2016年11月1日 星期二

Ming Pao Editorial : Xi hexin and new democracy [Editorial]  Editorial : Xi hexin and new democracy 習核心推新權威新民主 反腐辣招還靠輿論監督

Editorial : Xi hexin and new democracy [Editorial]  Editorial : Xi hexin and new democracy
習核心推新權威新民主 反腐辣招還靠輿論監督

Publishing Date: 2016/11/1

【明報專訊】AT the 6th plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which closed last week, Xi Jinping was established as the hexin (core) of the whole Party, and Certain Criteria Regarding Intra-Party Political Life in the New Situation and Rules of Intra-Party Supervision of the Communist Party of China (two sets of regulations applicable to Party members) were adopted. Xi Jinping will go to any length to beef up the authority he has as a leader. In the making of the two sets of regulations, he increased intra-Party democracy. This is the new "basic point" of what the "Xi hexin regime" will do in running the Party and the country.

 audio 1


The CPC Central Committee stressed at its 6th plenum, "Intra-Party democracy is the Party's life. No body or member of the Party should suppress or disrupt intra-Party democracy. Any member of the Party is entitled to disclose or report responsibly to the Party any illegality or irregularity on the part of any body or any other member of the Party. Those who do so are encouraged to give real names." It can thus be seen that the Xi hexin's "new authority" includes "new democracy". In other words, he puts greater emphasis than any of his predecessors on protecting the democratic rights Party bodies at all levels enjoy and especially those rank-and-file Party members enjoy. At the same time, he wants to ensure by means of this sort of democratic intra-Party supervision that "decrees will go out of Zhongnanhai" — that the Xi hexin regime's general and specific policies will be carried out.

 audio 2


The Rules have yet to be made public in full. However, they presumably include at least what has to do with political lines and policies and with the war against corruption. Since shibada (the 18th National Congress of the CPC) ended, many high-ranking officials have been toppled. The situation is disastrous. This shows "princes" and "high officers on the frontier" have been severely afflicted. It once was a problem "who should supervise one who heads a province or a municipality". Therefore, the central authorities have set up a group of inspectors who are like "imperial commissioners" as times require. If intra-Party supervision amounts to much in the wake of the 6th plenum, it will presumably be an efficacious cure for the malady of "always managing to find ways to counter superior authorities' measures" (which is prevalent among province and municipality heads) and the vice of "taking the lead in being corrupt" and that of "collective corruption".

 audio 3


However, that is inadequate. Since shibada ended, many an official who heads a province or a municipality has committed crimes in spite of and contrary to admonitions. Such an official may restrain himself when the central authorities' inspectors are on his turf, but he will be as corrupt as he has been once they leave. Such a high-ranking official is often caught when those inspectors give him a "back thrust". One may say never over the past four years has the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) or the central authorities' group of inspectors been soft or merciful to any corrupt officials. However, because there is now a high degree of "power-market integration" on the mainland, demons called greed often manage to induce frail souls to break flimsy rules. Things are not yet actually such that no officials dare to be corrupt, and efforts have yet to be directed at making it "impossible" or "undesirable" to be corrupt. Therefore intra-Party supervision is inadequate. It is necessary to use two anti-corruption means that have proved effective in other places — public supervision and the policy of leaving everything in the sun. The authorities should allow the public to supervise them so that officials can hardly "shield one another". We believe that, with the people's help, high-ranking officials can exorcise demons called greed from their souls. If they manage to do so, the CCDI will have much less to do.

 audio 4




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Gender equality in China would bring huge economic benefits

China's population

Gender equality in China would bring huge economic benefits

One estimate suggests the nation could see a US$2.5 trillion increase in gross domestic product by 2020 if it closed the gender gap in education and opportunity


PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 11:10pm

UPDATED : Monday, 31 October, 2016, 11:31pm

At a time when China is looking for new domestic drivers of growth, advancing gender equality could pay off handsomely. Photo: Xinhua

China’s relaxation of the one-child policy and adoption of a two-child rule promises eventually to counter the ageing of the population and shrinking of the workforce. There were also hopes that it would lead to the birth of more girls, despite the cultural preference for boys, and reduce a very serious gender imbalance. It is early days yet to expect to see any evidence of this. But it would be more welcome than ever, going by the latest report from the World Economic Forum.

