The shame of 1/5 HK people living in poverty
Updated: Feb 1
Hong Kong (HK) needs a 'Universal Basic Income' which all HK Permanent Residents receive of HK$8,000/ month. Such a figure would stimulate consumption and economic growth as well as ensure the 'well being' of HK people.
With US$442billion HK has the world's 7th largest reserves! So why do we have more than 20% of HK people living in poverty? The HK Public Purse belongs to HK people - spend it on HK people NOT on digging holes and moving dirt to benefit the Landlords and CCP construction companies!
The conservative estimate is that 1/5 of HK people are living in poverty - and likely the number is much higher! The HK government blames protesters instead of solving the poverty problem! HK government is providing financial relief to some businesses but not direct to pay HK people to stay home; poverty is a major issue in HK and under CCP's sourced and spread COVID-19, problems are getting worse in the SAR!
The real 'poverty' in Hong Kong (HK) is in the minds and hearts of the totalitarian Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their minions the HK elites who see only their own selfish interests and who are unable and unwilling to participate with anyone else. This is because HK, like China, remains a feudal Han Chinese plutocracy. World is paying for Xi's autocracy!
The majority of HK people, in a classic communist style case of 'structural violence', are oppressed and abused by CCP and HK elites: this under UN CAT treaty amounts to 'torture.' It's time to charge CCP and HK government officials with 'genocide' against HK people!
CCP is unable to manage China or HK because it is a criminal organization that adds no value - it only takes value away from everything making the 'costs' too high. The problems always come back to CCP. (See references below).
HK is not a democracy despite its international treaty obligations under the Joint Declaration. HK protesters are demanding the CCP and HK government uphold the Joint Declaration and their UN obligations.
By the end of the 1970's roughly 2/3rds of HK's population were refugees from China who were escaping from the CCP in waves starting after WWII and later starting in 1967 during the Cultural Revolution. Now the fox is in charge of the chickens! The poor 'refugees' from mainland China living in HK are under attack again! HK city is ranked 114/173 because HK people are very unhappy! HK is NOT a happy place for far too many people.
Governance to international standards means that leading countries and their economies are democracies. Ultimately China and HK have no choice if they want to compete globally - they must also become democracies - so the only questions are when and how?
China has the world's largest population of 1.4billion, of whom 600 million earn 1,000Yuan (US$150) or less per month with a 2017 GDP/Capita world ranking of just 79th/189. HK ranked just ahead of USA in 12th. The CCP and the HK government have since the 1 July 1997 handover proven to be unable to govern HK.
The United Nations 'International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights' (ICESCR) is included in the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. Unlike the ICCPR which require 100% compliance the ICESCR is a progressive treaty that HK is required to comply with: HK does not comply with either the ICCPR or the ICESCR.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (from which ICCPR and ICESCR as treaties are derived) article 25 says:
"1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection."
The only way for HK to remain as an international trade and finance centre is for HK is to embrace and comply with its UN obligations including the Joint Declaration. To do otherwise will cause major problems for CCP, HK people and the international community who are also stakeholders in HK.
Without stability there is NO prosperity!
Every civil resistance movement in history is based on people no longer giving their "consent" to a monolithic power structure. the seeds of discontent have been sown by the sociopathic acts of the CCP and their minions, the HK elites!
Poverty is Hong Kong’s biggest shame｜Alex Price
AppleDaily 29 December 2020 (format added)
Visitors to Hong Kong are bedazzled by our sparkling skyscrapers and shiny shopping malls, all full of fancy fashion brands. At chic restaurants, tai-tais lunch with their friends, draped in Dior and Hermes. Sit outside a bar in Central or Wan Chai and you won’t have to wait 15 minutes before a Ferrari or Lamborghini goes growling past.
Hong Kong is dripping with money. We have over 60 US-dollar billionaires, and only the devil knows how many more millionaires. The government is sitting on USD442 billion in reserves – the seventh-highest in the world!
