Rule of Law

今年正值香港回歸二十週年,劍橋大學香港及中國事務會 (University of Cambridge Hong Kong and China Affairs Society) 與倫敦經濟與政治學院HKPASS聯手合作,一連四天出版「香港般的地方」系列回顧。從香港過去二十年的社經、政治大事,探討我們一直引以為傲的核心價值的變遷,從中探索香港的前路。

In light of the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s Handover, the Cambridge University Hong Kong and China Affairs Society and the LSESU Hong Kong Public Affairs and Social Service Society jointly present our Handover series -- ‘A Place Like Hong Kong’. The series features major societal events that shaped Hong Kong in the past 20 years, and how the core values, deemed the cornerstone of our society, have evolved since then. While analysing the timeless societal values our society holds dear, we wish to explore with you the future of Hong Kong.

 

 

在一個法治社會中,不單市民要守法,政府也同樣需要守法。提到“法治”,普遍大眾也會想到法律面前人人平等,法律制度公平、公開及一致,政府的權力為法律所限制和司法獨立等原則。香港被稱為“法治社會”,法治在港人心中是崇高的核心價值,究竟我們身處的社會如何體現出法治精神呢?

法律制度公平、公開及一致

1997年香港回歸,在一國兩制下,《基本法》是香港的憲制性文件。《基本法》保障法律制度的公正,香港的一切法律必須以不違背《基本法》為依歸。香港的法律制度維護所有市民在陪審團制度下接受公平的審訊、所有人均有無罪推定和上訴的權利。同時,《基本法》規定,法官的產生須由本地法官、法律界及其他界別的知名人士所組成的獨立委員會推薦。《基本法》第85條更規定法官進行的審判將不受法律追究,令法官不須擔心外界的壓力,可以自主地作出判決。

法律面前人人平等

據《基本法》第25條,「香港居民在法律面前一律平等」,所有市民犯法皆會依法處理並受到懲處,即使是政府也不可以凌駕於法律之上。同時,港人所受到的保障亦是平等。27條至28條亦表明,香港居民的人身自由、政治、經濟、文化教育等權利和自由受到保障。

司法獨立

法院審訊不受行政和立法機關干預,享有獨立的審判權和終審權。《基本法》(第二條)保留了香港殖民地時期的三權分立制度,行政權(香港政府)、立法權(立法會)和司法權(各級法庭)三權獨立運作,互相制衡,以避免有任何一方權力過大或管治者濫權的情況。法律一經制定,解釋法律和按照法律判決的權力則完全屬於司法機關,政府和立法會不能再作干預。

雖然“法治”兩字並未有出現在基本法中,香港社會崇尚法治,港人的自由、生命和財產受到安全的保障,這種精神締造了安定的生活環境。香港能成為國際金融中心,法治也是最為重要的條件之一。在公開公平的法律制度下,營商人士和投資者對香港的營商環境有信心。獨立的司法制度亦讓政府更加注意其政策措施,市民的權益和自由也進一步受到保障。

When one mentions the constitutional principles of Hong Kong’s ‘rule of law’, most evoke conceptions of equality, judicial independence and the fairness of judgement as embodiments of this very core value. The legal system of Hong Kong remains a source of pride for Hong Kong people and the sanctity of ‘rule of law’ remains our most treasured core value. So how does the Basic Law protect this core value and does it translate to our wider society?

Transparency and Fairness

Article 85 of the Basic Law dictates that the courts of the HKSAR shall exercise their judicial power independently, free from any interference. This is protected by the stipulation that members of the judiciary shall be immune from legal action in the performance of their judicial functions. Moreover, the transparency and fairness of our legal system is protected by a high standard of judges, as the Basic Law dictates that HKSAR judges must be appointed by the Chief Executive upon the recommendation of an independent commission composed of local judges, persons of the legal profession and eminent persons from other sectors.

