In the press

Updated: 2012-08-29 07:06

(HK Edition)

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PTU's unconscionable act

The Professional Teachers' Union (PTU) tried not long ago to force the government to withdraw its plan to introduce moral and national education (MNE) into the primary and secondary school curriculums by threatening to organize a general strike by school teachers and school boycott by students. The threat was met with strong opposition and condemnation from the public. Then the PTU imposed a reign of terror on individual teachers, coercing them to sign a "code of conscience" denouncing the MNE program or risk being labeled as having "no conscience".

The truth is, this act of white terror by the PTU is but another ploy by the opposition camp to energize its Legislative Council (LegCo) Election campaign. It is an insidious attempt to manipulate voters. The Electoral Affairs Commission should examine these election maneuvers by the PTU closely. Having done so, surely it will reprimand the PTU for violating the principle of just and fair elections.

The PTU has said it will publish on its official website the names of school teachers who have signed the "code of conscience" in support of its anti-MNE campaign. Many teachers have expressed strong discontent toward this act of coercion. Others have said they felt enormous pressure to sign. Some teachers have decided not to sign the "code" and told the press many of their colleagues have filed formal complaints against the PTU's attempt to politicize education. One teacher pointed out that by displaying the names of teachers who have signed the "code", the PTU is creating public pressure on those who have not: "You have no conscience if you don't sign the 'code of conscience'. This is pure white terror."

Some education professionals have questioned the PTU's real motive behind the "code of conscience". Many see in the union's tactics an attempt to turn up its own influence by creating a "head count". Many teachers believe the PTU has set out to create a rift between teachers, as well to damage relations between teachers and school management. Members of the education sector and society as a whole should reject and condemn the PTU for casting white terror on teachers and dividing society with this "code of conscience".

This is an excerpted translation of a Wen Wei Po editorial published on Aug 28.

Honesty & integrity deficit

The new LegCo will be elected on Sept 9, when Hong Kong voters will use their "two votes each" to put candidates of their choice into the assembly. The election campaign has entered the "white-hot" stage, when 3.4 million local voters are faced with the difficult decision of whom to vote for.

The reality is many voters have yet to accept party politics completely. They think the pro-establishment parties tend to be too conservative while the opposition camp's mindless anti-government stance and disturbing behavior are simply too outrageous. There is no need for voters to fret so much about difficult choices. There is a criterion that provides a easier standard than judging candidates by political bearing - good faith. It is hard to determine which political orientation is good and which is bad, but there is no doubt an objective standard for human decency, especially in connection with the public interest. That standard is honesty.

Take a look at the opposition parties represented in the LegCo election, be it the Civic Party (CP), Democratic Party (DP) or those specialized in mob politics, the things they have done in and outside the LegCo over the years show they not only have turned their backs on honesty, but have fallen astonishingly low in terms of their integrity as well.

News reports have revealed that DP Chairman Ho Chun-yan and fellow DP leaders Lee Wing-tat and Martin Lee, together held a 50 percent stake in a company that owns the building that houses the DP headquarters. That company collects several hundred thousand dollars in rent every year from the building's occupants. The three held the stake for 10 years and never told the LegCo about it, which means the party's asset was also the three bosses' private asset for at least a decade without public knowledge.

CP chief Leung Ka-kit broke relevant rules repeatedly in the past four years by awarding office equipment purchasing contracts worth nearly HK$300,000 to a company through private consultation instead of going through public tender. Meanwhile, his "comrade" Tong Ka-wah "opened" seven companies in the last few years to buy and sell properties, also without informing the LegCo. When confronted by the press after the exposure, Tong argued that Hong Kong does not have value-added tax on properties and not telling the LegCo doesn't amount to tax evasion.

What have the opposition parties contributed to Hong Kong's development and public interest in recent years? Absolutely nothing.

This is an excerpted translation of a Ta Kung Pao editorial published on Aug 28.

(HK Edition 08/29/2012 page3)