In the press

Updated: 2013-04-27 05:39

(HK Edition)

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In the press

It's what haters do best

Pang Chenmin, head of the Disaster Relief Department of the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said on Thursday that all social organizations should be held accountable to donors and disclose the destination of cash donations to the public as well as donors in a timely fashion, adding that authorities are considering introducing third-party auditors to assess the handling of donations for Ya'an earthquake victims. The tightening of the donation regulation system on the mainland should further assure Hong Kong residents their donations will be used the way they should be.

The opposition camp has launched an "anti-donation movement" with the mainland lacking regulation as an excuse, which really is not however one looks at it. The true nature of the anti-donation campaign is politicization of disaster relief as part of its political attack on the mainland. At a time when the disaster areas need every bit of help we can give, the opposition camp in Hong Kong is using this opportunity to play the mischief-maker between Hong Kong residents and their mainland compatriots. This is the continuation of its anti-national education campaign aimed at smothering patriotism, stoking hatred for mainland compatriots and offending the central government. The great majority of Hong Kong residents will never condone this kind of bigotry.

The central authorities ordered departments concerned earlier this week to handle relief funds and materials well; while the National Audit Office has demanded "complete auditing of the management and use of relief funds and materials from the start to finish" and called on the public to report any wrongdoing. The SAR government has presented detailed accounts of financial assistance for disaster areas in Sichuan and Qinghai in recent years for Legislative Council scrutiny and there is no evidence of misuse or embezzlement. The opposition's accusations that Hong Kong's donations have ended up in shoddy buildings or corrupt officials' pockets are entirely untrue.

As they did in the past Hong Kong residents and various communities have offered their help in the form of cash donations in millions of dollars for earthquake victims in Ya'an out of compassion and brotherly love; whereas the opposition is trying to block such expressions of humanitarianism with an "anti-donation movement" that swears "Not a cent for them!" It is designed to sow discord between Hong Kong and the mainland and poison national unity as well as social harmony.

This is an excerpted translation of a Wen Wei Po editorial published on April 26.

Ho Chi-man

CTU pushing for all-lose

The Confederation of Trade Unions (CTU) has taken the container port worker strike to another level by surrounding Cheung Kong Center in Central as well as blocking access to the port, with employers being insincere about negotiation as an excuse. The reality is that the only way to narrow the differences between the two sides lies in continued negotiation, not "raising the bar" in street drama.

One of the contractors already conceded defeat and said it is prepared to call it quits when the existing contract expires. That means the 20 percent pay rise demanded by the CTU is far too much for the contractor and closure will be the only outcome if the labor side sticks to the unrealistic demand. The workers will lose their jobs when that happens. One cannot but wonder if the CTU is going for an "everybody loses" scenario with its inflammatory strategy.

With the CTU hell-bent on forcing the hand of Li Ka-shing, the richest man in Hong Kong and owner of the container port over the labor dispute, it is obvious the radical labor group is set to turn the dockhand strike into a protracted political standoff and beat the employer(s) into submission with the illegal occupation of business venues. The problem is that such moves have destroyed conditions for the two sides to resume talks.

The CTU has accused the employers of insincerity in negotiation with the workers and also blamed Secretary for Labour and Welfare Cheung Kin-chung for not helping restore talks, but the truth is the only party not interested in resolving the labor dispute is the CTU. Some of the workers protesting outside Cheung Kong Center told reporters they wished to return to work as soon as possible instead of continuing the strike, but the CTU has not acknowledged those workers' wishes.

If the "occupy" campaign continues outside Cheung Kong Center it will surely hinder busy traffic in Central and adversely affect Hong Kong's business nerve center. Moreover, the CTU is setting a precedent for similar confrontations in the future which can hurt more parties and even the whole economy. Is that what the CTU is aiming for?

The author is a current affairs commentator. This is an excerpted translation of his article published in Hong Kong Commercial Daily on April 26.

(HK Edition 04/27/2013 page4)