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June 23, 2010

Hong Kong Democratic Party stirs up universal suffrage reform package controversy

Hong Kong Democratic Party stirs up universal suffrage reform package controversy

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

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The Democratic Party has been stirring up some controversy by proposing a revision of the 2012 constitutional package regarding the universal suffrage in Hong Kong, which the local government as well as the National People’s Congress, accepted. The Legislative Council (LegCo) lawmakers are scheduled to cast their ballots tomorrow to decide whether or not the proposal will be accepted, and it is highly likely that the proposal will be approved.

Yesterday night, the Democratic Party held a long meeting to debate on the controversial issue. After five hours, consensus aroused in the Party to accept the package, with only 63 opposed to the LegCo part of the proposal and 71 to the Chief Executive part, as compared to 246 and 237 in support of the LegCo and Chief Executive parts respectively. “The decision is not just a historical one for the Democratic Party, but also a milestone for the city’s progress in democracy,” said the Party chairman Albert Ho.

Under the new revision, ten constituencies would be added to the original 60 of the LegCo, five of which are functional constituencies and would be voted by elected district councilors. Those who are not elected will not be permitted to vote. This allows the people to indirectly participate in the election.

The vice president of China, Xi Jinping had approved the amended proposal in order to prevent Hong Kong’s political situation from worsening. The Executive Council also approved the proposal, and the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang said there is a ‘ray of hope’ for the democratic development of Hong Kong as a result. The decision broke the stalemate between the government and the Democratic Party. According to Ming Pao, the decision also improved the chances of Xi Jinping’s becoming the next president.

The proposal is also popular among the Pro-Beijing political parties, such as the DAB, Federation of Trade Unions, and Liberal Party. Politicians Elsie Leung, Rita Fan and Tsang Hin-chi also support the proposal, the former stating that the proposal was ‘worthy of consideration’.

However, the proposal received heavy criticism among radical democrats, including the League of Social Democrats (LSD) and the Civic Party, as well as the general public. The LSD met outside the Causeway Bay branch of the Professional Teachers’ Union, where the Democratic Party’s meeting was held, to protest. They stepped onto a roasted pigeon, symbolising the Democratic Party as the Party’s logo included a dove. They waved placards with the names of seven of the party’s lawmakers and condemned them for being “democracy sinners.” The Party had also protested when Ho participated in the City Forum and during a meeting of the Alliance for Universal Suffrage.

During the City Forum, where Ho, Audrey Eu of the Civic Party and a National People’s Congress representative talked, LSD members frequently booed and attacked Ho. Even after Franklin Wong rescued Ho and put him in his car, some ‘Brothers of Victoria Park’ still surrounded the car, and police officers had to protect Ho so that he could leave. During the above mentioned meeting, many people claiming to be previous supporters of the Democratic Party accused the Party of betraying them, including a 80-year-old man called Chan, a 31-year-old named Cheung and an unnamed middle-aged woman.

These actions were condemned by Democratic Party members, including Szeto Wah, Emily Lau, and Cheung Man-kwong. Ho said that, ‘when extreme leftists and rightists attack you, you know that are in the right track’.

However, not all Democratic Party members supported the proposal. Martin Lee, the founder of the Democratic Party, had earlier vowed to leave the party should the package be backed. He stated that he was bitterly disappointed, and needed two weeks’ time to consider whether he should quit or not. Party member Andrew Cheng also opposed the proposal, as did James To. The former is thinking of leaving the party.

Ho says he will try to persuade the two to support the package in private. It has been predicted that once Lee and Cheng leave the party, around 20 members will follow their lead, putting the unity of the party at stake and leaving the party to face its greatest danger since 2000.



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May 22, 2010

Hong Kong chief executive invites opponent to television debate

Hong Kong chief executive invites opponent to television debate

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

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Audrey Eu talking in the City Forum

Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang has invited Audrey Eu, the head of the Civic Party, to a televison debate on the 2009 reform package. The invitation follows the recent so-called Five Constituencies Referendum which called for universal suffrage and the abolition of the functional constituencies.