The global gender gap report says China continues to record the world’s most imbalanced sex ratio at birth for the second consecutive year, a worry compounded by an ageing population. It has also slipped from 91 last year to 99 out of 144 countries in rankings for overall gender equality, based on relative gaps between men and women in health, education, economic participation and opportunity, and political empowerment.

China has world’s most skewed sex ratio at birth – again

The boy-girl birth ratio rose from 108.5 to 100 in 1982 – not too far above the international norm – to 115 in 1994 and a peak of 121.2 in 2004, before levelling off and declining. A sample survey by the National Bureau of Statistics found the ratio stood at 113.5 last year, which may reflect urbanisation and greater prosperity. That is not only still far too high but the cultural preference remains. The two-child policy may be seen as positive for better gender balance. Perversely, however, some fear the opposite may be true if parents elect not to have a second child after having a boy, or if they elect not to go ahead with a second female pregnancy after having a girl. After all, sex-selective abortion at least partly accounts for the current gender imbalance at birth.

Boys to vastly outnumber girls in China for years: population official

This may be only speculation at this stage but continued prejudice against girls would exacerbate a population issue which, within a decade, could result in a surplus of single men that impacts seriously on social stability and cohesion. Perhaps the greatest obstacle to a positive perception of women as economic pillars of a family is to be found in educational opportunity. According to the global gender gap report, Chinese females rank 119th in secondary school attainment, and 74th in political empowerment, but are more prominently represented in the workplace and in company ownership.

At a time when China is looking for new domestic drivers of growth, advancing gender equality could pay off handsomely. According to the report, one estimate suggests the nation could see a US$2.5 trillion increase in gross domestic product by 2020 if it closed the gender gap in education and opportunity.

There’s a long way to go before we can truly say that Hong Kong offers quality of life

There’s a long way to go before we can truly say that Hong Kong offers quality of life
Tiny homes, a huge wealth imbalance and rising poverty are signs we should look beyond economic success alone
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 October, 2016, 1:03am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 October, 2016, 1:03am
The latest report by the Poverty Commission showed that despite some improvement in previous years, the number of people living below the official poverty line has surged to a six-year high at 1.34 million. Photo: Bruce Yan
The concept of quality of life varies from person to person. It could be a nice meal or an overseas vacation; clean air and green environment; affordable housing and job opportunities; a good health care system and education; freedoms and a fair and just society. While there appears to be a bit of everything of these in Hong Kong, the city does not stand out as one with good quality of life.
This has been reflected repeatedly in international and local studies. The latest one is done by a local policy think tank. According to a well-being indicator compiled by the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre, our quality of life index only rose 0.4 per cent between 2000 and 2015. The index collated scores in 11 areas, including income, housing, jobs, health, safety, education, recreation, and environment and governance, and covered factors like property prices, public housing waiting times, transport costs as well as vehicle density.
That our quality of life has remained almost stagnant for more than a decade should not be a surprise. There is, indeed, no shortage of evidence of a decline in various aspects. The mushrooming of cubicle-like subdivided flats and the trend for developers to build shoebox residential apartments are the latest examples. While their emergence is arguably just a response to market needs, the phenomenon is nonetheless shameful in the context of our economy. Based on the methodology used by the research centre, the index measuring the city’s GDP growth rose by almost 60 per cent, compared with the 0.4 per cent rise in quality of life index during the same period. The contrast does nothing for our image as Asia’s world city.
Academics attributed the gap to our skewed economy and imbalanced growth. The dominance of finance and real estate means not everyone can benefit from the boom. This is not helped when government efforts to promote wealth redistribution still have gaps. The latest report by the Poverty Commission showed that despite some improvement in previous years, the number of people living below the official poverty line has surged to a six-year high at 1.34 million.
With one in seven living in poverty, the city can hardly boast about its quality of life. Economic success and individual well-being are not necessarily correlated. As we pursue development and growth, it is important to look beyond numbers and trends. Only when people enjoy real improvement in different aspects of life can Hong Kong become a city with a true quality of life.