Equality of all

According to Article 25 of the Basic Law, all Hong Kong residents shall be equal before the law, and under the same constraints, regardless of whether it is the government or a citizen under question. Concurrently,as per Article 27 and 28, all Hong Kong residents receive the same inviolable freedoms and protection -- of speech, press, publication, association, assembly, procession and demonstration among others.

Judicial Independence

Judicial decisions are not influenced by executive and legislative branches of the HKSAR Government. According to Article 2 of the Basic Law, the NPCSC authorises HKSAR to exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication. Independent branches of government prevents the abuse of power by any singular branch, allowing decisions surrounding the rule of law to be influenced by courts and only courts, protecting judicial independence.

The Basic Law protects the freedom, property and livelihood of the Hong Kong people, creating a stable and prosperous environment that fosters Hong Kong’s position as a global financial hub. In a fair, transparent and equal system, businessmen and investors can have confidence in the financial environment of this city. An independent judicial system translates into better implementation of policies, lending to the protection of the rights and freedom of Hong Kong people.

 

 

人大五次釋法

在過去二十年與香港法治最為有關的事件,相信就是人大釋法。釋法指全國人大常委會對《香港基本法》進行解釋。基本法第158條規定,解釋權屬於全國人民代表大會常務委員會。根據該條文,香港法院獲得全國人大常委會授權,在審理案件時可以對關於特區自治範圍內的條款作自行解釋。有法律界人士認為,本條第三款意指釋法的程序應由特區政府從下而上提出呈請而啟動。而釋法的範圍,則主要集中在關於中央政府管理的事務,以及中央和特區關係的條款。

回歸二十年間,全國人大常委會曾先後五次對《香港基本法》作出解釋,其中,兩次由香港特區行政長官提出,兩次由全國人大常委會主動釋法,終審法院則提出一次。每逢全國人大常委會對《基本法》進行解釋,總會引起一番關於香港法治的爭論。以下是五次釋法的簡單介紹:

第一次釋法:居港權問題 (1999年)
涉及條文:基本法第22條(4)、第24條(3)
提請單位:特區政府

1999年1月29日,終審法院就首宗居港權案「吳嘉玲案」裁定政府敗訴,裁定港人內地所生子女於出生時,即使父或母當時仍未成為香港永久居民,也可擁有居港權。政府聲稱因判決而擁有居港權的港人內地子女高達168萬人。1999年5月18日行政長官會同行政會議決定提請第一次人大釋法。同年6月26日,時任保安局局長葉劉淑儀聯同時任律政司司長梁愛詩向全國人大常委會尋求釋法,人大指出只有在出生時,父或母已成為香港永久居民的內地子女,才可擁有居港權。雖然釋法將統計人數減至二十七萬人,本港司法界憂慮這衝擊終審法院的權威。

第二次釋法:香港政制發展 (2004年)
涉及條文:基本法附件1第7條、附件2第3條
提請單位:全國人大常委會

2004年香港開始就07/08年政改作出討論。同年3月26日,全國人大常委會宣布會就《基本法》有關修改行政長官及立法會產生方法進行釋法,是次釋法為全國人大常委會首次主動釋法。釋法結果將原有政改程序的三部曲改成五部曲。除「須經立法會全體議員三分之二多數通過,行政長官同意,並報全國人大常委會批准或者備案」外,加入特首要就政改先向人大常委提交報告,以及要由人大常委批准兩項程序。

第三次釋法:補選行政長官任期 (2005年)
涉及條文:基本法第53條(2)
提請單位:特區政府

2005年,時任行政長官董建華因病辭職。各界對下任行政長官的任期出現分歧。2005年4月6日,署理行政長官曾蔭權請求國務院提請全國人大提出就《基本法》第53條作出解釋。4月27日,十屆全國人大常委會第十五次會議對釋法問題進行表決,通過香港特區行政長官補選任期釋法草案,規定下一任補選產生的行政長官任期兩年,並非五年。

