監製:Diana Wan


    One thing that’s not going to go disappear from Hong Kong any time soon is poverty. According to a government report released in November one in five people are now living below the poverty line. The number of elderly poor people has increased by almost 4%, to 478,000. So it came as little surprise that there was wall to wall criticism when Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that she is raising the age limit for elderly welfare payments from 60 to 65 from next month. Saying that she herself was over 60 and still working at least ten hours a day, Ms Lam insisted there was nothing inhumane about the adjustment, it just reflected social circumstances. On Thursday, she told legislators that she was “shocked” by their criticism as the adjustment was approved in last year’s budget vote, a vote supported by pro-government legislators.

    And that wasn’t the only awkward moment she had that day, when asked whether she would implement the recently released report from the Task Force on Land Supply, Ms Lam said it would be “irresponsible” for her to fully accept its suggestions. With me to talk about the issue are Stanley Wong, Chairman of the Task Force on Land Supply and Paul Zimmerman, CEO of Designing Hong Kong.

    聯絡: wanyt@rthk.hk


    • Ethnic Kazakhs being detained in Xinjiang, China

      Ethnic Kazakhs being detained in Xinjiang, China

      On Monday, China’s State Council issued a white paper titled, “The Fight Against Terrorism and Extremism and Human Rights Protection in Xinjiang” containing a detailed list claiming that since 2014, China has “arrested 12,995 terrorists, destroyed 1,588 violent and terrorist gangs, seized 2,052 explosive devices, punished 30,645 people for 4,858 illegal religious activities and confiscated 345,229 copies of illegal religious materials.” It reiterated the need for its “boarding schools” … I’m sorry: “education and training centres” to rehabilitate and eradicate terrorism and extremism in Xinjiang. As our producer Yvonne Tong reported last week, detainees in the re-education camps in Xinjiang are not only Uyghurs but also ethnic Kazakhs. She went to Almaty in Kazakhstan, to find out more.

      Kazakhstan shares a 660-mile border with China. On Tuesday, in a surprise television address, Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev announced his resignation. He’s been the country’s leader since its independence from the Soviet Union almost 30 years ago. On Wednesday the Kazak parliament agreed to change the name of its capital Astana to Nursultan in his honour. But the change in leadership is likely to do little to improve the human rights situation for those who’ve been affected by China’s increasing pressures on Muslims.

    • Islamic communities in China & Kazakhstan

      Islamic communities in China & Kazakhstan

      Friday saw the close of China’s annual “Two Sessions”, the back-to-back meetings of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Some 3,000 delegates had travelled to Beijing for the meetings, which opened on March 3rd against the backdrop of a trade war with the United States, a slowing economy, and increasing international suspicions concerning Chinese technology companies, especially Huawei.

      But, although this was barely discussed at these meetings, concern ins increasing in the international community over China’s crackdown on religious expression on its Muslim minorities. At the beginning of March, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, meeting in Abu Dhabi, adopted a resolution on “safeguarding the rights of Muslim communities and minorities and commended China for its treatment of Muslims. The resolution attracted immediate criticism and accusations of kowtowing to economic pressures. Despite initial denials from China, the United Nations says a million Uyghurs have been detained in “political re-education camps” and Human Rights Watch reports that surveillance and repression in Xinjiang has increased dramatically over the past two years. Two weeks ago, producer Yvonne Tong visited China and Kazakhstan to talk to members of Islamic communities there.

    • The Pulse Budget Special 2019

      The Pulse Budget Special 2019

      Hello and welcome to The Pulse. Last Wednesday, Financial Secretary Paul Chan delivered his third Budget. The usual so-called handouts were scaled back and there were forecasts of slower economic growth and a significant shrink in the budget surplus over the next five years. So, what does this all mean? Well, as we promised last week, the Financial Secretary Paul Chan is here to explain.

    • CE National Party report to Beijing: discussion with Ronny Tong & Nathan Law, Kwun Tong Town Centre development

      CE National Party report to Beijing: discussion with Ronny Tong & Nathan Law, Kwun Tong Town Centre development

      On Wednesday, Financial Secretary Paul Chan unveiled the government’s 2019 Budget, and it’s fair to say many are less than impressed. According to a University of Hong Kong survey the level of satisfaction with this Budget is the lowest since similar surveys began in 2008. Both pro-government and pan democratic legislators have expressed their disapproval. The Financial Secretary will be on The Pulse’s Budget special next week to explain more.

