監製:Diana Wan


    As James Hacker, the fictional Minister for Administrative Affairs in the acclaimed British political comedy, “Yes, Minister” once said, “The three articles of Civil Service faith: It takes longer to do things quickly, it's more expensive to do them cheaply, and it's more democratic to do them in secret." That was supposed to be a joke but right now in a civil service rather closer to home, that joke is not sounding so funny. Moreover, Hong Kong’s 177,000 or so civil servants have now been told to put on their sternest faces as they are required to pledge their loyalty on pain of dismissal for not so doing. With me to talk about the loyalty declaration requirement for civil servants and public officers are Arisina Ma, president of the HK Public Doctors Association and Jeremy Young, a Central and Western District Councillor.

    The four years of Donald Trump’s presidency came to an end on Wednesday morning. He’ll be missed by some, but – according to opinion polls - not by most.
    Donald Trump did however achieve one breakthrough: he was the first US president to be impeached twice. But he still has loyal supporters like Senator Lindsey Graham, who reckons the Republican Party continues to need him. On the other hand, Mitch McConnell, now leader of the Republican opposition in the Senate, is busy stepping away from Trump accusing him of inciting the far-right extremists who stormed Capitol Hill on January 6th, an action that led to the deaths of six people. Former vice-president Mike Pence, a target for those protesters, broke with Trump over his attempts to stop Joe Biden’s inauguration, which took place in highly restrictive circumstances. The Pulse was on the ground in Washington DC for Inauguration Day.

    聯絡: wanyt@rthk.hk


    • Interview with Maria Tam on changes in Hong Kong electoral systems

      Interview with Maria Tam on changes in Hong Kong electoral systems

      Chief Executive Carrie Lam says that with three elections to be held in the coming year under the new electoral rules, the government is making every effort to accelerate the task of amending more than 20 pieces of primary and subsidiary legislation. On Thursday this week, the Chief executive said the amendment bill will be tabled to the Legislative Council next Wednesday. Earlier in the week, the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang said the government is also considering regulations to prevent people from casting blank votes or calling on others to do so. With me to talk more about the changes to Hong Kong’s electoral systems is Maria Tam, vice-chair of the Basic Law Committee.

    • Interview with Adrian Ho, founder of SaveHK & latest in Myanmar

      Interview with Adrian Ho, founder of SaveHK & latest in Myanmar

      On Tuesday, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee unanimously passed legislation amend Hong Kong’s electoral system. The new laws covers the selection of the Chief Executive, the formation of the Election Committee and a wholesale reform of the composition and election system for the Legislative Council. The number of seats in the Election Committee are to be increased to 1,500. That 117 seats from district councils have been removed. The committee will also take on a new role: electing 40 members to the Legislative Council, the size of which will be increased from 70 to 90 seats. The number of directly elected members will shrink, from 35 to 20. Anyone running for Chief Executive, the Legislative Council or the Election Committee will have to be vetted by the Hong Kong Committee for Safeguarding National Security with the assistance of the National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force. While the emphasis is on “patriots administering Hong Kong”, Chief Executive Carrie Lam says people who hold different political beliefs will still be able to run for election as long as they meet basic requirements. Earlier, I talked to Adrian Ho, founder of the social media group, SaveHK about the changing political landscape.

      The United Nations Security Council said on Wednesday that since the coup in Myanmar two months ago, more than 520 people have been killed. It warned of the risk of civil war and an imminent “bloodbath”. That same day, Myanmar’s junta declared a one-month ceasefire with ethnic armed groups. However, it said it would continue to curb “actions that disrupt government security and administration”.

    • Anti-Asian violence and racism in USA: story from NYC & discussion: Jason Coe of HKBU & Grace Ting of HKU

      Anti-Asian violence and racism in USA: story from NYC & discussion: Jason Coe of HKBU & Grace Ting of HKU

      Last Tuesday, a lone gunman attacked three spas in Atlanta, Georgia and killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women. These murders have again brought to the fore concerns about complex and deep-rooted prejudice against Asians in the United States. The New York Police Department says that there were roughly nine times as many hate crimes against Asian-Americans in 2020 as in 2019. Activists and police officials say that many other incidents of this kind were not classified as hate crimes or were not even reported, not just in New York but across the country. Man Yuntong, reporting for The Pulse from New York, has been talking to members of the Asian-American community.