Yet the latest statistics show that 21.4 percent of people here are living in poverty – a rise of one percentage point over last year. And that figure is almost certainly an underestimate – officials have been long criticized for seasoning the statistics to make them less unpalatable. The government has blamed the increase on the recent protests that shook the city. And it may well be right – businesses were hurt and tourist numbers plunged.
But that is not the point. Forget arguing about the causes of a one-point rise or fall – the number of poor here is simply a shameful disgrace.
Recent administrations may well have exacerbated the problem, but they are not to blame for its root causes. The institutionalized rich-poor divide has been going on for decades – it existed way before the handover in 1997.
The colonial administrations did little to tackle poverty – with the possible exception of 1970s governor Murray MacLehose. But the situation has not improved under SAR governments. To make the scale of the disparity clear: in 2016 the median monthly household income of the top 10 per cent of Hong Kongers was 44 times the bottom 10 per cent. The poorest would have to work three years and eight months on average to earn what the richest made in a month. And nothing has changed.
There’s an old adage that if you’re not a socialist at 18 you have no heart, and if you’re not a capitalist at 30 you have no brain. Well I’m certainly not getting all Marx or Maduro, but inequality in Hong Kong is obscene and has caused people pain for far too long.
Government social allowances and the occasional cash hand-outs are just superficial sops – virtually no attempt has been made to get to the issues at the heart of the problem.
The government keeps saying it cannot spend too much on welfare because it needs to maintain “prudent fiscal policy” (i.e. keep all our money) in order to “prepare for a rainy day.”
Well the rainy day is already here. More than a fifth of the population now live in poverty.
These people need help. A tenth of the population are aged over 70 but many cannot enjoy retirement – they are still forced to work. Grandmothers collect cardboard and cans for recycling to make ends meet. These people need help.
The Mandatory Provident Fund, set up in the mid-90s, may be seen as a step in the right direction, but frankly, it’s a joke. In order to enjoy a happy retirement, workers need to put so much of their income into the fund they cannot enjoy their lives now.
Yet every administration has refused to create a meaningful welfare system, while at the same time saying they are improving the situation. In 2014 government officials – including the then-chief secretary Carrie Lam – patted themselves on the back for the “record low” number of citizens living in poverty. That “record low” was 1.3 million people.
Hong Kongers are famously hard-working and resilient. People do not complain if their luck is down. But that does not mean they or their hardships can be overlooked – especially in these difficult times.
So what can be done about this problem? How can we have a bright, shiny Hong Kong full of entrepreneurs and millionaires but without a fifth of the population living in poverty?
It’s unlikely that there is a single simple answer – a “magic bullet”. It is a complex problem that requires a serious rethink about how Hong Kong conducts itself. But one part of any solution must surely be a redistribution of wealth by having heavier – and enforced – taxes on the rich and super-rich.
As it stands, dividends from shares are not taxed here. And that is where most of the “high net worth” folk get their cash. A former banker friend of mine suggested taxing assets rather than income – but the rich would simply move their assets into offshore accounts.
Whichever way you look at it, the rich are too rich and the poor are too poor. It is unconscionable that billionaires can continue to make so much money from the city while so many of its citizens live in squalor.
Do we really want to live in such an unfair society?
(Alex Price is a journalist who has lived and worked in Hong Kong for over 30 years.)
Beijing’s actions don’t inspire love of country
Eijinsight 31 December 2020 by Michael Chugani (format added)
Opposition politicians are likely breathing a temporary sigh of relief. Local media had widely reported the National People’s Congress Standing Committee would discuss a major overhaul of Hong Kong’s political system to neutralize the opposition during its five-day meeting which ended last Saturday.
That didn’t happen.
Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong’s sole delegate to the NPCSC, insisted the issue wasn’t on the agenda. But not being on the agenda doesn’t necessarily mean media reports of a political overhaul were just fake news.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
The media would not have otherwise widely reported an overhaul. Beijing was clearly shocked when the opposition – helped by public anger and city-wide protests against the government’s extradition bill – won a landslide in last year’s district council elections.
Voters showed their rage against Beijing and Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor by handing pro-government candidates a humiliating defeat. The central government would not want such humiliation in future elections.
