Letters from leaders of Hong Kong's political parties and government departments.

    Letter To Hong Kong



    Leaders from Hong Kong's political parties and government departments take their turn to have their say.

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    Kevin Yeung, Secretary for Education

    Class Resumption
    Good morning students.
    The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything our generation has ever experienced. Closed borders, lockdowns, social distancing and wearing of masks have all become an everyday matter.  Life is no longer the same and everyone is trying very hard to cope. Our education sector is no exception.  In order to avoid foreseeable mass infection and large-scale outbreak, it is deemed necessary to suspend classes of all forms, which has lasted for the longest duration possibly except for wartime; and you have been staying home since.  
    The Education Bureau and school administrations have soon concurred in undertaking the “suspending class without suspending learning” principle, allowing learning to continue from home through available technological means.  Principals and teachers have worked unceasingly to achieve this goal and I know that you, and your family have tried your best to overcome difficulties in studying at home while upkeeping motivation. 
    With the concerted effort to fight COVID-19, every member of our community has diligently taken precautions and stepped up personal hygiene measures.  As one of the world’s most crowded cities, Hong Kong ranks among the lowest number of confirmed cases.  In recent weeks, we see signs of easing in the epidemic.  Prudent assessment on the pandemic development by health experts, and continuous communications with school representatives, have given us confidence to allow classes to resume in a gradual and orderly manner after almost four months of suspension. Secondary 3 to Secondary 5 students will return to school on 27 May, Primary 4 to Secondary 2 on 8 June, and Kindergarten 3 to Primary 3 on 15 June.  International schools have a different school setting, as well as learning and teaching arrangements, and are hence allowed to tailor their class resumption timetable as long as the necessary preventive measures are met.
    Schools have made good use of the class suspension period, and additional resources, including the anti-epidemic subsidies and support grants from the Education Bureau, to prepare for the long-awaited class resumption.  I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to all school personnel for their superior efforts in fulfilling their preparation work according to the “Guidelines to Schools on Class Resumption”.  In short, schools will operate on a half-day basis so as to avoid risk of students having meals together in close proximity with their masks taken off.  There will be frequent and regular cleaning and disinfection in all school areas, good indoor ventilation will be maintained, non-essential gathering of students and extra-curricular activities are to be avoided, and school assemblies are to be conducted using the public announcement system.  
    As part of the daily routine, students’ body temperature and health condition are checked, and masks are to be worn by everyone in the school area at all times.  Classroom setting will be modified to single row sitting, thus maximizing personal space to ensure a proper physical distance.  There will be special consideration for lessons such as Music and Physical Education as well. For example, playing of wind instrument will be avoided to reduce the risk of spreading droplets; individual or group physical activities without contact, such as stretching, aerobics and jogging are more advisable.
    While I can understand that you are all eager to see your fellow classmates and teachers again, I appeal to you to play your part as a good citizen in guarding against the return of COVID-19 to the community.  Check your body temperature daily.  And if you are not feeling well or have any symptoms, seek medical consultation immediately.  This is an important step to protect yourself and care for others.
    Please also observe good personal hygiene practice, wash your hands frequently and properly, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Keep a reasonable distance from others and avoid going to crowded places.  Last but not least, you should maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, regular exercise and good rest, you will for sure have a stronger immune system to guard yourself against diseases.   
    Without a doubt, the pandemic has brought severe impact to Hong Kong as well as the rest of the world. To see it through rose-coloured glasses, we can take this opportunity to better prepare ourselves for the future.  As Nobel Laureate Albert Einstein has said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.”  I am sure that you have learnt a lot more than textbook knowledge over these past few months, such as resilience and sense of responsibility, as well as self-discipline and self-directed learning. These are all valuable and essential qualities in a good person. 
    While we are all looking forward to the first day of class resumption, let’s not forget that it is through immense and collaborative effort from many members of the community that enable you the chance to return to school. It may bring about a new reflection, that things should not be taken for granted, and we should always remain thankful and cherish what we have with gratitude. Treasure your lesson time, learning opportunities and the company of fellow classmates and teachers. Be kind and nice to everyone around you, especially those who have walked an extra mile for you.
    Our world is moving at a very fast pace and it’s ever-changing with uncertainties. I trust that you have all become stronger during this fight against the pandemic and, you are now more ready for the new challenge that lies ahead.  As we all know, COVID-19 may not disappear very soon. We must all continue to stay vigilant.  The Education Bureau will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with school.  We hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Should new developments arise that affect our plan for orderly class resumption, we will keep you posted. 
    See you all at school!  
    (956 words)

    24/05/2020 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:25)


    03 - 05


    Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, Secretary for Education





    Legislator Eunice Yung


    Dr Law Chi-kwong, Secretary for Labour and Welfare



    Bernard Chan, Convenor of the Executive Council


    File Photo:  Legislator Eddie Chu


    Legislator Ip Kin-yuen

    Legislator Charles Mok

    To the people of Radio Television Hong Kong, from past to present, both Chinese and English, on radio or television and of course the new media of the Internet and mobile, this is a letter to thank you all — to those I have the good fortune to have met or worked with as well as others I have not — for your dedication, steadfastness and utter professionalism.


    For Hongkongers of my generation, we literally grew up with RTHK. We watched “Under the Lion Rock” and witness the courage and compassion of grassroots Hong Kong citizens as they struggled with daily hardships and  injustice — yet coming through with a sense of what’s right and what’s wrong, defined by love and decency, becoming what we today would consider to be the spirit of Hong Kong, and our core values, including freedom, equality, charity and integrity. 