Tsang says he is glad that Eu has accepted the invitation, and the debate will air on the seventeenth of June. However, Eu has said that Tsang should not use this debate as an excuse to avoid facing the public’s concerns.

The action sparked critism from ‘less extreme’ pan-democratic political parties, such as the Democratic Party and other members of the Alliance for Universal Suffrage, who did not participate in the by-elections. Szeto Wah is worried that such an action would divide the pan-democrats. Martin Lee and Albert Ho have both denied that the television conference will have such an effect. Lee believes that Eu was a good choice as Ho is currently trying to compromise with the central government and was thus a less suitable candidate. Ho is also happy that Eu was invited. However, Rita Fan, who supports the television conference, said she “sympathised” with Ho for not being able to participate.

Only Eu and Tsang will participate in the conference, which caused a huge uproar in the political circles of Hong Kong. Eu is annoyed that public is unable to ask questions during the debate. Tsang replied that the public could participate by watching the television, while government representatives explained that this was because determining the eligibility of a person’s entry was difficult, and it was easier for the two to debate fluently without the public asking questions. Eu has already inquired the public’s opinion through Facebook. Lee Cheuk-yan scoffed, “[i]f that is the case, does that mean that everyone in the world can participate in the football matches by watching the World Cup?” Fan said such participation was “passive” and “one-sided” as the public was not allowed to ask questions during the conference.



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May 16, 2010

Hong Kong by-elections start

Hong Kong by-elections start – Wikinews, the free news source

Hong Kong by-elections start

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

China
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Hong Kong’s by-elections, triggered by the resignation of five legislators, Wong Yuk-man, Tanya Chan, Leung Kwok-hung, Albert Chan, and Alan Leong, will take place today. The five legislators left the Legislative Council earlier this year in protest of the government’s indifference towards universal suffrage and the abolishment of functional constituencies.

The elections started at 07.30 local time (23.30 UTC) today, and are due to end at ten o’clock tonight. Results are expected to be released tomorrow morning.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang has decided not to vote. Financial Secretary John Tsang, who was in Shanghai, stated that “Donald Tsang will expound on his opinions”.

Prominent politicians Leung Chun Ying and Anthony Cheung also refused to vote. The heads of the DAB and Liberal Party didn’t cast their ballots either, the former going on a trip to avoid voting. Their abstention provoked the criticism of several pan-democrats, including Audrey Eu.

As of 18.00 today (10.00 UTC), 405880 voters have voted. The percentage of registered voters who voted is 12.03%; The highest is Kowloon West, with 14.9%, while New Territories West was the lowest, at 9.93%. Some members of the Pro-Beijing camp have also decided to vote for Pamela Pak, a Hong Kong radio celebrity. Wong Yuk-man says he does not mind, for even a vote for his major opponent means a rise in the number of voters.



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February 1, 2010

Building collapses, leaving four dead in Hong Kong

Building collapses, leaving four dead in Hong Kong

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Monday, February 1, 2010

A decades-old building collapsed along Ma Tau Wai Road in Hong Kong at about 1:30pm on Friday, local time. That building was located at 45J, Ma Tau Wai Road in Hung Hom. A shop on its ground floor was undergoing renovations when the building collapsed. The street was full of dust afterwards. Firefighters arrived at the scene to search survivors and they asked residents in the buildings nearby to evacuate the area. Those buildings included 45G and 45H.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang called for an investigation into the cause of the building collapse. He aimed at preventing similar incidents. The government required all old buildings with similar structures to undergo inspection, according to Secretary for Development Carrie Lam.

The government has confirmed that four people were dead in the incident. Rescue efforts ended on Saturday morning when the government confirmed that no one was missing. Lam visited the scene on Saturday afternoon and sought advice from the police and Buildings Department. The police has started its investigation into the incident. Secretary for Labour & Welfare Matthew Cheung said that the government would do its best to meet the victims’ needs.

