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    Executive Producer:Diana Wan


    The controversy over the property dealings of Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng has intensified. In a late-night statement released last Sunday, Cheng disclosed three more illegal structures in her flat in Repulse Bay. She also owns companies that bought three other properties in Tuen Mun and Shatin, Ms Cheng allegedly paid HK$62 million for the Southern District flat. She is then said to have saved HK6.6 million in stamp duties by claiming to be a first-time buyer. Ten illegal structures had already been found in adjoining villas belonging to her and her husband in Tuen Mun. With us to talk about this are legislators Dennis Kwok of the Civic Party and Michael Tien of Roundtable.

    According to a recent report from the Social Welfare Department, almost 60% of abused children are abused by from their parents. A total of 704 cases were reported from January to September last year. Many social workers believe this is the small tip of a much bigger iceberg. Official figures also indicate that of Hong Kong’s 20 residential districts, Yuen Long has the highest number of child abuse cases, followed by Kwun Tong and Tuen Mun. Meanwhile schools and social workers are working together to do their best to prevent repeats of recent tragedies.

    “They say I am a virgin on a stallion, Mounting a stallion my Dear Leader gave me. All my life I will live to uphold his name!” So go the catchy lyrics of a highly popular song by Hyong Song-wol, a singer with North Korea’s all-female Moranbong Band. Ms Hyong is also said to be particularly close to the country’s leader Kim Jong-un.
    And it is now clear that rumours of her execution have been exaggerated as, Ms Hyong is alive and well. So well in fact that last week she crossed into South Korea to arrange two performances by the 140-member Samjiyon art troupe for next month’s Winter Olympics. They’ll be playing folk songs and classic pieces popular on both sides of the border. And on that note it’s time for team Pulse to mount our stallions and go home. We’ll see you next week and the Dear Leader is most welcome to join us.

    Contact: wanyt@rthk.hk


    • US Midterm Elections: Texas Senate race & discussion with Dem & GOP abroad & Tara Joseph, President of AmCham HK

      US Midterm Elections: Texas Senate race & discussion with Dem & GOP abroad & Tara Joseph, President of AmCham HK

      The United States midterm elections were widely considered to be a referendum on President Donald Trump. And the numbers suggest feelings were running high. This week saw the highest voter turnout for midterm elections in 50 years. As a result Republicans extended their control in the Senate, but Democrats’ took control of the House of Representatives, where they can now provide a legislative check on Trump’s presidency. On election day, our producer, Liz Yuen was in Texas, where the hard fought senate battle between Republican Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke, a potential Democratic candidate for president, drew national attention. With me to talk about the US midterm elections results are Nicholas Gordon, Vice Chair of Democrats Abroad HK, Kym Kettler-Paddock, Communications Director for Republicans Overseas, and Tara Joseph who is the President of AmCham HK.

      The Democrats won’t actually take control of the House until it reconvenes in January, but President barely blinked before launching a fusillade of actions to punish people he saw as opponents. On Wednesday, a day after the midterm elections, he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with Matthew Whitaker, a Trump loyalist and critic of the Mueller investigation into meddling during the 2106 presidential election. That same morning, Trump let off steam at a press conference when he somewhat petulantly read out a list of Republicans who didn’t “embrace” him and lost their election bids, he accused an African-American reporter of asking a “racist question”, and – arguably - finest moment of all – yelled at, and ultimately barred from the White House, a CNN reporter.

    • Cathay Pacific data leak, tree management in HK & Louis Cha

      Cathay Pacific data leak, tree management in HK & Louis Cha

      Millions of customers of Hong Kong’s biggest airline were made aware, on 24th October, that their personal data could be compromised. Time is crucial when it comes to cyber security, and this personal data leak happened at least seven months ago. Some Cathay customers have already been affected by phishing attempts, most likely caused by the data leak. With me to talk about the issue is Edmon Chung, Director of Internet Society Hong Kong.