    And so we watched “When We Were Young”, well, when we are really young children, in the 1970s. Then, as teenagers, we listened and sang along to music from the 1980s golden age of Hong Kong pop, played by Radio Hong Kong deejays in the afternoon. And as we grew up together, we followed the beat of the city on “Hong Kong Connection” and “City Forum”, as we tried to make sense of a more complicated Hong Kong. 


    And yes, I have had the good fortune of working with a great many RTHK programs, radio and TV, as a guest, interviewee, co-host, or like what I am doing now, occasionally contributing to Letters to Hong Kong. In the mid-1990s I even had the opportunity to work with a bunch of great people from inside and outside of RTHK to bring its live radio programs to the Internet, letting Hong Kongers all over the world connect with their home city. In my capacity now as a legislator, naturally I have more interactions with the journalists of RTHK, a group that I find to be among the best in Hong Kong. 


    But it has also become clear to me that, since the handover, the role of RTHK has increasingly come under scrutiny and pressure, by those who want to see it turned into a mouthpiece for authorities. Ever since its establishment in 1928, RTHK has always been an exemplary public broadcaster. But it was never properly commissioned and set up as a statutory body or corporation for public service broadcasting. It remains just a government department, currently under the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau. 


    When the public broadcaster is just a department in government, being assigned with an annual budget decided by the government, how does RTHK find its balance from being controlled by the government through budget and policy on the one hand, yet maintain its editorial and creative independence on the other? This is exactly where successive administrations of the Hong Kong SAR government are finding themselves at odds with RTHK, which is already functioning well as a mature, professional, globally recognised and acclaimed public broadcaster. By adopting the mentality of the Central Government and its ruling Party, the Hong Kong SAR government wants any critical voices silenced.


    This explains why RTHK has come under persecution from none other than the SAR government itself, with it political cronies, as Beijing interferes with the affairs of Hong Kong more and more blatantly and directly, we even heard news about alleged directives from the director of the Hong Kong and Macau Office in Beijing to the Chief Executive in Hong Kong telling her to “rein in” RTHK. 


    Sadly, since before 2009, RTHK has been looking for a new home for its studios and offices, to replace its antiquated and insufficient facilities and infrastructures, but to no avail. The pro-establishment vetoed a previous attempt by the government to fund a new RTHK broadcasting building in Tseung Kwan O in early 2014, and the government never came back with a new proposal. In the meantime, RTHK has been tasked with additional responsibilities of two new digital TV channels, as well as for a while, digital audio broadcasting and one analog TV channel.


    So, more work, more responsibilities, but not enough new resources, with no commitment for future development in sight. And then the government’s communications regulator allows the commercial broadcasters — TVB and NowTV — to stop showing RTHK TV programs on their airtime. What next? The very government bureau that puts a limit on RTHK’s funding complained about the “low ratings” of RTHK’s digital TV channels, in spite of the fact that even this criticism is largely unfounded as it conveniently overlooks the success RTHK has achieved in its new media services, including the high level of online reach via YouTube, Facebook and its mobile apps. So all these talks about low ratings are largely an excuse to cap or cut RTHK’s budget, to force it to become more obedient, editorially less independent and less critical, making it act more like the government’s mouthpiece in some authoritarian countries. RTHK’s critics picked on “The Headliner” — a long-running weekly show taking a satirical view on our current affairs and politics — and “The Pulse”, an English weekly news magazine, in particular over a recent interview with a World Health Organization official, where the programme host probed the WHO official about Taiwan. A journalist’s completely neutral and open-ended question somehow crossed the red line of Beijing. Some questions cannot even be asked.


    Last week, the Education Bureau suddenly ordered RTHK to return the ETV facility on Broadcast Drive, on short and sudden notice — due to the termination of RTHK’s production of educational TV programs for EDB. Is this the way government departments deal with each other, without even the most basic courtesy and consideration? It is clearly yet another lesson the administration wants to teach RTHK, in line with calls from so many pro-establishment legislators to “punish” RTHK. It is both petty and vindictive.


    But I know the people of Hong Kong are with you, all of you at RTHK. We can see that this is more than just a job for you. This is a fight for not only Hong Kong’s treasured tradition of public service broadcasting, but also the professionalism and core values of Hong Kong that you are protecting, that our authorities are trying to manhandle and ultimately destroy. In particular for the journalists at RTHK, we know you are fighting a tough battle with the rest of Hong Kong’s frontline journalists against the flood of misinformation often stemming right from the authorities themselves, and facing more and more senselessly violent abuse and physical dangers from the police force on the frontline. What I want to say is, this is not just your fight, it is for us all Hongkongers.  Editorial independence vs propaganda, freedom vs censorship.


    So, a lot of people ask me, what can we do now, for RTHK. Well, we can continue to tune in, listen and watch like before, as well as view, like and share online. Hundreds of thousands of us have signed online petition to support RTHK and urge the Director of Broadcasting to stand firm. These are the least we could do. And we will continue. 


    But we must also counter the attacks on RTHK in all ways we can, so that everyone in Hong Kong will see how divisive and politically motivated these attacks are, and how they will rob us of Hong Kong’s best, sinking us to a level unworthy of being a global city that we thought we were.


    We must also remind everyone in Hong Kong, how ridiculous it is for our government, and indeed the same Commerce and Economic Development Bureau to propose to give billions of dollars to bail out an Ocean Park whose bottom has fallen out, yet at the same time hang RTHK out to dry. If we have to pick one of the two, gosh, the people’s choice is clear. It must be our RTHK. 


    To our friends at RTHK, thank you for standing right next to the people of Hong Kong all these years. And we will stand with you.



    17/05/2020 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:25)

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