      Last September, the Security Bureau outlawed the political group, the National Party. In January, the group’s co-founder, Andy Chan presented his case to the Executive Council. The result of the appeal has yet to be handed down. Yet this Tuesday the Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the central government has already sent her a letter asking her to submit a report on the incident. With us to talk about that are Executive Councillor Ronny Tong and Nathan Law, Standing Committee Member of Demosistō.

      Kwun Tong was once an industrial and manufacturing centre. Today it’s undergoing a transformation. The government has made the area part of its Smart City pilot scheme and wants it to be a new Central Business District. New commercial and office spaces have sprung up, along with hotels and luxury properties. According to news reports, even the Liaison Office has got in on the act, sweeping up 20 apartment units worth HK$247.53 million in an Urban Renewal Authority and Sino Land residential development and saving as much as HK$74.3 million on stamp duties. The office’s real estate portfolio now includes more than 280 residential properties.
      But what’s happening to the old neighbourhood and its tenants?

    • Proposed amendment of extradition laws: discussion with Philip Dykes, HK Bar Assoc. Chairman & Archives Law consultation

      Proposed amendment of extradition laws: discussion with Philip Dykes, HK Bar Assoc. Chairman & Archives Law consultation

      Chief Executive Carrie Lam has, several times, lamented that many Hong Kong people still do not understand the “new constitutional order” or do not accept the way it operates under One Country, Two Systems. Last month, China’s Chief Justice Zhou Qiang warned the country’s judges not to fall into the “trap” of Western ideologies such as constitutional democracy and separation of powers, and encouraged them to denounce the idea of an independent judiciary. A recent report by the World Justice Project ranks the fairness of the PRC’s judicial system 75th out of 113 countries. Hong Kong was in 16th place. But suggested amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition laws may have the effect of sending the SAR down in the rankings. With us to discussion that issue is Philip Dykes, Chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association.

      The Law Reform Commission says, in its recent consultation paper on archives law, that well-managed archives and records are central to good governance.
      Anyone who has tried to get access to many of those records, particularly on politically contentious subjects, will have found that the Hong Kong government appears to take another view. Researchers, scholars, activists, journalists, not forgetting ordinary members of the public will know how difficult it can be to access information from Hong Kong government records. Government records and archives management is the responsibility of the Government Records Service. However, there is no archive law and no penalties for malpractice in disposing of government documents. Between 2013 to 2016, a total of more than 360 million records were approved for destruction. A consultation on a potential archives law is underway, ending on March 5th, but not everyone’s convinced the government wants a law with teeth.

    • Crisis at public hospitals: is one-way permit scheme to be blamed? Discussion with Joseph Wong & Sze Lai-shan & nurses' workload

      Crisis at public hospitals: is one-way permit scheme to be blamed? Discussion with Joseph Wong & Sze Lai-shan & nurses' workload

      Hello and welcome to The Pulse. As Tim Wong, a doctor who works in the Accident and Emergency services, told us last week, staff in the public hospital sector have been working at breaking point for a long time. He argued that the public healthcare system is facing a systematic crisis. Front-line medical staff often point to the speed at which Hong Kong’s population is growing without a corresponding increase in public health manpower. They want to see a review of population policy, particularly the one-way permit scheme that allows 150 people from the mainland to settle in Hong Kong every day. With us are Sze Lai-shan, Community Organiser for the Society for Community Organization and former Secretary for the Civil Service Joseph Wong.

      The current ratio of doctors to patients in Hong Kong’s public health service is 1.9 to 1,000. The ratio of nurses to patients is 7.1 to 1,000. The average length of time a doctor can spend with each patient is down to just a few minutes. Public hospitals are overcrowded, and medical staff are overworked. Last year and this year, the government allocated additional “one-off” HK$500 million funds to tackle the winter flu surge. But front-line staff say it’s not necessarily helping on the ground, and the problems they face extend well beyond the flu season.