第四次釋法:香港對外事務 (2011年)
涉及條文:基本法第13條(1)及第19條
提請單位:終審法院

2011年,終審法院就剛果民主債務案作審理,剛果指案件涉外交豁免權,本港法院無權審理。同年6月8日,終審法院以三比二的多數裁定,此案需要尋求人大常委釋法。最終人大常委通過,香港特區須跟從中央人民政府,對剛果民主共和國實施「絕對外交豁免權」。這是唯一一次由終審法院提出釋法。

第五次釋法:香港立法會宣誓風波 (2016年)
涉及條文:基本法第104條
提請單位:全國人大常委會

2016年的宣誓風波被評為香港回歸以來爭議性的一次人大釋法。2016年10月12日,當選立法會議員梁頌恆及游蕙禎因散播港獨思想被拒絕監誓。隨後,香港特區政府就梁頌恆及游蕙禎第二次宣誓入稟高等法院,提出司法覆核。全國人大常委會其後於11月7日,梁、游一案裁決前,表決通過釋法草案。釋法涵蓋條文的涵義、適用範圍及法律後果。此次釋法被指修改僭越特區立法權,同時就人大釋法的追溯力引起爭議。

Article 158 of the basic law grants the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) the power to interpret the law under three criteria; that it either concerns affairs that are the responsibility of Beijing or its relationship with Hong Kong, is issued at the request of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal (CFA) (except when it concerns China’s sovereignty), and is an interpretation rather than an amendment of the law. In the 20 years since Hong Kong’s handover, the NPCSC has interpreted the basic law five times, twice initiated by the Chief Executive, twice initiated by the NPCSC, and once by the CFA.

Here’s a brief history of how the NPCSC has interpreted the basic law in the past.

The Right to abode, 1999

Initiated by the HKSAR government, it concerned the question of whether children born in the mainland before their parents became permanent residents of Hong Kong qualified for a right to abode in the territory under Article 24. In the Ng Ka Ling and Chan Kam Nga cases of 1999, the CFA ruled that all children born of permanent residents regardless of when they were born had the right to abode in Hong Kong. However, if the CFA’s decision was implemented, the HKSAR government estimated that 1.6 million mainland residents would immigrate to Hong Kong over the next ten years, which was a burden Hong Kong could not cope with.

The NPCSC overturned the CFA’s judgement, saying it was ‘not consistent with the legislative intent’; their interpretation was that children born outside Hong Kong will be qualified for the right to abode if at least one of their parents had a permanent resident status at the time of their birth. According to NPCSC, the applicants for the right to abode in Hong Kong should also apply for permission from mainland authorities before entry to Hong Kong.

The election of the Chief Executive, 2004

Initiated by the NPCSC, two new rules were added to the process of electing a chief executive; which according to Article 45 of the Basic Law, should be elected by universal suffrage. The NPCSC added that the chief executive must first report to the NPCSC about any amendment to the method of election, and that only the NPCSC can decide when it is necessary. It preserved the status quo of having the Chief Executive chosen by an election committee under the effective control of Beijing, and the majority of seats in the Legislative Council elected by narrowly defined professional groups, ignoring the provisions in the Basic Law annexes that allowed for amendments to Hong Kong’s election system after 2007 and the obligation in Article 45 and 68 of Basic Law to move towards universal suffrage.

Replacing a Chief Executive, 2005

When Chief Executive Tung Chee-Hwa asked to resign from office in March of 2005, neither the Basic Law Article 53 nor the Chief Executive Ordinance specified what should happen next. The acting Chief Executive, Donald Tsang, requested an interpretation of the Basic Law and proposed that the succeeding chief executive should fulfill the remainder of Tung’s Term. NPCSC interpreted the law to agree with Tsang in this instance.