The collapsed building was more than 50 years old. The government had inspected its five-storey structure before the incident and had ordered repairs. After the tragedy, the government announced that it would inspect buildings older than 50 years in one month. The government has restricted access to buildings at 45G and 45H as they were in danger.

In pictures

A building collapsed on January 29. The photo shows that follow-up measures were still in progress at 3:30pm on January 31, two days after the accident. Structures of buildings near the affected area were strengthened.)

A building collapsed on January 29. The photo shows that follow-up measures were still in progress at 3:30pm on January 31, two days after the accident. Structures of buildings near the affected area were strengthened

A closer look at the damage to the buildings nearby along Ma Tau Wai Road at 3:38pm on January 31.

A closer look at the damage to the buildings nearby along Ma Tau Wai Road at 3:38pm on 31 January 2010.

S.K.H. Holy Carpenter Church has been the temporary home for the victims in the collapse along Ma Tau Wai Road since 29 January 2010. The photo was taken at 4:35pm on 31 January 2010.

S.K.H. Holy Carpenter Church has been the temporary home for the victims in the collapse along Ma Tau Wai Road since 29 January 2010. The photo was taken at 4:35pm on 31 January 2010.

The photo was taken at a minibus stop along Tak Man Street at 4:32pm on January 31. The fund-raising campaign lasted one day when passengers of minibuses needed to pay cash and the cash would all be collected for the victims of the building collapse along Ma Tau Wai Road.

The photo was taken at a minibus stop along Tak Man Street at 4:32pm on January 31. The fund-raising campaign lasted one day when passengers of minibuses needed to pay cash and the cash would all be collected for the victims of the building collapse along Ma Tau Wai Road.

The bus of route 6C passed the stop at Man Tai Street temporarily because of the Ma Tau Wai Road tragedy. The photo was taken at 4:05pm on 31 January 2010.

The bus of route 6C passed the stop at Man Tai Street temporarily because of the Ma Tau Wai Road tragedy. The photo was taken at 4:05pm on January 31.

The collapsed building was along Ma Tau Wai Road. The surrounding buildings might be in danger. The photo shows the situation at 11:40pm on January 29 .

The collapsed building was along Ma Tau Wai Road. The surrounding buildings might be in danger. The photo shows the situation at 11:40pm on 29 January 2010.

No traffic was allowed along Ma Tau Wai Road because of collapsing buildings. The photo shows the road at 11:29pm on January 29.

No traffic was allowed along Ma Tau Wai Road because of collapsing buildings. The photo shows the road at 11:29pm on January 29.



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September 13, 2009

Lift accident in Hong Kong skyscraper kills six

Lift accident in Hong Kong skyscraper kills six

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

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The International Commerce Centre under construction in July 2009

Six construction workers at Hong Kong’s International Commerce Centre (ICC) were killed on Sunday when they fell seventeen stories down a lift shaft.

The workers were standing on a platform on the 27th floor of the building when it collapsed.

The ICC’s building developers from Sun Hung Kail Properties, Ltd., said they would pay the families of the victims at least HK$1 million (US$129,000) apiece and pay for funeral costs. Donald Tsang, the city’s CEO, said a full investigation into the incident would be launched.

The International Commerce Centre, when completed, is to be the fourth tallest building in the world, with 118 stories. It is scheduled to open in 2010.



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May 3, 2009

Swine flu worldwide: update

Swine flu worldwide: update – Wikinews, the free news source

Swine flu worldwide: update

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Swine Flu
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People in Mexico City wear masks on a train due to the swine flu outbreak
More information on H1N1:
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Media reports suggest that the deadly H1N1 swine flu virus, which has killed sixteen people and infected hundreds worldwide, is continuing to spread. According to the United Nations’ World Health Organisation, there are a total of 331 confirmed cases of swine flu throughout the world, with hundreds more suspected cases.

The WHO raised its pandemic alert level to its fifth level on Friday, on a scale of one to six, and has said that it is possible a transition to the highest level will be made.