    • Crisis at public hospitals: discussion with doctor Tim Wong at QEH A&E & recycling red packets

      Crisis at public hospitals: discussion with doctor Tim Wong at QEH A&E & recycling red packets

      Kung Hey Fat Choi! Hello and welcome to The Pulse.

      Lunar New Year celebrations are filled with traditions and customs, some of which, it must be admitted, do take a toll on the environment. Later in the show: the red packet, and how we could share some of our good fortune in a more environmentally-friendly way.

      Before that though, Hong Kong’s flu season always places heavy demands on our health system. This year, it’s made it all too clear that our public hospitals are facing a staffing crisis. In recent weeks doctors, nurses and support staff have staged a series of protests to urge the government and the Hospital Authority to address on-going overcrowding, manpower and systemic problems in our public hospitals.

    • Interview with Grenville Cross on UGL case and public prosecutions & government open data plan

      Interview with Grenville Cross on UGL case and public prosecutions & government open data plan

      Chief Executive Carrie Lam wants Hong Kong to become a Smart City. In last year’s Policy Address, she allocated HK$50 billion for technology initiatives. But is the government’s mindset and policies ready for all this smartness? More on that later. While Carrie Lam was running for the top job she made a promise. She repeated that promise in her first Policy Address: it was to strengthen and to extend Hong Kong’s anti-corruption laws to cover the currently exempted chief executive. Beijing has reportedly rejected her idea, maybe in order to avoid a repeat of the CY Leung/UGL saga. With us to discussion this issue is Ian Grenville Cross, senior counsel, law professor and former director of public prosecutions.

      The goal of a smart city is to enhance the quality of life through technology, particularly in the areas of the economy, the ecosystem, and education. But what makes a city a Smart City? Well one basic requirement is that there’s open access to public data so that everyone can use it to improve efficiency of services such as energy, transport, and utilities. In theory, that should reduce both waste and costs. Does Hong Kong sound like it’s becoming a Smart City? Well, the Chief Executive says she wants it to be so. Official are opening up government data for public use, but there’s a lot more to be done.

    • Interview with Law Chi-kwong, Sec. for Labour & Welfare on elderly social security allowances & employment

      Interview with Law Chi-kwong, Sec. for Labour & Welfare on elderly social security allowances & employment

      We’re less than a month into 2019 and Hong Kong is already being hit with health and social care crises. The health care system is under siege, with staff in public hospitals working at breaking point as the wards overflow with patients affected by the current flu season. Meanwhile, the population is ageing. Elderly poverty has increased. And the wealth gap between rich and poor is the widest it’s been in 45 years.

      When the government decided to give a special $4,000 cash payment the arrangement was chaotic, bureaucratic, even by government standards and seemingly oblivious of the fact that these days online systems are widely available for this sort of thing. And before that there was the announcement of raising the age of eligibility for elderly social security assistance from 60 to 65. This sparked wall to wall opposition in Legco and a partial government back down, but the row continues.

    • Brexit discussion: Martin Chung, HKBU & John Bruce, Scottish Business Group of Britcham & African Swine Fever

      Brexit discussion: Martin Chung, HKBU & John Bruce, Scottish Business Group of Britcham & African Swine Fever

      On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Teresa May faced an unprecedentedly crushing defeat in the House of Commons. Her Brexit deal which sets out the terms under which Britain might leave the European Union was rejected by 230 votes. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tried to capitalise on this with a motion of no confidence in the government. However this manoeuvre was defeated with the help of Mrs May’s Northern Ireland allies, the DUP who dislike Mr Corbyn even more than the government – so she survived but only with a margin of 19 votes. Parliament however has forced her to come back with another exit plan by the 21st. So what does all this mean for Britain? With us to talk about that are Martin Chung, Assistant Professor of the Dept. of Govt. & International Studies at the Baptist University and John Bruce, Chairman of the Scottish Business Group of the British Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong.

      According to a report from the European Commission released last year, an average Hong Kong person consumes almost 103 kg of pork, beef, poultry and other meat every year. It’s one of the highest per capita intakes in the world, higher than Europe and the United States. And it’s fed by a sizeable daily movement of live pigs across the border that’s now threatened by an outbreak of African swine fever across the mainland. Worried for the health of their own livestock, Hong Kong’s 43 pig farmers have urged the government to stop the highly contagious virus coming here.