December 17, 2004

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You can only pick 10

Here's an idea that I can see catching on. A combination of all of HK's major newspapers, media outlets and assorted chambers of commerce, associations, unions and others have launched a competition to pick the top 10 Government events of 2004 (site is in Chinese only). Among the organisers are Xinhua, the People's Daily and CCTV. On offer are prizes including laptops, cameras and phones.

What is most impressive is the list of 20 to choose from (see the extended entry). Amongst the regular puff are two gems - number 5: Appointment of an independent committee to investiage the HabourFest fiasco and number 19: The sale of Hunghom Peninsula to private developers which scrapped demolition plans after public outcry. They might have got a little ahead of themselves on number 20: Setting up of the Link REIT - HK's first real estate investment trust. With Link still under court challenge at the time of writing that one could go either way.

What I'd really like to see is other countries adopting similar civic initiatives. The top 20 Chinese Government events of the year? Olympic medals, arresting intellectuals, missing out on World Cup qualification, corruption, economic growth, the Three Gorges dam...that's off the top of my head. How about America? Australia? Iraq? This could be hours of fun.

Full list to choose for the top 10 HK Government events of the year, with a little snark:

1. Implementation of CEPA, further integration and co-operation between HK and the Pan Pearl River Delta.

Has anyone seen any concrete signs CEPA has added anything to HK's economy? Didn't think so.

2. Public consultation on how to promote HK's democracy under the Basic Law.

It didn't help - Beijing said no anyway.

3. Resolving through legal means the dispute over Central-Wanchai reclamation, reassurance from the government that no further reclamation projects are planned.

Yeah, right.

4. Promoting HK's tourism: opening of the Avenue of Stars is TST, visitors to HK topped 20 million.

No SARS helps as well.

5. Appointment of an independent committee to investigate the HabourFest fiasco.

Fiasco being the operative word.

6. Issuing of HK$26 billion government bonds to fund infrastructure developments.

7. Resignation of top health officials...following the completion of SARS investigation.

Accountability comes to HK.

8. ICAC's raid on newspapers offices, newspaper took case to court.

What a co-incidence. A survey run by newspapers highlights this.

9. HK's economy continues to recover with dwindling deflation and falling unemployment rate.

Is this a Government press release?

10. Outstanding achievements of HK atheletes in the Olympics; Mainland Gold Medallists' visit to HK.

They forgot the Orwellian patriotism campaign.

11. Legco election successfully held with 55% voter turnout.

The result? On HK Island 60% voted for Democrats but they won only 2 of the 5 seats on offer.

12. Government cuts welfare payments to help ease financial burden.

In number 6 we're issuing debt, now we're cutting welfare. But if number 9 is to believed, things are getting better. No point aiming for consistency.

13. Public consultation launched on education reform.

14. Public consultation launched on the development of the West Kowloon Culture District.

The public had a victory in Hunghom, but will they win in this time?

15. Public housing rental dispute: legal challenges continue as government promises rent concessions.

They didn't mention the dispute over pets in public housing. Now that was a big event.

16. Government increases transparency in releasing land supply and property figures.

They still don't mean much, though. Interesting they didn't mention the very successful land auction late in the year which has sparked the latest rebound in both the the government's fiscal position and the property market.

17. Government's commitment to downsize the civil service and to resolve pay dispute with civil servants through legal means.

Which civil servants are fighting tooth and nail. There's plenty of fat to be cut from the most pampered "public" servants in the world.

18. Opening of West Rail, Ma On Shan Link and the TST East extension.

19. The sale of Hunghom Peninsula to private developers which scrapped demolition plans after public outcry.

Hey, this public having a say thing could catch on.

20. Setting up of the Link REIT - HK's first real estate investment trust.

Something about counting chickens comes to mind.

posted by Simon on 12.17.04 at 11:46 AM in the


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