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    Executive Producer:Diana Wan

    06/01/2018

    Happy New Year! One that’s predictable about 2018 is that it's going to be more expensive than 2017. Among the prices already slated to go up are those of one popular fast food chain, electricity, public transport, postage, medical expenses, and even leisure activities. Add Hong Kong’s already high property prices and ongoing political uncertainty and it may not come as a surprise that a recent survey ranked Hong Kong as the world's seventh unhappiest city. With us in the studio to talk about labour rights and employment are Lee Cheuk-yan, General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions and Felix Chung leader of the Liberal Party.

    For some the beginning of the new year is a time to reflect or maybe set new goals and make resolutions. If you are of a philosophical frame of mind, it may even be a time to consider the really big things like where we’re all going. If hell and handbaskets aren’t the first thing to come to mind you could even consider the nature of the universe, human existence, or whether there really was a big bang. Who better to address some of those issues than British physicist, Professor Brian Cox, a man who’s done much to make physics accessible to TV audiences around the world? Producer Liz Yuen went to talk to him.

    Finally this week, on Friday morning Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that Beijing had accepted the resignation of Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen. He’s to be replaced by Senior Counsel Teresa Cheng. We’ll leave you with a fondish farewell to Mr Yuen and wish you all the best for 2018, and we’ll see you next week.


    Contact: wanyt@rthk.hk


    集數

    EPISODES
    • Liu Xia in Germany, 709 anniversary & interview with Bernard Chan

      Liu Xia in Germany, 709 anniversary & interview with Bernard Chan

      Some good news for those who have long been worried about the well-being of Liu Xia, the widow of the dissident and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo. This week she was finally allowed and go to Germany after eight years of what amounts to house arrest. Her release came a day before Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed a commercial deal with Germany worth some 20 billion euros. Chinese officials deny a connection between these two events but the deal is also timely as a trade war between China and the United States moves from warm to hot.

      We also talked to Bernard Chan, Convenor of the Non-official Members of the Executive Council, will be with us to talk about a whole lot things including housing policy, land supply and the current state of Hong Kong politics.

      The flight to freedom of Liu Xia wasn’t the only good news this week. There was also very good news from Thailand where the coach and all members of the Wild Boars schoolboy football team were rescued from a cave after a complex and dangerous operation. They had been trapped for 17 days by sudden flooding in the Tham Luang caved in Chiang Rai. The search and three-day rescue mission involved Thai Navy Seals and diving experts from many countries. This extraordinary undertaking captivated world attention and saw offers of help pouring in from home and abroad. . Sadly, a former Thai navy SEAL, Saman Gunan, who’d volunteered to join the rescue, died while delivering air tanks. We’ll leave you with images of the rescue.

      And that’s it from us for this week and in fact for this series. We’ll take a short summer break and will be back taking The Pulse of Hong Kong in mid-September. See you then.

      14/07/2018
    • Same-sex dependant visa: QT case & 21st HKSAR through the eyes of 2 HKUSU presidents

      Same-sex dependant visa: QT case & 21st HKSAR through the eyes of 2 HKUSU presidents

      The latest study by Hong Kong University’s Centre for Comparative and Public Law and Chinese University suggest that over half of Hong Kong people now support same-sex marriage. That’s a big increase from the 38% in a similar 2013 study. 69% also said there should be a law against discrimination based on sexual orientation. The administration however shows no sign of wanting to change the laws. On Wednesday though, the government suffered a defeat in the Court of Final Appeal which made a landmark ruling on the eligibility of a lesbian couple for a dependant visa. With me are solicitor Michael Vidler and Peter Reading, Legal Counsel for the Equal Opportunities Commission.

      Two weeks ago, the Central-government-backed Ta Kung Pao newspaper said that the annual July 1st march should be banned because it calls for an end to one-party rule in China, opposes the central and Hong Kong governments, and “violates the law and the constitution”. The police were also making things difficult this year, telling the organisers, The Civil Human Rights Front, that they would only allow the march to begin at small area of the lawn in Victoria Park. They warned of possible arrests if protesters tried to join later on the route. This year’s turnout was at a three-year low. The organiser said around 50,000 took part. And it wasn’t just the July 1st march that saw low numbers. Since the Umbrella movement ended in 2014, other political protests have also seen reduced participation.

      On Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam lost her temper at the weekly media session after the Exco meeting. She appeared to be saying that answering questions in English was a waste of time. Then late at night, she issued a statement to apologise for causing “confusion” with her remarks. We’ll leave you with that and see you next week, when, with apologies to Mrs Lam we will still be broadcasting in English. Goodbye.