Canada

The Canadian government increased the number of swine flu incidents in their country to 51 on Friday, with seventeen new cases having been reported throughout the day. Canada now has the third highest number of swine flu cases reported by country, following Mexico and the United States. “All of them [swine flu cases] are relatively mild,” said Gordon Campbell, the premier of British Columbia. “Unfortunately, we may see some deaths. It’s important for us to recognize that.”

The breakdown of cases in Canada by province is as follows: fifteen in British Columbia, fourteen in Nova Scotia, twelve in Ontario, eight in Alberta, one in New Brunswick, and one in Quebec.

Health authorities in Alberta said they have found the first human-to-animal transmission of the virus. Dr. Brain Evans said a Canadian who returned from Mexico on April 12 infected a pig farm that he worked at. Around two hundred pigs have been quarantined and are now waiting to recover. At this time, there is no evidence of humans getting the virus from infected pigs.

Egypt

Despite assurances from public health officials that the H1N1 virus is not transmitted to humans from animals, the Egyptian government has ordered all 400,000 pigs in the country to be slaughtered, a move that the UN has denounced as “a real mistake”.

Medical staff are to check passengers arriving at Cairo airport from Mexico, and monitor them during their stay in Egypt. No cases of swine flu have yet been reported in the country.

Germany

German officials have said that a nurse living in Bavaria obtained the virus, apparently contracting it from a patient that had recently visited Mexico. The nurse has since recovered. Germany has had the second case of human-to-human transmission of the virus, other than Mexico, raising concerns of a possible pandemic. Spain was the first country to have reported a transmission of the flu from a person that had not visited Mexico.

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Hong Kong

Hong Kong reported its first confirmed case of the swine flu on Friday in a 25-year-old man who had travelled from Mexico through Shanghai. The 300 residents of the hotel he was staying in have been placed under quarantine. Media reports say that police officers wearing masks are now guarding the exits of the building. Health officials say that the hotel will remain sealed off for a week, and the Tamilflu antiviral drug given to all residents and staff inside.

The infected man is now reported to be in Hong Kong’s Princess Margaret Hospital, where he is in stable condition.

“I assure you the Hong Kong government will try its best to conquer the virus. I stress we don’t need to panic,” said Donald Tsang, the Hong Kong Chief Executive. Chen Zhu, the Chinese health minister, said that it was probable the disease would soon spread to mainland China.

██ Confirmed cases followed by death

██ Confirmed cases

██ Unconfirmed or suspected cases

See also: Live map of swine flu, H1N1 live map

Mexico

Health officials from Mexico, the country where the virus is suspected to have originated, have confirmed fifteen deaths and 328 infections from the swine flu. On Friday, the government began a shutdown of the country for five days, in an effort to stop the disease from spreading. It has encouraged non-essential public facilities and government operations to close down.

Several airlines and cruise lines have cancelled or suspended destinations in Mexico. Continental Airlines lowered the number of Mexican-bound flights by half, citing reduced demand for tickets. Carnival Cruise lines, meanwhile, has cancelled all its stops at the country’s ports until May 11. Previously, the cruise line had suspended all of its visits until May 4.

Jose Angel Cordova said that the number of new cases and hospitalisations from the disease seemed to be slowing down; only 46 persons with severe symptoms of the influenza were admitted on Thursday, less than a fourth of the 212 patients that had been admitted on April 20. Cordova called the figures “encouraging”.

Miguel Angel Lezana, the chief epidemiologist in the country, has accused the WHO of taking too much time to respond to Mexico’s warning. Lezana said that his centre had informed a regional branch of the WHO of a sharp increase in sicknesses on April 16, but the WHO had not taken any action for eight days.

The WHO rejected the accusations. “There are cases of influenza all the time, but once we knew that this illness was caused by a new influenza virus […] we moved into operation within a matter of hours,” said Thomas Abrahams, a spokesman for the WHO. “One of the things we are doing internally is documenting everything we have done, when we did it and how we have done it.”

In a televised address, Mexican president Felipe Calderon encouraged people to stay at home with their families, saying that there is “no place as safe as your own home.”