    • Interview with Co-founder of Bauhinia Party Charles Wong & SIM card real-name registration consultation

      Interview with Co-founder of Bauhinia Party Charles Wong & SIM card real-name registration consultation

      Three days after the National People’s Congress decided to enact electoral reforms for Hong Kong, mainland officials came to Hong Kong with the stated aim of hearing views from more than 1,000 people. The deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Zhang Xiaoming said that pan-democrats were among attendees at the 60 seminars earlier in the week. He didn’t identify who they were but said that participants backed the reforms as being necessary and timely. During the “Two Sessions” meetings in Beijing last week, one of three co-founders of the newly formed Bauhinia Party, Li Shan said his party aims to take part in “every aspect of Hong Kong’s governance” and elections. On Wednesday, I sat down with another of the party’s founder, Charles Wong, to find out more.

      According to government data, there were 20.9 million mobile telephone subscribers in Hong Kong in 2020. More than half were using pre-paid SIM cards, sometimes for flexibility and convenience. However, there are those who use them for illegal activities. Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau says there is a “pressing need to plug this loophole”, to prevent people from using mobile phones for crimes such as human smuggling, drug trafficking, technology crimes, and even acts of terrorism.

    • Hong Kong elections reform discussion: Ambrose Lau & Emily Lau

      Hong Kong elections reform discussion: Ambrose Lau & Emily Lau

      Hello, and welcome to The Pulse.

      It’s hardly news to say that there’s been an avalanche of changes in Hong Kong since the introduction of the National Security Law. Beijing has made it clear that it is determined to fully implement the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”. Part of this process is to “plug the loopholes” in the electoral and political systems. According to Wang Chen, the Vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, what is required is to have a “democratic election system with Hong Kong characteristics”. With us are Ambrose Lau, former standing committee member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Emily Lau of the Democratic Party.

    • 47 democrats charged with subversion: discussion with Grenville Cross & Lau Chak-sing on govt. vaccine programme

      47 democrats charged with subversion: discussion with Grenville Cross & Lau Chak-sing on govt. vaccine programme

      When Hong Kong’s new National Security Law was implemented last year, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the purpose of the legislation was not just to punish, but also to “deter people from committing the serious offences” jeopardising national security. She said that the law provided for safeguarding human rights and freedoms, but stressed that these are not absolute rights and were subject to restraint under the law. So how is that working out in practice? On Monday, 47 democrats and activists appeared in court, charged with subversion for organising and participation in, a primary election to select candidates for the now-postponed Legislative Council elections.

      After the Covid-19 virus appeared more than a year ago, scientists worked round the clock to develop vaccines to combat the ensuing pandemic. Governments around the world entered a race to sign advance purchase agreements with pharmaceutical companies to secure doses for their people. Here in Hong Kong, the government has introduced vaccination programmes. Last week, many individuals received their first dose of the Sinovac vaccine, the first to arrive. We talk to Lau Chak-sing, Convenor of the
      Government Advisory Panel on COVID-19 Vaccines on the government's vaccination programme.

    • Budget & discussion with: Kevin Tsui & John Marrett; tenancy control of subdivided units

      Budget & discussion with: Kevin Tsui & John Marrett; tenancy control of subdivided units

      On Wednesday, Financial Secretary Paul Chan delivered his Budget for the coming year. In the midst of a pandemic and with the jobless rate at 7%, the highest in 17 years, many Hongkongers were hoping for decisive measures to help them through this difficult time. But it seems as though they were disappointed. In an instant survey conducted on the day by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Program, respondents gave the Budget just 36.4 marks out of 100. To talk about the Budget are Kevin Tsui, an economist from the University of Hong Kong, and John Marrett, a senior analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

      Despite the pandemic and profound socio-political tensions in Hong Kong, one thing hasn’t changed – Hong Kong’s property prices. The latest CBRE Global Living 2020 report names Hong Kong as the most expensive property market, with the average price of a residential property at US1.25 million. In terms of housing supply, this year’s Budget has little to offer. The average waiting time for public housing has risen to 5.7 years, a record high. It’s estimated that just 101,400 units will be completed in the coming five years. Meanwhile for years there have been calls for the government to re-introduce rent controls, particularly for low-income tenants.

