It’s a time for reflection. And in Hong Kong, it’s time for the annual new year protest march. There are challenges for protesters as government limits where people can gather. But wherever and however they gather, protesters can expect a large police presence.
To you and your families and loved ones – Happy Western New Year!
3,000 police officers keep the peace during New Year’s protests
Yesterday, 2,000 people staged a march to demonstrate their support for the administration of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Even larger protests, both in support and in opposition to Leung, are scheduled for New Year’s Day. For several days, the pan-democrats have been calling on Hong Kong citizens to join their protest. Scholarism, the student association that achieved notoriety during its summer protests against the National Education curriculum, has even put banners on a crane that call for universal suffrage and the removal of Leung from office. Supporters of Leung have also been building interest in their marches through district councils and social groups. Since protesters from both sides will meet in front of the government headquarters, police fear that violence may result. Therefore, they have made arrangements to deploy 3,000 police officers to keep the peace.
Financial secretary says not to forget pillar industries
Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, whose office is currently preparing the government’s budget, published a blog announcement yesterday to remind Hong Kong citizens that the government must raise revenue as well as undertake spending. He also reminded readers that government spending has doubled since the handover despite the fact that taxes have not risen substantially. Invoking the rising welfare and health care expenditures tied to the aging of the population, Tsang said that the government may have trouble meeting its spending obligations if the economy deteriorates. He also called on Hong Kong not to forget about the current pillar industries in its blind pursuit of new industries.
Greenpeace calls for more control over electricity rates
Greenpeace has called on the government to take advantage of the mid-2013 interim review on CLP and Hong Kong Electric to restore the government’s guiding role in the setting of electricity tariffs. The environmental group wants the government to use the preparation process for the construction of offshore wind farms to restore government price guidance, raise energy-saving targets for the two electricity firms, and make use of green energy certificates. The groups want the government to put in place tax advantages to attract large business groups to use a higher proportion of wind energy, thereby reducing the cost burden on other users and putting downward pressure on electricity tariffs.