Daily Archives: October 12, 2014

CY evades media

Many will remember Baghdad Bob (or Comical Ali), aka as Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, Saddam Hussein’s Minister of Information, who famously proclaimed that there were no American tanks in Baghdad, when they were, in fact, right outside al-Sahhaf’s ministry. While CY shares al-Sahhaf’s skills of denial and dissembling, his current preference is to avoid the media altogether, as illustrated by his decision to suddenly change hotels in Guangzhou.

Meanwhile, various press unions have come out with a statement condemning CY’s lack of willingness to face the music. Frankly, I do not think he will ever face the music unless and until he is brought to court, and even then he will likely try to deny and dissemble.

Here is the statement by the press unions:

Press Unions Raise Strong Objections to CE

Four leading local press unions have today raised strong objections to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying selectively giving interview to one news organisation only while shunning the rest of media the world over.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association, Next Media Union, RTHK Programme Staff Union and Ming Pao Staff Association jointly demand the CE to promptly meet the local and international press to address various pressing issues currently impacting Hong Kong.

More than two weeks have gone by since the start of the Occupy Central movement and student protests on September 28. Other than speaking in a few taped video clips and speaking very briefly on two occasions, Mr Leung has yet to explain to the public in detail, for instance, the justifications for using teargas on protesters and suspending talks with student representatives.

The past few days also saw a public outcry over allegations of his accepting HK$50 million from an Australian company called UGL. Both the public and the press have been looking forward to his publicly addressing such allegations.

Earlier today, most disappointingly, he chose to appear in a 30-minute interview on TVB’s On The Record without notifying the press in advance or speaking to reporters afterwards.

To date Mr Leung has been avoiding the press on matters of such high public interest contrary to principles of transparency and accountability as well as commitments he had publicly made before taking office to respect and uphold the freedom of the press.

The unions urge the CE to promptly call a press conference to publicly address those issues and questions and, for transparency and openness in government, pledge to continue to do so on matters of high public interest and concern rather than give selective interviews or short briefings.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association

Next Media Union

RTHK Programme Staff Union

Ming Pao Staff Association

12 October 2014

CY: Master of dissembling

Those who know him will be aware that CY has mastered the art of dissembling. I have been asking him for a long time now to either confirm or deny that he unlawfully interfered with a particular employee’s contract of employment when he was university council chairman. He has so far always found a way to neither say yes, nor no.

Add to this Sunday morning’s interview with TVB in which he neither confirms nor denies that he was involved with the decision to fire tear gas at students in the early days of the protests which have since engulfed Hong Kong. Of course, he knows that if he says it had nothing to do with him, there is bound to be someone from within the administration or the police force that will leak the truth.

The Hong Kong Federation of Students, and the groups Scholarism and Occupy Central do a good job at exposing this charlatan in their response to the TVB interview:

Occupy Movement Demands Accountablity from Leung Chun-ying

Today, Leung Chun-ying described the Occupy Movement as a mass movement that has spun out of control. In fact, it is our government that is out of control – a government that fires tear-gas at unarmed citizens and unilaterally terminated dialogue with the students.

Leung was ambiguous about whether it was his decision to fire the tear-gas. On the one hand, he said it was the decision of the commander on the scene, on the other hand he said he participated in the overall situation. What was his specific role? Could it be that he decided there should be a forceful crackdown, and then left it to the commanding officer to decide the specifics? How can he, as the leader of our accountable officials, try to muddle through without explaining the truth to the public, without punishing officials guilty of dereliction of duty? If the government refuses to account for its actions, we must assume Leung Chun-ying was solely responsible, and that he should take on the responsibility wholly, by stepping down.

We hope that our demands for Leung to step down will not be futile because he has failed to directly face the people and explain himself in the fifteen days since force was used against citizens who were exercising their freedom of assembly. He has merely responded by making four pre-recorded television speeches and one television interview, this is unacceptable.

The row over political reform has its roots in the consultation report submitted by the Hong Kong government to the central leadership. It misled the central leadership into making a decision that violates the spirit of the Basic Law. The pronouncement that there need be no change to the electoral method for the 2016 Legislative Council elections and that the threshold for nomination in the 2017 Chief Executive election be raised from one eighth of the nominating committee to one half, clearly violates the principles of “gradual change”. Looking at citizens’ strong desire for democracy as shown by their participation in the civil referendum, the class boycott and the occupy movement, it is clear that the NPCSC decision does not concur with the “actual situation” in Hong Kong. The responsibility for the erroneous decision rests with the Leung Chun-ying government.

Right now, Leung Chun-ying is beset with scandal. According to the standards of a civilized society, an official mired in such scandals would have resigned long ago, lest he damage the government’s credibility and ability to govern. If Leung really had the interests of the people at heart, he should also know he needs to depart. The fact is, as the Central Government strengthens its resolve to crack down on corruption, how can Leung crave to cling onto power and drag the central leadership through the mud? We urge Hong Kong’s law enforcement agencies and legislators to act fairly, and to immediately launch an investigation. We cannot allow one person, Leung Chun-ying, to destroy the Hong Kong core values we so cherish!

HKFS, Scholarism and OCLP
12 October 2014