2015年1月1日 星期四














2014年11月8日 星期六

Mexican gang members admit killing students, burning bodies and throwing remains in river

Mexican gang members admit killing students, burning bodies and throwing remains in river

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 November, 2014, 9:30am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 November, 2014, 9:35am

Confessions by suspected gang members indicate that 43 Mexican students missing for six weeks were killed, burned beyond recognition and tossed in a river in a case that outraged the nation, authorities said on Friday.

Facing angry protests in the biggest crisis of his administration, President Enrique Pena Nieto vowed to hunt down all those responsible for the "horrible crime."

Authorities have been searching for the aspiring teachers since gang-linked police attacked their buses in the southern city of Iguala on September 26, allegedly under orders of the mayor and his wife in a night of terror that left six people dead.

"To the parents of the missing young men and society as a whole, I assure you that we won't stop until justice is served," Pena Nieto said.

If the testimonies are proven true, it would be one of the worst massacres in a drug war that has killed more than 80,000 people and left 22,000 others missing since 2006.

Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam warned that it would be difficult to identify the charred remains and that authorities will continue to consider the students as missing until DNA tests confirm the identities.

He added, however, that there was "a lot of evidence ... that could indicate it was them."

Three Guerreros Unidos gang members confessed to killing the students, all men, after police handed them over between Iguala and the neighbouring town of Cocula, Murillo Karam said, showing videos of the taped confessions.

Iguala's ousted mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda were detained in Mexico City district on Tuesday after more than a month on the run. Photo: AP

The bodies were set on fire down a hill from a Cocula garbage dump with petrol, tyres, firewood and plastic, in an inferno that lasted 14 hours, he said.

"The fire lasted from midnight to 2pm the next day. The criminals could not handle the bodies until 5pm due to the heat," he said.

The suspects then crushed the remains, stuffed them in bags and threw some in a river.

Murillo Karam showed videos of investigators combing through small pieces of charcoal-like remains that were found in black plastic bags. Some remains were found near the landfill.

The gang members were not sure how many students they received but one of them said there were more than 40.

Murillo Karam delivered the news to the relatives of the missing in an airport hangar in Chilpancingo, capital of the violence-plagued southern state of Guerrero.

But the parents, who distrust the government, said they would not accept that their children are dead until they get a final ruling from independent Argentinian forensic experts who are taking part in the investigation.

"As long as there is no proof, our sons are alive," Felipe de la Cruz, a spokesman for the families, said at a news conference from the missing young men's teacher-training college near Chilpancingo.

Last month, two hitmen had already confessed to killing 17 of the students and dumping them in a mass grave near Iguala. But authorities said tests showed none of the 28 bodies found in the pit belonged to the students.

Murillo Karam said experts from an Austrian university would help identify the charred remains.

Authorities have now detained 74 people, including several Guerreros Unidos members, 36 Iguala and Cocula police officers and Iguala's ousted mayor Jose Luis Abarca and his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda.

The mayoral couple were detained in a gritty Mexico City district on Tuesday after more than a month on the run.

Students take part in a protest in support of the 43 missing students outside the Mexican Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. Photo: Reuters

Authorities say Abarca ordered the officers to confront the students over fears they would derail a speech by his wife, who headed the local child protection agency.

The missing young men said they went to Iguala to raise funds, though they hijacked four buses to move around, a common practice among students from the radical teachers college.

The crisis forced Pena Nieto to shorten a major upcoming trip to China and Australia by four days, which will now run from Sunday to next Saturday.

Human Rights Watch dubbed the mass disappearance "one of the gravest cases recorded in the contemporary history of Mexico and Latin America."

Fed up with years of relentless violence, tens of thousands of Mexicans held a new protest over the Iguala case on Wednesday.

2014年11月2日 星期日

British banker held over double murder in Wan Chai flat

SUN Nov 2, 2014
Updated: 5:30am

British banker held over double murder in Wan Chai flat
Bodies of two young women, believed to be sex workers, found in Briton's upscale Wan Chai apartment – and they may have died days apart

Police forensic officers search the 29-year-old man's flat at J Residence in Johnston Road, Wan Chai. Photo: Jonathan Wong
A British banker was being questioned by murder squad detectives last night after the naked bodies of two young women were discovered in his 31st-floor Wan Chai apartment.