Diplomatic Immunity, 2011

Initiated by the Court of Final Appeal, the need for NPCSC interpretation stemmed from the Congo case in 2008. US Company FG Hemisphere Associates LLC (FG), a creditor to the Congo, wanted to seize $102 million of the entry fees for mining rights paid by China Railway Group to satisfy debts that Congo owed. Hong Kong Courts in 2010 ruled in favour of FG, stating that states do not have strict immunity in commercial proceedings. Congo took the case to CFA and CFA requested NPCSC interpretation; Beijing ruled that since the Central Government was responsible for Hong Kong’s foreign affairs, Congo should have the right to diplomatic immunity.

Taking the oath for office, 2016

NPCSC’s 5th interpretation comes after Youngspiration Party’s Leung and Yau declared Hong Kong a nation and used a racial slur to refer to China during their swearing-in ceremony on Oct 12. The HKSAR government filed a judicial review application to ban the two from re-taking their oaths. NPCSC passed the bill to intervene on the 5th of November 2016, enforcing the sanctity of the oath-taking process. On the 15th of November, the High Court of Hong Kong revoked Leung and Yau’s legislator positions.

 

 

根據香港中文大學香港亞太研究所對香港核心價值的研究,最多受訪者表示同意或非常同意的核心價值是法治 (92.7%)。作為香港社會最被認同的核心價值,維持我們法治的公開和公平對與港人而言是最為重要的。然而,在數次人大釋法下,港人對於2047年後香港的法治發展開始擔憂。香港大學對香港法治程度作出訪問,港人對香港法治程度的評價2012年的7.26分降至6.63分。南華早報報導,前終審法院法官烈顯倫批評香港法律制度濫用司法覆核,亦沒有為2047年後的法律制度作打算。烈顯倫認為,從司法覆核得出的判斷非常模糊,對於大眾而言很難理解。此外,他補充,司法覆核的失誤亦於香港社會引起軒然大波。2010年「港珠澳大橋案」的司法覆核被指造成的嚴重的延誤和超支,為司法覆核失敗的典型例子。

回顧香港法治歷史,近年數次傷害司法制度權威的事件確實削弱了普羅大眾對司法制度的信心。然而,香港於世界公義工程所發表的全球法治指數中,排名依然穩居前二十名,揭示我們引以為傲的基本法精神仍屹立不倒。我們的司法制度定當一夫當關,捍衛賦予我們的權利和義務。我們的司法制度力倡法律面前人人平等,在云云自由及權利中,言論及出版自由更被珍而重之。在「五十年不變」的承諾下,香港將維持原有的資本制度以及上述權利、自由。

然而,變幻才是永恆,我們的社會又豈會如「馬照跑、舞照跳」的諾言般一成不變?2047後,我們的社會奉行的會是「一國兩制」,抑或「一國一制」?在本土自決思潮及愛國愛港一黃一藍的洗禮下,迎接我們的,又會是何等光景?

According to CUHK’s survey findings on views on Hong Kong’s core values, over 90% of the 804 respondents strongly agreed or agreed that ‘rule of law’ (92.7&) and ‘just and corruption-free’ (92.3%) are the core values of Hong Kong. Moreover, among the 11 values that were deemed as Hong Kong’s core values, the largest proportion of respondents voted for ‘rule of law’ and ‘freedom’ as the most important one.

As one of the most treasured core values of Hong Kong society, ensuring that our legal system retains its judicial independence and trust of the Hong Kong people is of the utmost importance. Yet, it is not without reason to suggest that this trust between the people and the rule of law has wavered in the past few years under strain from political scandals such as the oath-taking debacle and the increasing issue of post- 2047 matters. In an SCMP article, ex-Court of Final Appeal Judge Henry Litton lambasted Hong Kong’s legal system for misusing judicial reviews and ‘sleepwalking’ towards 2047 without concrete plans for Hong Kong’s legal future. Litton argues that judgements derived from judicial reviews are ‘so obscure’ that no one can understand them, to the point that it is ‘drowning in irrelevance’; Moreover, he adds that failings in the judicial review has led to costly repercussions to the Hong Kong society, citing the delays and cost overruns of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge as a result of a ‘misjudged’ court case between a Tung Chung resident in 2010 and the director of environmental protection as a prime example of such failings.

