In the press

Updated: 2013-07-13 08:20

(HK Edition)

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Cheung Ming

Apple Daily's latest 'bomb'

Celebrated rumor mill Apple Daily has churned out yet another pile of garbage, claiming that the central government has decided to let Hong Kong begin public consultations on constitutional reform ahead of schedule. It claims to have obtained "top secret information straight from the central government," to this effect, but the reality is there are too many gaping holes in their "news report." It all magnifies the fact that this opposition mouthpiece tells nothing but lies.

There will never be a champion in rumor-mongering if Apple Daily calls itself the runner-up, because its owner doesn't give a flying rat's fart about journalistic ethics and professionalism. He believes most readers are simply too ignorant and brainwashed to see through the disguise, which works really well on many locals apparently.

The daily's front page story on Thursday caught the attention of the politically sensitive folks here, but left too many questions unanswered. Unlike the usual lead stories on its front page, this one doesn't have a byline. If it's because no one is willing to lend his or her name to this obvious lie, I don't blame them. It also mentioned some central government officials in charge of Hong Kong and Macao affairs by name to make the rumor sound credible but, unfortunately, it contains too many compromising details for its own good.

For example, it claims the "explosive" decision on Hong Kong's political reform schedule was made at the very first meeting of the Central Coordination Group on Hong Kong and Macao Affairs since Zhang Dejiang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party's Political Bureau, took over as chief in March. The fact is that Zhang's leading role in Hong Kong and Macao affairs coordination from top down was decided at last year's Party Congress, which was eight months ago. It's also public knowledge that the coordination group comprises leading officials from some 20 ministries and commissions of the central government, and Vice-Premier Liu Yandong is one of the deputy chiefs. Apple Daily only managed to put in six names, including Zhang but not Liu. Can anyone believe a central government taskforce of such caliber took so long to meet for the first time, with more than half the members absent?

This poorly fabricated fantasy reminds people of busted rumors such as the grossly over-rehashed "Plan B" story. It is apparently timed to add weight to the opposition camp's three alternative plans for the 2017 Chief Executive election by universal suffrage which were also churned out on Thursday. Their whole intention to intensify pressure on the HKSAR government is too obvious to hide.

The author is a current affairs commentator. This is an excerpted translation of his article published in Ta Kung Pao on July 12.

We're indebted to Tuen Mun

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying attended a Q&A session in the Legislative Council on Thursday. While fielding questions from lawmakers, he acknowledged that governments over the years have built a number of annoying facilities at Tuen Mun and they owe the district's residents some compensation. He also promised the government will look deeper into the environmental situation in those areas so as to reduce the negative impact of such facilities on residents as much as possible.

Indeed, Tuen Mun is home to a whole lot of repulsive facilities to the disadvantage of its residents, and Hong Kong society owes them serious respect. The government, meanwhile, is obliged to offer Tuen Mun residents affected by those hazardous installations some reasonable compensation and remedial measures to minimize the health risks they have been subjected to. Legislators should keep the overall interests of society in mind and approve the government's request to fund a preliminary study on the Tuen Mun landfill expansion plan that will help find a balanced solution to the thorny issue.

Hundreds of heavy dumpsters pass through Tuen Mun every day, trucking thousands of tons of urban waste to the dump and incinerator; while the kerosene tanks supplying aviation fuel to the airport, the Tsing Chau cement plant and one of China Light and Power's plants aggravate environmental concerns on a daily basis.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor attended an extraordinary meeting of the Tuen Mun District Council on Thursday and announced four community-centric measures to ease the negative impact of the annoying facilities there. All these moves show that the government is sincere and committed to addressing the pressing issues as well as preparing compensation in a pragmatic way.

However, for the government to do all that, it needs lawmakers to approve the funding requests for preliminary research and geological surveys which, among other things, involve a lot of drilling.

This is an excerpted translation of a Wen Wei Po editorial published on July 12.

(HK Edition 07/13/2013 page6)