1. New standing committee members understand Hong Kong
Yesterday, China’s top leaders were officially revealed. Xi Jinping has become the General Secretary of the CCP, and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission. He will take over the presidency from Hu Jintao in March 2013. Li Keqiang will take over the job of Premier from Wen Jiabao in the same month. Xi and Li have taken the first and second spot of the Politburo Standing Committee respectively. The other Standing Committee members, in order of seniority, are Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli. Analysts are still uncertain about what the power transfer means for Hong Kong and Macau. Some analysts say that the fact that three Standing Committee members have worked in Guangdong means that the new leadership understands Hong Kong better as a whole. The general consensus is that the mainland’s policies towards the Special Administrative Regions will not change much. Analysts say Xi Jinping might continue to take charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs, or he might pass the job to a less senior member of the leadership, such as Liu Yunshan.
2. Consumer Council sounds the alarm on beauty treatments and olive oil
Yesterday, the Consumer Council raised two issues of relevance to consumers. The council acknowledged that some residents who receive beauty treatments at clinics, such as injections to whiten or add volume to the skin and face, have suffered health impacts, including swelling and partial paralysis. The council said that such consumers have a right to hold the clinics responsible even if they have signed contracts that appear to absolve the clinics of responsibility. The Consumer Council also said that citizens should be aware that some brands of olive oil pomace are incorrectly labeling their product as more expensive olive oil in Chinese.
3. Land sale won’t change Union Hospital’s expansion plan
Yesterday, Dr. Anthony Lee, Chief Hospital Manager and Managing Director of Union Hospital, responded to an Audit Commission report that criticizes regulators for letting their guard down in approving a lease modification that allowed Henderson Land Development to turn part of the hospital site into luxury apartments. Lee said that the usage rate of the hospital was low in the 1990s and thus the board of directors decided to turn part of the land into residential use to make money to support the hospital’s operation. In the end the hospital received HK$200 – 300 million from Henderson on the housing project. Lee noted that the hospital still has plans to expand the hospital using the remainder of the undeveloped land that it has been allocated.