      07/07/2018
    • New housing measures: discussion with Lau Ping-cheung & Fred Li & land supply consultation

      New housing measures: discussion with Lau Ping-cheung & Fred Li & land supply consultation

      Hello and welcome to The Pulse. Sunday is the 21st anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR. It is also a moment for Hongkongers and the central government to take stock of Chief Executive, Carrie Lam’s first year in office. Some of that report card should focus on how well or badly she has dealt with Hong Kong’s ongoing housing crisis. This week, a step was taken. After weeks of talking about imposing a tax on vacant properties, on Friday the government announced several measures aimed at tackling housing problems. With us in the studio are members of the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee, Lau Ping-cheung and Fred Li to talk about the new measures.

      Hong Kong’s birth rate has gone down, but our population is still growing, thanks in part to the daily quota of 150 allowed to settle here from the mainland. 830,000 mainland residents have arrived since the Handover and that number’s expected to reach 1.93 million by 2021. The quota’s controlled by the central government. The Chief Executive says it’s irrelevant to our housing issues. She’d rather look for another 1,200 hectares of land to meet estimated need for the next three decades. Hence the setting up of a Task Force on Land Supply in April, and a currently running five-month public consultation. Some critics, even in the administration, say that even now the government is underestimating how much we’re going to need. Others argue that it’s also underestimating the land already available … from sources on which the government seems unwilling to draw.

      Last Sunday, the people of Turkey cast their votes in snap presidential and parliamentary elections. President Recep Erdogan, who has been in power for more than 15 years, called for early elections in mid-April, 18 months earlier than planned. After 99% of the votes had been counted he had already won a 52.54% share of the national vote. It gives him increased executive powers to appoint high level government officials and senior judges, to dissolve parliament, issue executive decrees, and impose a state of emergency. Lucky citizens. We’ll leave you with images of the elections. See you next week. Goodbye.

      30/06/2018
    • The potential legislation on electronic cigarettes and interview with Alex Chow

      The potential legislation on electronic cigarettes and interview with Alex Chow

      Repercussions continue following the Umbrella Movement and protests advocating localism which took place in the past four years – Edward Leung and some of his colleagues are now sitting in jail having been given long sentences earlier this month, other activists have been barred from standing for election – more trials are pending and new laws to limit both protests and freedom of expression are in the pipeline. An editorial in the pro-government Ta Kung Pao newspaper this week, for example, called for a ban on the annual 1 July protests on grounds that they conflict with the Basic Law.
      Does this mean that not only did the moment fail but that activists are too demoralised to carry on? Earlier this week we spoke to Alex Chow, one the movement’s more prominent leaders who has found another way looking at protest. More on that later.

      But first, this week the government announced that it was considering legislation to regulate the sale of electronic cigarettes. This has been met with strong opposition from the medical profession and anti-smoking advocates who point out that just three years ago the government was planning to simply ban the sale of e-cigarettes. With us to discuss the issue is Kwok Ka-ki, who is a doctor and Civil Party legislator.

      The severe prison sentences given to Edward Leung, the former leader of Hong Kong Indigenous and others found guilty of rioting in Mong Kok, after the Umbrella protests sent a sharp reminder that anti-government protests can come with a heavy price. Meanwhile the level of protest in Hong Kong has clearly gone down. Does this mean that democracy advocates are either too dermoralised or indeed too scared to carry on? One person who’s been thinking a lot about this is Alex Chow, the former Secretary General of the Hong Kong Federation of Students and was among the most high profile leaders of the Umbrella Movement.

      Finally, to another kind of disruption, we’ll leave you with images of the mayhem and u-turns caused by Donald Trump’s immigration policies…
      There will however be no u-turns at The Pulse, at least until next week – so see you then- Goodbye.

      23/06/2018
    • Sha Tin to Central Link Scandal: discussion with Miriam Lau & the plight of Green Sea Turtles

      Sha Tin to Central Link Scandal: discussion with Miriam Lau & the plight of Green Sea Turtles

      Late on Thursday night the government got its way as legislators, by 40 to 20 votes, gave the green light to a border checkpoint that will see mainland laws enforced in the heart of Hong Kong at the West Kowloon Express Rail terminus. A variety of … let’s say “interesting” … tactics had been used including evicting legislators, refusing to let them attend the following meeting (in apparent contravention of Legco rules), capping debate time, and barring some lawmakers from speaking,
      But that’s far from the only controversy that infrastructural projects like the Express Rail Link, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, and the Sha Tin to Central Link have been facing. There’s also the issue of construction inadequacies, as in the case of Hong Kong’s most expensive internal rail project to date, the HK$97 billion 17-kilometre Sha Tin to Central Link. With us to discuss the issue is Miriam Lau, former chairman of Legco's Panel on Transport.

