Today’s news update features protests around electricity price increases. Below is a summary of news in today’s Chinese press here in Hong Kong.
Power companies announce electricity tariff hikes
Hong Kong’s two power companies announced the extent of their electricity tariff rises yesterday. CLP will raise its tariff by 5.9 percent on average. Hong Kong Electric will raise its tariff by an average of 2.9 percent. According to Environment Secretary Wong Kam-sing, the two companies originally asked for tariff hikes of between 5 and 7 percent. The government has already pressured them to reduce the scale of the tariff hikes, he said, although, he admitted that the two companies two companies can still maximize their permitted returns. Legislators criticized the two power companies, saying that they had abandoned a rise in the base electricity tariff so as to avoid the need for ExCo approval but had greatly increased the fuel tariff instead.
Baptist University fires the head of its China studies department
Yesterday, Baptist University fired Victor Sit Fung-shuen, the head of its Advanced Institute for Contemporary China Studies following the release of the conclusions of a committee that investigated the controversy surrounding the release of one of its publications. The institute’s “Blue Book” alleges that Chinese University of Hong Kong’s liberal studies curriculum was influenced by an American foundation. Chinese University has complained three times regarding the allegations. The investigation committee found that Sit had not properly handled the complaints and that he was responsible for the allegations against Chinese University. The committee also found that some of the allegations made by the Blue Book were unsubstantiated and that Sit had attempted to shift blame onto the publishers.
Leung’s supporters and opponents trade barbs during policy address consultation
Before attending an ExCo meeting yesterday, Chief Executive Leung Chin-ying qualified a controversial comment that he had made on the previous day. Regarding the controversy over his previous claim that he had never said that there were not illegal structures on his property, Leung specified that he was specifically referring to the election period. Leung once again apologized to the public. Leung also came under fire when he was chairing a consultation meeting on his upcoming policy address yesterday. Supporters and opponents of the Chief Executive criticized each other both inside and outside of the chamber. Despite the continuation of the controversy, Leung is expected to survive a no-confidence motion in LegCo today thanks to the support of pro-establishment lawmakers.