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.