From Today’s Cantonese Press

1. Western does not rule Hong Kong, but it must do its duty
Yesterday, Zhang Xiaoming, the newly appointed head of the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong, held his first media interviews. Zhang clarified the role that the liaison office, located in Western District, plays in Hong Kong. He said that the liaison office does not control Hong Kong, but it must dutifully take on the responsibilities accorded to it by the central government. He said that those responsibilities include objective reporting of conditions in Hong Kong to the Beijing authorities, firm support for the work of the Hong Kong government, and maintaining contact with a wide range of stakeholders. He described himself as principled and easy to communicate with. He also said that he mixes with Hong Kong society, having taken the MTR and visited tenants living in subdivided housing.
2. Report on Lingnan University admissions scandal implicates two university officials
Investigators of the problem of excessive admissions at Lingnan University’s Community College and School of Continuing Education released the report of their findings yesterday. The report says that the two study institutions accepted 3,600 students too many, twice the targeted number. Additionally the document claims that Lingnan University’s Associate Vice President, Chan Tsang-sing, was unable to fully implement the university’s procedures so must shoulder the blame for the incident. As for the former dean of the two colleges, Edward Fung Pui-weng, who resigned following the incident, the report criticizes him for making admissions decisions based on his own interests and for having an autocratic management style. Responding to the report, the chairman of the university’s board said that he had already expressed the board’s disappointment to the two accused officials and that the board was looking for replacements.
3. Hong Kong’s economic freedom ranking falls
For 19 years, Hong Kong has led the world in the economic freedom rankings published by the Heritage Foundation, a US think tank. However, the gap between the city and its second-place competitor, Singapore, is shrinking. This year, Hong Kong’s economic freedom score was 89.3, 0.06 percent lower than it was last year and the lowest in five years. In contrast, Singapore’s score rose from 87.0 to 87.5. According to the head of Heritage Foundation, Hong Kong’s score slipped because of populist pressure and increased social expenditures by the government. He also recommended that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s act to reduce social expenditures and avoid further interference in the investment market. He specifically said that the government should not implement standard working hours. He further indicated that Hong Kong’s rating on rule of law had pulled down its economic freedom score.

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