      On Thursday, the Environment Bureau proposed introducing a charging scheme for household waste that would be implemented by 2020 at the earliest, a year later than originally planned. The scheme has been discussed for more than a decade. The bill will be introduced in Legco on 14 November. At current rates of usage our landfills will reach capacity in two years’ time. On top of the usual thousands of tonnes of waste being dumped daily onto the three landfills, the past month has seen the addition of more than 12,000 tonnes of extra so-called waste that might have been turned to practical use. It mainly consists of timber from trees damaged by Typhoon Manghkut.

      On Tuesday, novelist, founder of Ming Pao and influential figure in both journalism and politics, Louis Cha died at the age of 94. A celebrated writer of martial art novels, Cha is widely known to fans under his pen name of Jin Yong. In politics, he had a mixed relationship with Beijing. In 1985, Cha was appointed as a member of the Basic Law Drafting Committee and Consultative Committee. In 1988, his proposal for post-1997 political reform was widely criticised for its conservatism But Cha’s politics were not one sided as he became a bitter critic of the Beijing after tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square on 4th June 1989. Yet politics is not what he is best known for, he is far more famous for his wuxia, or swordplay novels that literally sold millions of copies. Cha wrote 15 martial arts novels, many of which were later adapted for television and movies.

    • Opening of HK-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, Shatin-Central link scandal: discussion with Michael Tien & para-athletes in HK

      Opening of HK-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, Shatin-Central link scandal: discussion with Michael Tien & para-athletes in HK

      Last Saturday, taking a leaf perhaps from Melania Trump’s book, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she and superstar Andy Lau had become victims of cyber-bulling for their support for the massive Lantau land reclamation project. So how does the CE feel about the honely loving bear and piglet parodies that are all over the internet following the widely televised images of Mrs Lam walking side by side with President Xi Jinping at that bridge opening this week. Joining us in the studio to talk about the Shatin-Central link scandal is Michael Tien, chairman of Legco’s Subcommittee on Matters Relating to Railways and founder of Roundtable.

      Hong Kong isn’t known to be big on sports. In the Policy Address, the Chief Executive said she is allocating HK$500 million for a matching grant scheme to solicit support from the private sector for sporting events. New facilities are being built in Kai Tak and other districts. However, these measures focus on big events in big venues, with little regard to the needs of sport’s people particularly those who aspire to be fulltime athletes let alone athletes with physical disabilities. Despite this Hong Kong teams brought home an impressive clutch of medals from the Asia Games and the more recent Asian Para Games.

    • Discussion with Maria Tam & Alan Leong on the disqualification of Lau Siu-lai

      Discussion with Maria Tam & Alan Leong on the disqualification of Lau Siu-lai

      The disqualification of Lau Siu-lai from running in the upcoming Legco by-election comes along with a series of recent events, from the ban on the Hong Kong National Party, the refusal to renew a work visa for Financial Times Asia news editor Victor Mallet, to the toe the line instructions given to a group of media executives during their recent visit to Beijing. It looks as though the mainland’s so-called “red lines” are getting ever more numerous. With me now are Maria Tam, the Vice-chairwoman of the Basic Law Committee and senior counsel and Chairman of the Civic Party Alan Leong to discuss the implications.

      Well, while we were discussing the fate of democratic development, a delegation from Hong Kong were winding up a visit to Beijing where, according to their spokesman, they were given guidance on how the local media should behave. We’ll leave you with images of that and hopefully without crossing red lines. See you next week. Goodbye.

    • Policy Address & discussion on press freedom with Keith Richburg & Chris Yeung

      Policy Address & discussion on press freedom with Keith Richburg & Chris Yeung

      On Wednesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam delivered her second Policy Address. Her 40-minute speech highlighted several controversial policies and projects. And she doesn’t seem to mind courting controversy. “Dissatisfaction was expected”, she said, arguing that tough decisions had to be made. According to a University of Hong Kong survey, the public gave the Address only 48.5 marks, 13.9 marks fewer than her first one. Lam’s own popularity has also dropped to 47.6, an all-time low since she became Chief Executive.