The 29-year-old - who works for a top-tier global bank - was arrested early yesterday after he called police. Officers arrived at his Johnston Road flat to discover the body of one young woman in the living room. Her throat had been slashed. Hours later the body of the second woman was found stuffed in a suitcase on the apartment's balcony.

It is believed that the women were sex workers of Southeast Asian or Asian ethnicity and that they may have been killed days apart.

A police source said the flat at J Residence, a high-end block at 60 Johnston Road favoured by junior expatriate bankers, was "covered in blood''.

Exterior view of the J Residence Building in Wan Chai. Photo: Jonathan Wong

The first victim, aged between 25 and 30, was found naked in the living room with knife wounds to her neck and buttocks. "Two cut wounds were found in her neck and her throat was slashed," the source said.

CCTV footage showed the woman and the suspect, who has not been charged, had returned to the flat at around midnight.

About eight hours after the first body was found, the naked corpse of the second woman, thought to be Indonesian and aged 25, was discovered wrapped in a carpet inside a black suitcase on the flat's balcony. "She was nearly decapitated and her hands and legs were bound with ropes," the source said. Her passport was found at the scene.

Police investigate the murder scene. Photo: Jonathan Wong

An initial investigation found that the body in the suitcase had been there for three to four days and had started to decompose.

"We believe the woman had been dead for quite some time," said Wan Siu-hung, Wan Chai assistant district commander for crime.

He said the time gap between the discovery of the bodies was because police had to follow strict procedures to collect the evidence in the living room before searching the balcony.

A small quantity of cocaine was found in the living room. "We are investigating whether [the suspect] was under the influence of illegal drugs at the time of the incident," the source said.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London said: "We can confirm that a British national has been arrested in Hong Kong. We are in touch with the local police and stand ready to provide consular assistance."

Security was tight at the 40-storey block last night. One person who has lived at J Residence for about a year said he had noticed an odd smell recently. "There was a stink in the building like a dead animal," he said. "It was a shock because you would never expect something like this to happen in Hong Kong."

He said the building's occupants were mainly expatriates.

The murders are the latest in a series of shocking crimes the city has seen in recent months.

A police source said the scene of the murder in Wan Chai was among the grisliest seen since the so-called "milkshake murder" in 2003, when a high-flying American banker's wife served him a strawberry milkshake full of sedatives before bludgeoning him to death.

2014年8月18日 星期一

Police say anti-Occupy Central turnout was higher than July 1 march

MON Aug 18, 2014

Occupy Central
Police say anti-Occupy Central turnout was higher than July 1 march

Pro-Beijing alliance says turnout shows many Hongkongers are against civil disobedience campaign, despite claims of protest recruitment

Some of the crowd during yesterday's march against the Occupy Central movement. Police said 111,000 people took part although other estimates varied. Photo: K.Y. Cheng
Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets yesterday in protest at the threat by Occupy Central campaigners to paralyse Central and pressure Beijing into giving Hong Kong "genuine" universal suffrage.

Among those leading the march, organised by the pro-establishment Alliance for Peace and Democracy, were executive councillors Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, Cheung Chi-kong, Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, and Cheng Yiu-tong.

There were also large numbers of mainland tourists and organised groups of elderly participants from leftist associations.

Watch: Hong Kong Pro-government marchers explain why they joined anti-Occupy Central rally

Shouts of "Against Occupy Central" echoed through the streets as the crowds marched from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Chater Garden in Central.

Police said about 111,000 people took part, compared with its estimate of roughly 98,600 for the pro-democracy march on July 1. The University of Hong Kong public opinion programme put the number at between 79,000 and 88,000, roughly half of its estimate for the July 1 march.

An initial estimate by the alliance put the figure at 193,000.

READ: United they stand - Anti-Occupy campaign rallies establishment camp

The protest was peaceful apart from some minor clashes between marchers and opponents. Four men aged between 36 to 58 were arrested. Another marcher threw eggs at radical People Power activists.

A statement from Hong Kong police said: "Police received several incident reports in the course of the event, including assault, criminal damage and a person throwing eggs." It added officers "handled the incidents in a fair and just manner".