      Two years ago, the University of Hong Kong released the first comprehensive study on Hong Kong’s marine biodiversity. It revealed that 5,943 marine species have been found within an area of just about 1,651 square kilometres. That’s not a huge area, but it hosts more than a quarter of all the marine species recorded in China. We have more hard corals than the whole Caribbean Sea, and more mangrove tree species than East Africa. Despite that less than 2% of our marine area is designated as marine parks, and even that designation provides only limited protection. And one of the creatures at risk, thanks to encroachment on the sea and plastic pollution, is the Green Sea Turtle.

      Well, arguments over who has the biggest nuclear button, at least for now, on Tuesday, the U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un met in Singapore. The two leaders were all smiles, patting each other on the back while Mr Trump enjoined photographers to make them “look nice and handsome and thin.” They issued a statement that they plan to work towards the “denuclearisation” of Pyongyang, although no timetable was given. Meanwhile Mr Trump agreed to U.S-South Korea joint military exercises.

      16/06/2018
    • 29th anniversary of Tiananmen Sqaure crackdown: interview with Joshua Wong, Senia Ng, Xu Xi & Liao Yiwu

      29th anniversary of Tiananmen Sqaure crackdown: interview with Joshua Wong, Senia Ng, Xu Xi & Liao Yiwu

      What any nation knows of its history is the result of a constant conflict between remembering, reassessing and forgetting. For governments determined to control perceptions of the past, intimidation, censorship and propaganda are their tools of choice. Oh, and there’s always the simple alternative of rewriting history. In mainland China, the official narrative explaining the Cultural Revolution has been periodically re-phrased and atrocities toned down. And Hong Kong is also seeing increasing attempts to ‘reinterpret’ recent Chinese history, particularly in school textbooks. And then there’s the thorny problem of what happened in 1989, so taboo on the mainland that around June 4th the internet search terms “today, “yesterday”, and “tomorrow” have been blocked, as has the character “zhan” (占) because it looks like a tank. Yet Hong Kong persists in remembering. With us in the studio is Joshua Wong, council member of the recently formed think tank “Dialogue China”.

      In the spring of 1989, writer and professor Liu Xiaobo was in New York. He returned to China after hearing about the growing protests for democracy and against corruption. Joining the students in protest, he went on hunger strike. Days after the crackdown, he was placed in a detention centre for almost 20 months. From then on he spent much of his life in and out of prison and was deprived of political rights. In 2010, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. At the ceremony he was represented by an empty chair, as he was still in jail, serving an 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power”. He died of liver cancer on 13th July last year. Since then his widow, Liu Xia has been under de facto house arrest and is subject to constant surveillance. Last month, dozens of leading writers and artists took part in a campaign organised by Amnesty International and PEN calling for her release.

      09/06/2018
    • HK Law Society council election & interview with Eric Cheung & press freedom with Sonny Swe, Co-founder The Myanmar Times

      HK Law Society council election & interview with Eric Cheung & press freedom with Sonny Swe, Co-founder The Myanmar Times

      Photography in Hong Kong courts or court buildings is prohibited. It’s an offence carrying fines, and in more serious cases, a jail sentence. The long trial of defendants accused of participating in the Mong Kok unrest of 2016 has already seen two suspicious cases of courtroom photography earlier this year. Two weeks ago, the court received an anonymous email containing photos of jury members. A few days after that, as the same trial continued, a mainland woman was found taking photos on her mobile phone. Her defence is interesting, she claims “Jesus says I’m innocent.” And it isn’t just mainlanders who’ve breached this law. The former president of the Hong Kong Law Society Junius Ho took a “selfie” inside the High Court and uploaded it to social media in 2016. A police investigation was launched but the case was dropped on advice from the Department of Justice. And while we’re on the topic of the Hong Kong Law Society, on Thursday evening the more than 10,000 strong organisation elected new council members. One of them is law academic Eric Cheung.

      Last month, the Hong Kong Journalists Association released its annual press freedom survey. It says the Hong Kong Press Freedom Index has dropped to a new low of 47.1 on a scale of 100. 70% of journalists surveyed said that press freedom has deteriorated compared to a year ago. Both the public and journalists see pressure from the Central Government as a major factor. This year’s Reporters Without Borders’s World Press Freedom Index also said that the Chinese model of state-controlled news and information is being copied in other Asian countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Myanmar is also down six places compared to last year. It ranks 137th in the list. Reporters Without Borders says that the government led by Aung San Suu Kyi has lost all credibility in terms of defending the media. Early this month, we spoke to Sonny Swe, co-founder of the Myanmar Times. Established in 2000, it is the oldest privately-owned English-language newspaper in the country.