    • Interview with Simon Wong on relaxation of social-distancing rules in restaurants & US elections: Georgia

      Interview with Simon Wong on relaxation of social-distancing rules in restaurants & US elections: Georgia

      Hello and welcome to The Pulse coming to you in a rather different format matching the rather strange times we are now facing, not least for some of us who have been working at RTHK’s Television House where a hair stylist was found to have contracted Covid-19 resulting in over 20 people being detained in the decidedly spartan Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre. And so, for the first and hopefully, only time I am hosting the Pulse from here while colleagues on the ‘outside’ have been scrambling to put this show together. Meanwhile after three months of stringent social distancing, yesterday the government relaxed restrictions on restaurant dine-in services and allowed some venues such as gyms, cinemas and beauty parlours to reopen, but there are conditions. To talk about this issue With me, at least virtually, is Simon Wong, President of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurant and Related Trades.

      Donald Trump might have escaped a second impeachment, but he still faces a great many legal problems and investigations . Prosecutors in New York are looking into his business dealings. In Washington, federal prosecutors said “nothing is off the table” in terms of further investigation of Trump’s role in the January 6th insurrection at Capitol Hill. And officials in Georgia have also opened two new investigations into the former President’s attempt to intervene in the state’s election count.
      In the November presidential election and the subsequent run-off for two Senate seats, Georgia played a key role. After a neck and neck race, two Democratic Party candidates managed to turn the Republican stronghold blue and get control of the Senate. Voters from Atlanta played a large part in that success. That’s why our correspondents went to Gwinnett county, one of five metro counties in Atlanta, where Asian-American and Pacific Island voters had a major impact on the election.

      On Friday morning, shortly before ten o'clock Director of Broadcasting Leung Ka-wing sent an email to all staff announcing his departure from the station, six months before than the expiry of his contract. The announcement came just ahead of the release of an 85-page report on the governance and management of RTHK. Leung is to be replaced by Patrick Li, currently a deputy secretary for the Home Affairs Bureau. In a farewell note to all staff, the departing Director said, “These past five years and a half of serving RTHK and society with you have been indelible and I am grateful for every moment.”

    • CNY flower markets and fairs & Homelessness in the pandemic: MercyHK & ImpactHK

      CNY flower markets and fairs & Homelessness in the pandemic: MercyHK & ImpactHK

      Kung Hey Fat Choi. Hello and welcome to The Pulse.
      It’s fair to say that for many, in Hong Kong as around the world, the Year of the Rat hasn’t been one of the best, so it’s not be surprising if we enter the Year of the Ox with some trepidation. Even the Lunar New Year celebrations are overshadowed by Covid-19. With social distancing rules still in place, dining out this new year is not an option, at least after six. You’d also better get home in time for family celebrations, in case your neighbourhood gets treated to a government “ambush lockdown”. And the annual tradition of visiting the new year flower markets and fairs? Not so easy this year either.

      The tightening of social distancing rules including restrictions on restaurants and bars, has affected many, but most of us can at least be grateful we have food on the table and a roof over our heads. Not everyone is as fortunate. The pandemic has made the already hard lives of the homeless and of street sleepers even harder. Hygiene and social distancing are important in combatting the virus, and the difficulty of getting either leaves the homeless or those in overcrowded environments at greater risk of infection. And with unemployment increasing as Covid-19 affects the economy, the number of the homeless is increasing.

    • Myanmar coup discussion: Ian Holliday & John Mak, & oath-taking/declaration for civil servants

      Myanmar coup discussion: Ian Holliday & John Mak, & oath-taking/declaration for civil servants

      Myanmar, previously known as Burma, was under military rule for more than half a century. In 1962, General Ne Win staged a coup leading the country into a 26-year era of one-party rule. It wasn’t until 2011 that the military junta was officially dissolved. But the military has retained considerable power from both behind the scenes and out in the open. Last November Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy, which had led the opposition to the Junta, won by a landslide victory in a general election. The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party challenged the result, alleging 8.6 million election irregularities and evidence of fraud. The election commission rejected these allegations. Then, on Monday this week, citizens of Myanmar woke up to find themselves once again under military rule and Ms Suu Kyi arrested again. With me to talk about the coup in Myanmar are Ian Holliday, Vice-president of the University of Hong Kong whose research focuses on Myanmar politics and governance and John Mak, a social entrepreneur based in Myanmar and Hong Kong.

      Last week, the government announced that civil servants should prepare to resume providing basic public services after – in many cases - working from home due to the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Many are returning to the office with an important decision to make. They’re expected to sign a loyalty pledge before the Lunar New Year, and it’s left some feeling conflicted, and even confused.