No one emerges well out of abandoned boy's saga

June 13, 2015 08:01
The motives of Chan Yuen-han (left) in helping Siu Yau-wai have been questioned. Photo: HKEJ

The only thing really clear about the story of Siu Yau-wai, 12, the boy who was abandoned by his parents in Shenzhen and stayed illegally in Hong Kong with his grandmother, is that no one comes out of this saga looking good.

Legislator Chan Yuen-han, who decided to throw this case into the spotlight of publicity, stands accused of having political motives and of misleading Chow Siu-shuen, the boy’s grandmother.

The protesters who hounded the boy out of Hong Kong on the grounds his admission would open the floodgates to illegal immigration from across the border showed an ugly side of the so-called nativist movement, which puts Hong Kong first but appears to do so without thought for the consequences.

Meanwhile government officials, yet again, demonstrated their lack of initiative, on the one hand trying to please a pro-government legislator, while on the other being only sort of aware of the need to uphold the law.

Ms. Chow has also contributed to this mess by giving conflicting accounts of what happened, although it is pretty clear that she acted out of the best intentions.

As for her daughter, who abandoned her son and speaks in vile language about him, well, contemptible is hardly an adequate description for her behaviour.

Yet it cannot be denied that this is a complex matter involving a painful humanitarian case, the rule of law and much besides.

Were it not that everything in Hong Kong has become so politicized, Yau-wai might have had his problem resolved with greater ease.

But politics cannot be ignored, because there are genuine fears about Hong Kong being overwhelmed by mainlanders, there is a sense that the government is paralyzed by looking over its shoulders to gauge what its masters want it to do, and the intervention of politicians in this matter confirms the cynicism of many people who have found no reason to trust them.

Giving satire a bad name, again

The Chinese government’s relentless attempts to give satire a bad name have emerged again with the publication of a State Council white paper on human rights.

The one thing in this satire-rich document that cannot be disputed is the statement about "China’s unique pattern of protecting human rights".

Elsewhere, we learn that progress has been made protecting freedom of speech and religious rights for minorities and that great strides have produced more justice in courts of law.

Next up, no doubt, will be a white paper describing the fabulous lack of pollution in China’s cities and the occasional sighting of Elvis in Hubei province.

Missing in action – Hong Kong’s chief executive

The curious case of the disappearing Hong Kong chief executive deepens.

Leung Chun-ying rarely misses a chance to leave Hong Kong for some reason or other, but on the eve of what he says is the city’s most important political event, voting in the Legislative Council on the constitutional reform proposal, he has decided to take an extended trip to North America.

It is not quite clear why this visit was so pressing at this crucial moment, but what is clear is that Mr. Leung – or maybe his bosses -- have decided that things will go more smoothly in Hong Kong if he’s not here.

We have got so used to Mr. Leung’s absences that barely a voice has been raised questioning this trip.

However, can you imagine what would have happened in Britain had the prime minister suddenly discovered urgent business abroad on the eve of the Scottish independence referendum?

The answer is simple: his credibility would have been reduced to tatters.

Maybe Mr. Leung’s credibility is already beyond repair, so he feels no shame in letting "Carrie-the-can Lam", his No. 2, do all the heavy lifting.

However his absence probably reveals more about the government’s real attitude toward the June 17 Legco vote than any amount of blabbering about how important it is.

Hong Kong officials have no monopoly on stupidity

Sometimes, the view from inside Hong Kong's bubble leads us to believe that we have uniquely stupid and incompetent officials, but the bar is set high for government incompetence and stupidity around the world.

So Hong Kong can breathe a sigh of relief that it does not have a leader quite as obnoxious as Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi, who recently visited his Bangladeshi counterpart, Sheikh Hasina, and declared that, "despite being a woman", she had sound views on tackling terrorism.

Thankfully, sexism has been entirely eliminated throughout the People’s Republic of China.

I’m sure I read that in a white paper somewhere.

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Hong Kong-based journalist, broadcaster and book author