      Just two weeks ago, and for the first time since the Handover, the Security Bureau used the Societies Ordinance to outlaw the Hong Kong National Party, a political group that has advocated Hong Kong independence. Secretary for Security John Lee warned that any act to destroy China’s sovereignty would cross an “untouchable red line”. However, he did not give a clear answer when asked whether people sharing the group’s views on social media or journalists reporting or interviewing its members would be breaking the law. However an indication of the government’s intentions in this matter when a prominent foreign correspondent was denied renewal of working visa. With me in the studio are Keith Richburg, formerly with the Washington Post in a number of capacities. He is now Director of Hong Kong University’s Journalism & Media Studies Centre and Chris Yeung, another veteran journalist and Chairperson of the Hong Kong Journalists’ Association to talk about the state of press freedom in Hong Kong.

    • Cardinal Joseph Zen on Vatican China Agreement & YMT fruit market

      Cardinal Joseph Zen on Vatican China Agreement & YMT fruit market

      On 22nd September, the Vatican signed a provisional agreement with the People’s Republic of China that gives the government the right to nominate bishops and the Vatican the right of veto. Beijing broke off relations with the Holy See in 1951, after accusing the church of espionage, but there are still up to 12 million Catholics in China, who either attend state-sanctioned churches or worship in so-called underground congregations. For decades, Beijing has subjected underground Catholics, clergymen, and their lawyers to prosecution, house arrest and imprisonment. Crosses on top of churches have been taken down and the churches themselves have been either placed under surveillance or been demolished. In 2016, the State Administration for Religious Affairs introduced a further 26 regulations to restrict religious practice. Last November, Christians were instructed to replace displays of Jesus, crosses and gospel passages with images of President Xi Jinping. And there is also talk of plans to rewrite the Bible with Chinese characteristics, incorporating Buddhist scripture and Confucian teachings, alongside with some rewriting of hymns. Against this background, and in the face of considerable controversy, the Vatican and the Chinese government have reached a deal that goes some way to establishing a lasting relationship. Earlier this week, I spoke with Cardinal Joseph Zen about what he thinks this means for Catholics.

      The people who make decisions for Hong Kong are pretty unsentimental when it comes to “out with the old, in with the new”. Old businesses, streets and buildings are regularly pushed out of the way for big profits. That also applies to Hong Kong’s markets. The century old Graham Street Market has been fragmented to make way for a luxury residential high-rise. The Central Market is being “preserved and revitalised” although it’s pretty unclear exactly how this will be achieved. And all that’s left of the former Wan Chai Market, a Grade III historic building, is a façade that now serves as the entrance to yet another residential property. Also facing “preservation and revitalisation” is the more than a century old Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market, although there’s still intense discussion about what this entails.

    • Banning of HK National Party, discussion with Johnson Yeung of HK Civil Hub, interview with George Papandreou & tribute to Charles Kao

      Banning of HK National Party, discussion with Johnson Yeung of HK Civil Hub, interview with George Papandreou & tribute to Charles Kao

      There were many major political battles between the British and Chinese governments before the Handover. The last governor Chris Patten wanted to implement a more fairly representative electoral system and new human rights-related laws to bring the territory in line with the United Nations’ human rights standards. That included making major amendments to the Societies Ordinance and the Public Order Ordinance in July 1992 and July 1995 to ensure civil liberties. However, many of the then government’s initiatives failed to survive the transition. They were reversed by the Provisional Legislative Council selected by the People’s Republic of China in 1997. That’s proved useful for the current government. On Monday, for the first time since the Handover, the Secretary for Security John Lee used the Societies Ordinance to issue an immediate ban on a local political group.