Yet despite the wavering confidence in Hong Kong’s legal system lately, the city’s rule of law still ranks among the Top 20 in the world, reminding us that the general principles of the Basic Law are still protected, and that our fundamental rights and duties endowed upon us by the legal system remain inviolable.We are all equal before the law, our freedom of speech, press and publication, among others, are still inviolable, and our capitalist system is still under provision to remain unchanged for the next 50 years. Yet this is perhaps the biggest question facing this beloved core value -- what will happen after 2047? Will China grant Hong Kong an extension of the current autonomy and Basic Law? Will China only grant Hong Kong some but not all of our current privileges? Or will Hong Kong lose its special status and simply become a normal Chinese province without any autonomy? Food for thought.

 

 

Snapshots #3 – 六四二十八年, 04/06/2017

Snapshots #3 – 六四二十八年, 04/06/2017

1989年,前中共總書記胡耀邦的逝世引發北京學生在天安門廣場發起的學生運動。學生表達對貪污、官僚制度等改革開放引申的社會問題的不滿,並逐漸演化為對民主自由的追求。六月三日晚上,中國政府派遣解放軍進行清場行動,當中包括使用坦克車輾壓人群、以實彈射擊及施放毒氣彈等,死傷人數難以估計。中共至今仍將運動定性為「反革命暴亂」,引起兩岸以致國際堅持平反六四的聲音。
六四至今二十八年,當年許多記憶都漸漸被淡忘。今天兩岸三地的大學生都沒有經歷過六四的洗禮,加上本土思潮的崛起,對於六四似乎多了一份莫不關心的距離感。這份距離感是為了釐清自己與中共政權的關係,還是出於缺乏對於六四切身的了解,實在不得而知。然而,過去二十八年間,改變的還有中國本身,改革開放讓中國搖身一變成為全球經濟的火車頭,國際地位也大幅提升。當年在廣場上的學生,今天究竟有多少還堅持中國民主化的要求,有多少又因為中國的崛起承認中共政權?廣場上另一端的官員又有多少仍維護着當天以保護政權穩定為先的堅持,又有多少為學生的死傷而後悔?
下文列舉了當年廣場兩端五位人物的現況和他們今天對六四的看法。
【李鵬 – 國務院總理】
李鵬為時任中國國務院前總理,在運動歷時的兩個多月間均主張以強硬手段回應,是決定暴力清場的其中一位重要人物。在六四前夕,李在電視上發表措詞強硬的「五·一九講話」,引起更加大規模的示威活動;並簽署國務院命令,在北京部分地區戒嚴。隨著事態加劇,他與鄧小平、數名中共元老及政治局常委召開會議,允許「使用任何手段」實施清場以「結束暴亂並且恢復首都秩序」。李在六四事件後續任國務院總理,並在1998年轉任人大常委會委員長。然而,他1993年連任總理時有210張反對票,在中共歷史上實屬罕見。他退任後撰寫了多部回憶錄,包括《關鍵時刻:李鵬六四日記》,但被中共高層禁止出版。日記內容及後由趙紫陽秘書鮑彤之子鮑朴在香港出版;當中顯示李與鄧小平強硬對待學生運動,並拒絕對請願學生讓步。從回憶錄的內容可見,李似乎為自己不惜「賠上自己的身家性命」也要捍衛一黨專制的決心而驕傲。
【陳希同 – 北京市長】
陳希同為時任北京市長。趙紫陽指他是將學運定性為動亂的領頭人之一。但在他出版的回憶錄中,他否認自己是北京戒嚴指揮部的「總指揮」。陳於1995年在權爭中失勢,以「貪污罪」下獄。他在2004年因健康問題保外就醫,並在2013年六四前夕逝世。他晚年表示對於六四「作為市長,我感到難過……假如處理得當的話,一個人都不應該死,而事實上,那天死了好幾百人。」其回憶錄的作者指出他對六四事件的認知,並未擺脫「執政者的思維定式」;但對話過程,體現出陳「人性的復蘇和掙扎」。
【王丹 – 北京大學學生】
王丹六四運動擔任北大學生籌委會常委、北京市高校學生自治聯合會常委,積極領導廣場上的學生活動。六四事件後,他被中國政府通緝,並兩度入獄,及後獲准保外就醫逃亡到美國。他在美國哈佛大學完成學業後,到了台灣大學擔任教授,並積極支持台灣太陽花運動和香港的民主運動。他最近宣布赴美,投入推動中國人權及民主的工作。
【柴玲 – 北京大學學生】
柴玲在六四時間中曾擔任保衛天安門廣場指揮部總指揮,並是學生絕食抗議的倡導者之一。她在六四後逃亡到美國,現為軟件公司Jenzabar的創辦人兼總裁。柴玲於2010年歸信基督教,並透過「女童之聲」的組織關注中國計劃生育政策。她在2014寫給天安門母親丁子霖的信中寫道如果六四的時候認識上帝,她會勸學生不要上街、絕食;並指她「原諒鄧小平和李鵬,原諒1989年衝進天安門廣場的士兵」。王丹及丁子霖都對寬恕表達反對態度。
【李錄 – 南京大學學生】
李錄為六四事件後被通緝的21名學生領袖之一。他當時在南京大學修讀經濟,並在四月始在天安門廣場帶領學運。六四事件後,他逃到美國,在哥倫比亞大學繼續學業,並創辦私募基金喜馬拉雅資本(Himalaya Partners)。巴菲特在2003年成為其基金的其中一個主要客戶,並有傳他會成為巴菲特的接班人。2010年,他隨巴菲特合法返回中國大陸,成為首名回國的流亡學運領袖;並在15年在北京大學的投資課程擔任演講嘉賓。他曾在微博撰文指大陸史無前例的經濟增長,因「有一個具有超強執行能力,聚集了一批優秀人才的執政黨」。
他們的堅持或轉變不但折射了社會不同階層今天對於六四的看法,更讓我們深思今天中國經濟的發展對於政治改革的影響。中國崛起是否意味着中國已經沒有了推動民主化需要?民主自由對於今天的中國有什麼意義?