New Zealand

136 suspected cases of the influenza have been reported in New Zealand as of Friday, the government said. The number is a sharp increase over the 25 suspected cases on Thursday. There are currently three confirmed and thirteen probable cases of the flu, according to Health Minister Tony Ryall.

Officials stated that a passenger that had arrived from North America on April 19 had tested positive for influenza A, similar to the swine flu virus.

Julia Peters, the top medical official of Auckland, said that “we are involved today in an extensive contact-tracing exercise with his place of work.” The passenger had arrived on the 19th, but did not start displaying symptoms of the flu until April 22 and did not seek medical help until April 28, when he and his family were placed into a quarantine.

Nigeria

John Odey, the Environment Minister of the African country of Nigeria, stated on Tuesday that the government has ordered all ships and aircraft arriving in Nigeria are to be checked and cleaned, in a move to prevent the entrance of the flu into the nation.

The Nigerian government has advised ill persons wishing to travel out of the country to delay such trips, while those who have returned from abroad and have the symptoms of the flu are urged to immediately seek medical help.

United States

New cases of the swine flu have been reported on Friday in 30 US states, including Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The total number of cases in the country has reached 226, with one confirmed death in a 22-month-old boy in Houston, Texas.

In an effort to curb the spread of the virus, approximately 400 schools have been shut down across the country, 300 of them in Texas and a further 62 in Alabama. All high school state track-and-field championships in the two states have been cancelled. In addition, Fort Worth’s annual Mayfest, which attracts about 200,000 people over four days, has been called off.

The US has said it will purchase thirteen million packages of antiviral treatment, and export 400,000 of those to Mexico.

An aide to Steven Chu, the US Energy Secretary, has reportedly fallen ill from the virus after helping arrange President Barack Obama’s trip to Mexico. However, the White House says that Obama is not at risk of obtaining the flu.



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May 3, 2008

Olympic torch reaches Hong Kong

Olympic torch reaches Hong Kong – Wikinews, the free news source

Olympic torch reaches Hong Kong

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Route map of Olympic torch relay in Hong Kong

The olympic torch being taken through Hong Kong yesterday
Image: Baycrest.

The Olympic torch has returned to Chinese soil. More than 1 million Hong Kong residents and visitors ignored light showers on Friday to greet and cheer the Olympic torch relay. Hong Kong is the first Chinese destination to welcome the Olympic flame after its month-long journey across the world, spanning 19 cities.

It was the Hong Kong’s first Olympic torch relay since the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. The eight-hour torch run included carrying the flame aboard a dragon boat across the Shing Mun River, and on horseback into the Hong Kong Olympic Equestrian Venue and Sha Tin Racecourse. Hong Kong, a co-host city of the Beijing Games in August, will stage the equestrian events.

“Today, the Olympic torch relay resumes on Chinese soil after its global journey across five continents. It is a great and solemn honor for Hong Kong, Asia’s world city, to be the first in China to welcome back the Olympic flame on behalf of our proud nation,” said Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang.

Another image of the torch in Hong Kong yesterday
Image: Baycrest.

The torch relay began at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre at Tsim Sha Tsui where 1996 Atlanta Olympic gold medalist for windsurfing, Lee Lai-shan received the torch from Chief Executive, Donald Tsang. Lee then handed the Olympic flame to Olympic table tennis silver medalist Li Ching, who passed it to his doubles partner Ko Lai-Chak. Lee said, “It is one of my big moments and I am feeling the same excitement I did when I won the Olympic gold medal.”

Early in the morning, a large number of people gathered on both sides of Nathan Road in preparation for the events. Many of the spectators wore red clothes to match the colour of the Chinese flag.

One hundred and twenty torchbearers carried the torch on a 26-km route. The torch bearers passed landmarks such as the Tsing Ma Bridge and the Avenue of Stars, before it was ferried across Victoria Harbor to Hong Kong Island.

Asian Games champion cyclist Wong Kam-po was the last to the carry the Olympic torch. Wong carried the torch to the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, where he lit the cauldron, pulling down the curtain and ending the Hong Kong leg of the torch relay.