      Friday marks the four-year anniversary of the street protests that initiated the Umbrella Movement. With me in the studio is Johnson Yeung, Executive Council member of the newly formed civil society group, Hong Kong Civil Hub to talk about civil movement in Hong Kong.

      On the 20th August, the so-called Troika of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund released Greece from the terms under which it had lent the country bailout funds of €289 billion. Theoretically that meant the end of eight years of depression and externally imposed austerity. Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras has said the country is “once again becoming a normal country, regaining its political and financial independence.” But there’s still a long way to go, and the Greek people are still paying the political and economic cost of the global financial crisis that began with the collapse of Lehman Brothers a decade ago. George Papandreou comes from a long political dynasty. His father and grandfathers both served as the country’s prime ministers. Shortly after the financial crisis, he took on the thorny task of being the country’s 182nd Prime Minister. To a country that already had a high unemployment rate, Papandreou introduced austerity measures that caused massive nationwide strikes and protests. In November 2011, he stepped down as prime minister. But he has been angling for a comeback, and set up a new party, Movement of Democratic Socialists. He was in Hong Kong two weeks ago, and I caught up with him.

      Charles Kao, scientist, educator and electrical engineer died last Sunday at 84. Known as the “Father of fibre-optic communications”, in the 1960s he played a critical role developing the optical fibres on which the internet and much modern communication is built. In 2009, Kao was awarded a joint Nobel Prize in Physics. He was a much respected vice chancellor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong for nine years from 1987. In 2002, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a diagnosis that led to him and his wife Gwen Kao setting up a foundation to raise public awareness about the disease.

    • Typhoon Mangkhut aftermath & tree management with Jim Chi-yung & Gavin Coates

      Typhoon Mangkhut aftermath & tree management with Jim Chi-yung & Gavin Coates

      Hello and welcome to The Pulse. Even before it hit, there was every indication Typhoon Mangkhut was going to be intense and it was.
      It’s the strongest typhoon ever recorded in Hong Kong. Winds with maximum sustained speeds of 250km/h wreaked havoc. And then there was the flooding: Typhoon Mangkhut brought the highest storm surge on record as sea waters rose up to 3.9 meters above normal levels. In terms of human casualties, Hong Kong got off lightly. But there was a lot of damage, for which the government seemed ill-prepared. The following day, although classes were suspended and despite widespread destruction that severely disrupted public transportation systems. Workers were forced to make long and tiring treks as they tried to get back to work.

      Welcome back. In the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Mangkhut, roads were strewn with foliage, broken glass and other debris. Many of the transport problems on Monday were caused by trees that toppled and blocked roads. The government says that around 15,000 trees had fallen. It may be inevitable that trees will be affected by a typhoon, but the sheer number that fell this time suggests there’s something wrong with the way Hong Kong is planting and looking after them. With me in the studio are Jim Chi-yung, Research Chair Professor of Geography & Environmental Science at The Education University of Hong Kong and Gavin Coates, a Senior Lecturer in Hong Kong University’s Division of Landscape Architecture.

    • Forum on land supply: Housing - A Crisis in Land Supply?

      Forum on land supply: Housing - A Crisis in Land Supply?

      Hello and welcome to a new series of The Pulse. And, appropriately we are devoting this first programme to one of the biggest issues of the day ¡V how to find enough land to meet Hong Kong¡¦s housing needs.

      In April, the Task Force on Land Supply launched a five-month public consultation. It offered the public 18 options for ways of freeing up land over the next ten years. The consultation is ending soon. And fortunately we have with us today some of the most knowledgeable people on this subject. On the platform we have Stanley Wong, Chairman of the Taskforce on Land Supply, Marco Wu, Former Chairman of the Hong Kong Housing Society, James Tien, Honorary Chairman of the Liberal Party, Albert Lai, who is the convenor of the Professional Commons policy committee and Ryan Ip, a Senior Researcher at the Our Hong Kong Foundation.

    • 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.