      This year’s Reporters Without Borders’s World Press Freedom Index also said that the Chinese model of state-controlled news and information is being copied in other Asian countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. Myanmar is also down six places compared to last year. It ranks 137th in the list. Reporters Without Borders says that the government led by Aung San Suu Kyi has lost all credibility in terms of defending the media. Early this month, we spoke to Sonny Swe, co-founder of the Myanmar Times. Established in 2000, it is the oldest privately-owned English-language newspaper in the country.

      02/06/2018
    • Scrapping of the Mong Kok Pedestrian Zone, difficulties stay-at-home mothers face in HK

      Scrapping of the Mong Kok Pedestrian Zone, difficulties stay-at-home mothers face in HK

      Hong Kong’s busking scene is growing. But not all busking is music to the ears, especially in packed places like the Mong Kok pedestrian zone. On Thursday the Yau Tsim Mong District Council put a vote to end the car-free zone. With us in the studio are Clarisse Yeung, Wan Chai district councillor and member of the Hong Kong Culture Monitor and Carine Lai Senior Researcher of Civic Exchange to talk about this issue.

      It’s not an easy job being a mother, some have to combine parenting with paid employment others look after children full time. There’s little chance to clock off, at least not until the kids become more independent. For some, motherhood can be a lifetime career, and one without pensions or safeguards for old age. According to a recent United States’ study the work of a mother and home-maker is the equivalent of two and a half full-time jobs, with a 14-hour working day seven days in a week.

      On Sunday, despite strong objections from conservation groups, tree specialists and lawmakers, the government cut down two 80-year-old “stone wall” banyan trees on Bonham Road. The Lands Department’s report said that the trees had cavities, signs of decay and fungal infection and were in immediate risk of collapsing. But the proof, in this case, was in the cutting. Tree experts found that the two trees were in fact in good shape and could have been saved by strengthening the wall. If we’re also not cut down we’ll see you next week. Goodbye.

      26/05/2018
    • National funding available for HK hi-tech industries: interview with Nicolas Yang, Sec. for Innovation & Technology

      National funding available for HK hi-tech industries: interview with Nicolas Yang, Sec. for Innovation & Technology

      Hello and welcome to The Pulse. The science and technology gap between the world’s two largest economies, the United States and China, is narrowing.
      Recent studies show that China is catching up to the U.S. in developing artificial intelligence or AI, big data, intellectual property, computing, and in space and military technologies. Last year, China’s total spending on research and development is estimated to have hit 1.76 trillion yuan, around 2.1% of its gross domestic product. The aim is to make the country a major power in technological innovation, by 2050. And – apparently - Hong Kong’s hi-tech industries have a part to play. Joining me now is Nicolas Yang, Secretary for Innovation and Technology to talk more about it.

      Journalists working in mainland China encounter all sorts of challenges. In the past week alone, reporters from two local media organisations were roughed up in Sichuan and Beijing. Chief Executive Carrie Lam says she feels sorry that such an incident happened to media workers but then qualified that by adding “each village has its own rules, whether it is reporters or government officials, we all need to abide by local laws”. Nice to know your leaders have your back. Goodbye.

      19/05/2018
    • Karl Marx 200th birthday: discussion with Tim Summers & consultation on drones

      Karl Marx 200th birthday: discussion with Tim Summers & consultation on drones

      Last Saturday, 5th May, was the 200th anniversary of the birth of the German philosopher Karl Marx whose writings paved the way for the development of Communism. Over the past week, some commentators have praised his work as accurately predicting the state of modern capitalism. Others have focused on the evils perpetuated by totalitarian states using his name. In his birthplace in the German town of Trier, celebrations included the unveiling of a controversial gift from China and there were protests. With us in the studio is Tim Summers from the Centre for China Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

      Small drones, or “unmanned aerial vehicles”, are booming in the People’s Republic of China, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of consumer drones.
      They’re finding uses in areas including agriculture, mining, goods delivery, and cinematography. And we’re going to see a lot more of drones with the market estimated to be worth $9 billion US dollars by 2020. Here in Hong Kong, the interests of drone hobbyists and businesses can conflict with an environment that’s mostly urban, vertical, and crowded. The Civil Aviation Department is currently conducting a three-month consultation exercise on regulation of drone use.

      Ten years ago, on 12th May, an 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck Sichuan, killing at least 69,000 people, including thousands of children in shoddily-built schools. Some 4.8 million people lost their homes. We’ll leave you with images of Sichuan then and today. See you next week. Goodbye.

      12/05/2018