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Images: Baycrest


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September 12, 2005

Hong Kong Disneyland opens to the public

Hong Kong Disneyland opens to the public

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Monday, September 12, 2005

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The Walt Disney Company and the government of Hong Kong officially opened the world’s eleventh Disney theme park, Hong Kong Disneyland, today at 13:00PM local time.

The park, located in Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island, is the major attraction at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, which also features two luxurious hotels and a recreational lake with stunning views of local Hong Kong scenery, unlike previous Disney theme parks.

Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong, chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, and vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, Tung Chee-hwa, were present at the ceremony, as were joint Walt Disney CEOs Michael Eisner and Bob Iger, among a host of Disney Imagineers who helped design and create the park.

The park has been criticised for its apparent lack of attractions compared to the other Disney theme parks around the world, but senior show designer for the park, Tom Morris, told journalists that the Imagineers had left much room around the park for expansion, and if all goes well financially, much construction will be going on in the next few years.

Sixteen thousand guests attended the park today, and officials expect five million will follow in the next year. Over seventy percent of all visitors will come from Hong Kong and mainland China.

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July 16, 2005

Radio host sacked threatened freedom of speech in Hong Kong

Radio host sacked threatened freedom of speech in Hong Kong

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Saturday, July 16, 2005

A Hong Kong radio host Wong Yuk Man has been sacked last week. Wong hosted a radio program which had helped him become famous by criticizing the government and the pro-Beijing political party. Commercial Radio, a private radio station and Wong’s former employee said Wong was fired because he demanded a 5-days-per-week program which the station could not deliver. However, Wong said he was fired because commercial radio station feared that the government would refuse to renew their license because of his outspoken criticism against the government. The 5 days per week program which Wong hosted had been cancelled and Wong was reallocated to host a weekly program a couple of months ago after Chen King-Hon, another outspoken radio host of commercial radio who was the most popular host at the time, was sacked and his program cancelled.

Wong and Chen, and their former co-hosts had organized 5,000 fans to join their candle night rally in Central, protesting against the alleged collusion between the commercial radio station and the government and urged for freedom of speech in Hong Kong. Donald Tsang, Hong Kong new Chief Executive, who has just replaced the unpopular Tung Chee-Hwa a month ago who had failed to finish his second term due to the alleged health problem, was criticized for restricting the freedom of speech in Hong Kong. Tsang has not yet responded to their criticism.

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  • Felix Chan. “[ Mad Dog’s midsummer night’s scream]” — South China Morning Post, July 17, 2005
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March 10, 2005

Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa officially resigns

Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa officially resigns

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Thursday, March 10, 2005

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After a week of swirling rumors, Hong Kong’s leader Tung Chee-hwa announced at a press conference today at 5:36 p.m. that, “An hour ago, I tendered my resignation as Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to the Central Government.” It has not yet been officially accepted by Beijing, though it is likely to pass as a formality.

Though Tung cited health reasons for his decision, it is widely believed he was given the signal to resign by the central government of the People’s Republic of China.

“I am 68, because of long hours, 16 to 18 hours a day has taken toll on my health. The third quarter of last year, I began to feel very exhausted, and my immunity is not as good as it was before. Doctors told me that my health used to be good, but if I work this particular schedule continuously it won’t do. Doctors asked me to change lifestyle, if i don’t comply, my health will be in decline and will suffer from more exhaustion.”

When asked whether he was pushed out by Beijing, Tung replied, “That is not the case at all. The central government has repeatedly affirmed the work that I and my colleagues of the SAR government have done, so that is not the case at all.”

Tung had become extremely unpopular in the last few years, culminating in a July 1, 2003, rally when over 500,000 people demonstrated against his handling of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the economy and controversial state security provisions.

With his resignation, chief secretary for administration Donald Tsang will take over as provided by the Basic Law. A special election is required within 120 days according to the Chief Executive Election Ordinance.

In his final comments, Tung expressed regret in his inability to complete his term because of his poor health.

“The sense of attachment… with Hong Kong people is enormous, it’s just a very special feeling. Its kind of sad to leave.”

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