That’s why I believe Beijing must be thinking hard to prevent the opposition from influencing and dominating future elections, including Legislative Council elections and the selection of the chief executive. An overhaul of the political system is the only way.
It will come when Beijing has considered all its options.
It was the same with the national security law. Beijing had secretly drafted the law ahead and surprised everyone, including top government officials and the establishment camp, by imposing it on Hong Kong late last June without any public consultation. Even Lam seemed to have been caught off guard.
There’s now talk the political overhaul could be on the agenda in March when the full National People’s Congress meets.
News reports had said Beijing plansto disqualify opposition district councilors or change the system so they won’t have a kingmaker role in the 2022 chief executive election.
Reports had also said it will do away with the five so-called super seats in the Legislative Council reserved for district councilors who compete in Legco elections. The seats were created in 2012, following a compromise political reform deal between Beijing and the Democratic Party. The opposition won three of the five seats in both the 2012 and 2016 Legco elections.
District councilors have 117 seats in the 1,200-seat Election Committee that selects the chief executive. In the past, pro-government councilors had most of these seats. By winning 392 out of 452 district council seats in last year’s elections, opposition district councilors are now in a strong position to capture all 117 district council seats in the Election Committee.
That would give them a kingmaker role in the 2022 chief executive election, the last thing Beijing wants. By overhauling the district council system or disqualifying opposition councilors, Beijing can kill the influence of the opposition in the 2022 chief executive election. It can also reduce the influence of the opposition by scrapping the five Legco super seats.
If it does that, not only Hong Kong people but also the international community would condemn such a drastic move to silence the opposition, which won the votes of almost 1.7 million, or 57 percent, of registered voters compared with the pro-Beijing camp’s 1.2 million.
Overhauling the system or disqualifying opposition district councilors would be a slap in the face of 1.7 million registered voters.
Tam Yiu-chung said many Hongkongers are unhappy with the performance of opposition district councilors. I don’t know how many he means by “many”, but surely only voters can decide if they are happy or unhappy with district councilors, not Beijing. If voters are unhappy, they can vote them out at the next election.
Beijing wants Hongkongers to be patriotic. Slapping voters in the face will have the opposite effect. Hong Kong people take their right to vote for granted. And they expect the government to respect the outcome.
It doesn’t matter how many times the national anthem is played on TV and radio. When people see Beijing overhauling a political system to weaken the power of their vote by ensuring they can’t influence or dominate future elections, it will make them less rather than more patriotic.
Lam had promised her now-dead extradition bill would guarantee open and fair trials for those sent back to the mainland.
Hongkongers have now seen what she meant by fair and open with the trial of the 12 young Hongkongers arrested at sea by the mainland while fleeing to Taiwan.
Their trial on Monday was anything but open. The media and foreign diplomats were barred from entering the court room. Even the families of the 12 were not allowed to enter. A mainland court yesterday jailed 10 of the 12 from between seven months and three years while two minors were sent back to Hong Kong. A harsh penalty for inadvertently entering mainland waters. The estimated two million who peacefully marched against the extradition bill have every right to feel vindicated.
My voice is just but one, if Beijing wants Hongkongers to love the country, it must start by listening to their voice instead of silencing them.
RFA 13 December 2020 'Poverty Alleviation: China's Anti-Poverty Drive in Sichuan Sparks Fears of Cultural Erosion (Part III)'
RFA 13 December 2020 'Poverty Alleviation: China's 'Anti-Poverty' Drives Leaves Mongolian Herders Out in Cold (Part II)'
RFA 13 December 2020 'Poverty Alleviation: China Forcing Tibetans Into Mass, Military-Style 'Training' Programs (Part I)'
RFA 27 October 2020 'Experts Question China’s Claim of ‘Victory’ in Anti-Poverty Drive in Tibet'
RFA 14 August 2020 'China Makes Claim to Doubling GDP in a Decade'
Above: Many low income and elderly people, and those with dependents live in so-called 'caged homes' or substandard and unsafe sub-divided accommodation. Mostly the HK government looks on and wrings its hands saying it is doing enough.