May 27, 2006

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Tamar and the newspapers

"Tsang wins the battle of Tamar" screams the SCMP on its front page today. No, The Don didn't manage to repel the invading hordes. Rather the Democrats rather meekly rolled over because the Government promised to keep a couple of trees and a heritage trail around the old Central Government Offices. With concessions like that, we can all be thankful that these politicians are keeping The Don honest. The rather pathetic DAB are still flogging their Kai Tak idea, even though they've downgraded their ambition from all government offices down to a shop front. Will The Don throw the pro-Bejingers' a bone and let them establish a tiny outpost at the old airport? It's the least he can do.

Hong Kong's political parties have been busy, however. While The Don gets Tamar going, they've been busy collating membership lists because the lawyers that formed the new Civic Party read the law. Due to a legal quirk, political parties are setup under the Companies Ordinance rather than the Societies one...the quirk being under the Societies law the government has the right to shut them down. But under the Companies Ordinance, the parties need to publicly display their membership lists. Somewhat amazingly, no-one realised this was the case until this year. The last few days have made interesting reading, despite the parties having tiny memberships.

But most interesting is this piece from today's SCMP article on The Don's military victory:

Speaking to the media yesterday, Democratic Party chairman Lee Wing-tat said the party had decided to support the funding bid after the government responded positively to its demands.

The party has previously said it wanted Government Hill to be preserved.

The government has made a commitment to that effect in articles published today in the South China Morning Post and some Chinese-language newspapers.

Sure enough, turn to the SCMP's op-ed page and there's the government written piece. Does the SCMP charge the government to do its announcements? Do they worry about being a mouthpiece rather than a centre of critical journalism? Does it feel good to know The Don can want something published and it will be done? Who needs Pravda or Xinhua?

posted by Simon on 05.27.06 at 11:18 AM in the Hong Kong democracy/politics category.


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