Police estimated that more than 110,000 people left the march's starting point at Victoria Park. Photo: Nora Tam

Amid conflicting reports on the size of the crowd, rumours flew of participants being strong-armed into attending and of people being offered a free lunch or money. Many restaurants in the area reported full houses. Tour buses were also seen streaming into Victoria Park, reportedly bringing people from across the border.

Starry Lee Wai-king, an executive councillor and lawmaker from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said: "The turnout shows many Hong Kong people do not want to see Occupy Central happen. [The Occupy Central] activists have gone too far."

Mainlanders were said to have been brought in for the march. Photo: K. Y. Cheng
The march marked the end of the alliance's month-long petition campaign against Occupy Central during which nearly 1.5 million people signed, beating the 800,000 who voted in an unofficial referendum held in June by Occupy Central organisers.

Dr Chan Kin-man, an organiser of Occupy Central, said he respected the freedom of speech of the marchers. "I hope they can understand that Occupy Central will only be our last resort," he said.

A government spokesman said: "The [Hong Kong] government welcomes and supports all activities which take forward the implementation of universal suffrage for the chief executive election in 2017 in accordance with the law and opposes all unlawful acts which affect social order and the betterment of our people."

Dr James Sung Lap-kung, a City University political scientist, said that whatever the size of the march's crowd, it would not stop the Occupy Central movement.

Copyright © 2014 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd.
All rights reserved

2014年7月9日 星期三

2014年7月5日 星期六

明報網上版 Editorial The Occupy Central rehearsal

Editorial The Occupy Central rehearsal
【明報專訊】AFTER this year\'s July 1 march, some protesters, responding to the calls of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, staged a sit-in in Chater Road as a rehearsal of the Occupy Central movement. On the one hand, such a development indicates that things in Hong Kong have now reached a critical point, where violent clashes or bloodshed could happen anytime. On the other hand, we were deeply impressed by the professionalism and efficiency the police displayed in the clearing of the sit-in, which, as witnessed by journalists and broadcast live on television, was meticulously executed.

Some commentators are of the opinion that the Occupy Central movement is nothing to be afraid of, as the rehearsal did not turn violent. It is true that protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks or surgical masks, who are active participants in mass demonstrations, were absent from the Occupy Central rehearsal. But no one can guarantee that they will not show up next time. These protesters, or other people bent on radicalism, could turn up anytime and stir up trouble under the pretext of supporting the Occupy Central movement. It is an undeniable fact that these radicals have repeatedly staged "follow-ups" to mass demonstrations, which invariably ended in confrontations and clashes with police. The assertion that the Occupy Central movement will not turn violent, based on the observation that its rehearsal did not turn violent, simply does not hold water.

Despite their restraint in handling the demonstrators, the police have come under quite a lot of criticism. Participants in the rehearsal were brought to the Police College in Wong Chuk Hang. Some are complaining that they didn\'t have a chance to consult with their lawyers. Some say that they have been denied water and food. These are complaints the Independent Police Complaints Council should investigate. However, some people are saying that the protesters were peaceful and the police should not have dispersed them. Some even insist that the police should have waited until 8 o\'clock yesterday, when the protesters still at the scene, who were in their dozens, would have surrendered to demonstrate their willingness to honour their promise. We beg to differ.

First, the Hong Kong Federation of Students had declared that they would stay in Chater Road from midnight to 8 o\'clock the next day. No matter what the protesters called the event, there is little doubt that they were an unlawful assembly, as they had not sought the police\'s approval. Whether it was peaceful or violent is beside the point. Furthermore, had the police put off dispersing the crowd, what could they have done if the protesters broke their promise and refused to leave at 8 o\'clock? And let\'s not forget that the protesters were an unlawful assembly. The police officers would be considered these protesters\' accomplices had they taken the "promise" seriously. We don\'t see why the police should have done that.

Those who have leveled criticism at the police include members of the Legislative Council and influential opinion leaders. Their freedom of speech must be respected. However, they should understand that things are now very sensitive at the moment and that their opinions carry weight. They should endorse what is right and denounce what is wrong. It is irresponsible for them to make comments out of political considerations, political necessity, or political interest. For this will mislead Hong Kong people and add uncertainty to Hong Kong\'s already precarious situation.

明報社評 2014.07.03﹕事關香港命運安危 支持警隊依法履行職責




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