 

The death of Hu Yaobang, former Secretary General of the Communist Party of China, triggered the student movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989, commonly known as the June-Fourth Event. University students in Beijing voiced their discontent towards social issues that came to light from the Reform and Opening Up, such as corruption and bureaucracy. The movement expanded and students protested for freedom and democracy in China. On the night of 3rd June, the Liberation Army raided the Square. Lethal and brutal forces such as tanks, guns and poisonous gases were deployed to clear the Square. It is difficult to estimate the number of casualties. The Central government still categorizes the Event as an anti-revolution riot. Many across the Greater China region have been seeking for an official reassessment of the crackdown and demanding for official rehabilitation of those involved with the movement.

The memories of the June-Fourth Event have been gradually fading after 28 years. Some university students in Hong Kong try to distance themselves from China as well as the Event. It is hard to tell if it is a result of the rise of localism, or simply because we have not witnessed the tragic incident ourselves. China itself has also changed over the past decades. She became the driving force of the world’s economy and rose into one of the most important superpowers in the global stage. In light of these development, how many of the students who fought for democracy in the Square retained their passion? How many of them changed their views after witnessing the rise of China as a superpower? On the other hand, how many of the decision-makers in the “Great Hall of the People” on the other end of the Square still defend their decision to put security of the sovereign first? And how many of them regret causing the death of so many students?

