Date
18 December 2017

HKEJ Today: Highlights

Following is a summary of major news and comments in the Hong Kong Economic Journal, the parent publication of EJ Insight, on Monday, April 14:

TOP STORIES

New accounting laws fail to close loopholes, institute says

Interview: New laws designed to eradicate sham certified accountants and accounting firms have failed to stop intermediaries using loopholes in the system, according to Raphael Ding, chief executive and registrar of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The authority discovered that the financial reports of one company seeking to register in Shenzhen’s Qianhai experimental zone were audited by a non-certified accounting firm, which is reportedly running an intermediary service with illegitimate help from certified accountants. Ding said the accountant could face punitive action from the institute.

Mainland ‘father of internet’ warns of cyber security threats

Interview: Internet security issues are ballooning and threatening the industry’s development, according to Qian Hualin {錢華林}, the so-called father of the mainland internet. Qian said users are not wary enough about the ease with which hackers, armed with cutting-edge technology, can intrude on online banking and other systems with confidential data, adding that government control is therefore paramount.

Mainland enterprises on quest for funds, Mobius says

Interview: Mark Mobius, chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group, said mainland enterprises are expected to embark on a new wave of fundraising, and a lack of funds has become the most pressing concern for Chinese firms. Mobius said lenders are in the forefront of such funding demands but his outlook for mainland banks is negative, given their non-performing loan and provision levels. His top picks include mainland retail and internet plays.

POLITICS

Officials oppose public nomination for CE race

Three senior mainland officials have lashed out at the pan-democrats’ call for the public and political parties to nominate candidates for the 2017 chief executive election. In a meeting with pan-democratic legislators in Shanghai yesterday, the officials said the nomination methods they proposed violated the Basic Law as they undercut the power of the nominating committee. The trio are Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office director Wang Guangya, Liaison Office director Zhang Xiaoming and Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei. They did not say whether a proposal from academics for public recommendations for the poll is in line with the Basic Law.

Don’t get personal on electoral reform, Anson Chan urges Beijing

Former chief secretary Anson Chan has called on Beijing not to get personal when considering the 2017 electoral proposal made by Hong Kong 2020, a group she co-founded with five others. She said it was not the “Anson Chan proposal.” Speculation is rife that Beijing has refused to discuss the idea with her after she and leading democrat Martin Lee met US Vice President Joe Biden during a recent visit to Washington. Beijing dismissed the meeting as an effort by foreign governments to interfere in Hong Kong’s internal affairs.

EDITORIAL

Shanghai talks first step towards reform consensus

Three senior mainland officials held exclusive talks on political reform with a group of pan-democratic legislators in Shanghai yesterday. Although differences have not been narrowed, the talks do mark the first step towards consensus. Article 45 of the Basic Law says the chief executive should be elected by universal suffrage based on nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee through democratic procedures. The crucial issue now in seeking a compromise is how to increase public participation in the nomination procedure to reflect the collective wish of the people.

COMMENTS

Drop June 4, July 1 protests for Occupy Central, Lian says

It would be better not to hold the annual June 4 candlelight vigil and the pro-democracy July 1 march this year, according to former HKEJ chief editor Joseph Lian. He said the annual demonstrations would require enormous resources from the pro-democracy groups, which would best be concentrated on preparations for the Occupy Central movement. The June 4 commemoration is symbolic but the blockade protest is the real, substantive battleground for political reform. The ruling Communist Party would be most scared if the June 4 and July 1 protests are not held.

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