Poor CY Leung can’t catch a break. Yesterday he went to the flower markets to commemorate the opening of this lively holiday fair. And instead of peonies and poppies he was greeted with protesters. The price of flowers isn’t the only thing rising – land continues to grow in value. Here’s what’s making news in the Chinese newspapers in Hong Kong today.
Housing prices rise, putting households under pressure
In spite of the measures that the government and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) have taken to restrain rising housing prices, the market is still frothy. According to HKMA Chairman Norman Chan Tak-lam, households’ housing burden rose to 59 percent of GDP – close to the historic high. Against the backdrop of a disparity between citizens’ income and the development of the housing market, the overly warm housing market is still the greatest risk to the financial stability of Hong Kong. Chan said that the HKMA might push forward a sixth round of measures to deal with the problem soon. He also warned citizens to beware of the eventual rise in interest rates.
Leung Chun-ying is surrounded by protesters at Victoria Park
Yesterday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and his wife visited the New Year flower market in Victoria Park. They had originally intended to visit three flower stands. However, they had to cut short their visit because they were surrounded by protesters that were calling for Leung to resign. In total, the couple spent 17 minutes at the flower market. In that time, they were jostled by the crowd and Leung’s wife was accidentally elbowed in the face by a security guard. After the altercation, Leung released a statement in which he condemned LegCo member Leung Kwok-hung and other protesters for sowing disorder. He also apologized to the flower stand owners and the public for the inconvenience the protesters caused. Finally, he said that he would continue to interact with the people.
FSDC will not operate as a private company
For several weeks, the question of whether the newly launched Financial Services Development Council (FSDC) would be a private company or a statutory body has been a topic of controversy in Hong Kong. Critics of the FSDC worry that if the council operates privately, attempts to purchase the council’s influence might not be subject to anti-graft regulations. As one consequence, yesterday, LegCo passed a motion that calls on the FSDC to become a government advisory body and to research the feasibility of becoming a statutory body in the future. Council Chairperson Laura Cha said that most of the council’s members did not wish to spend too much effort on determining the operation model. However, she said that the council would not register as a limited company for the time being.