This snapshot will tell the stories of five people on both sides of the Square in the June-Fourth Event and what they think about the Movement today.
[Li Peng – Premier of the State Department]

Li was the Premier of the State Department when the student movement unfolded. He insisted on responding with a high hand and played a vital part in deciding to clear the Square using violent means. Before the Event, he made a strong statement against the student movement on the television, but that resulted in even more support for the students. He was also the person who signed the order to enforce martial law in some parts of Beijing. As the protest escalated, he, alongside Deng Xiaoping and several other senior figures of the Communist Party, decided to “use whatever means” to clear the Square in order to “bring an end to the riot and restore discipline in the capital”. Li continued to serve as Premier until taking up another senior post as Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in 1998. To many’s surprise, there were 210 votes against him when Li sought for re-election in 1993, which is extremely rare in the history of the Communist Party. He wrote a few memoirs after retirement, including “The Critical Moment: Li Peng’s Tiananmen Diary”. The book is prohibited from circulation in mainland China but is published in Hong Kong. The Diary shows that Li and Deng refused to make any concession with the protesting students. He seems to be proud to defend the one-party dictation with “his life and all of his wealth” in 1989 and shows no signs of regret.
[Chan Xitong – Mayor of Beijing]

Chan was the Mayor of Beijing at the time. Zhao Ziyang claimed that he was one of the leading proponents for categorizing the student movement as a “riot”. Nevertheless, he rejected the claim that he assumed the role as “Chief Commander” in the “Headquarter for the Enforcement of Martial Law in Beijing” in an interview for his memoir. He fell from power in a power struggle in 1995 and was jailed for corruption. He was given compassionate release due to his medical condition in 2004 and died shortly before 4th June in 2013. He said in his late years that “I am sorry as the mayor of Beijing. … If the event was properly handled, no one would have died. In fact, several hundreds died that day.” The author of his memoir said that although Chan retained the mindset of an authoritative governor, he showed compassion and humanity in the conversion with him.
[Wang Dan – student of Peking University]

Wang was one of the key student leaders in the Movement. He was sought after by the Chinese government after the incident and was thrown into jail twice. He was later allowed to seek treatment for his health issues in the United States. After finishing his Master in Harvard University, he taught in several universities in Taiwan. He asserted strong support for Taiwan’s Sunflower Student Movement and the movement for democracy in Hong Kong. He recently announced that he will move to Washington D.C. to continue to advocate for human rights and democracy in China.
[Chai Ling – student of Peking University]

Chai was the Chief Commander of the “Headquarter for Safeguarding Tiananmen Square”. She also launched the student hunger strike on the Square. She left China for the United States right after the Event. She is now the founder and CEO of Jenzabar, a high school software development company. Chai turned to Christianity in 2010 and advocated against the one-child policy. She wrote to Ding Zilin, one of the mothers who lost her child during the Tiananmen crackdown, in 2014, saying that if she was Christian at the time, she would not have asked the students to protest and launch hunger strikes. She said that she “forg[a]ve Deng Xiaoping and Li Peng, forg[a]ve the troops who rushed into the Tiananmen Square in 1989”. Other student leaders were highly critical of her forgiving attitude.
[Li Lu – student of Nanjing University]

Li was one of the 21 student leaders who were sought after by the authorities after the June-Fourth Event. He was studying Economics in Nanjing University before the incident and started to assume a leading role in the student movement in April. He fled to the United States after the June-Fourth Event and continued his studies in Columbia University. He founded Himalaya Partners, a private equity fund. Warren Buffett is one of his major clients and it was rumoured that he would be named successor of one of Buffet’s multi-billions funds. Li returned to mainland China for the first time in 2010 in a trip with Buffett, becoming the first student leader in the June-Fourth Movement to return. He taught as a guest lecturer in an investment course in the Peking University in 2015. He once wrote on his Weibo account that the unprecedented economic growth in China is owed to the effective ruling of the governing party which is capable of drawing talents.
The five characters all have their own stories. Some of them persisted in the fight for democracy; others conceded to the reality. Some remained strong in defending the government’s actions that night; others regretted the mistakes they have made. There are numerous views on the June-Fourth Event across the political spectrum. However, the more critical question for us today is whether the economic growth renders political reform unnecessary. Does democracy and freedom mean anything to today’s China?

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