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June, 2012:

Q&A: Hong Kong’s New Leader Is a Divisive Figure, but Aims to Build Bridges

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Hong Kong Chief Executive elect Leung Chun-ying leaves the government headquarter’s after a meeting with Chief Executive Donald Tsang in Hong Kong on March 26, 2012

Leung Chun-ying, often referred to as C.Y. Leung, is Hong Kong’s incoming Chief Executive. It’s a pressure cooker of a role that puts him at the helm of the freest and most international city of the world’s most populous nation, during times of economic uncertainty to boot. The 57-year-old former surveyor faces a daunting task. Immense income inequality, ruinously high property prices, an entrenched business oligarchy and a sophisticated population that aspires to greater political participation than the present system allows for: these are just some of the issues and stumbling blocks that could thwart his stated aim of bringing greater prosperity, equality and social cohesion to a feisty, semiautonomous region of 7 million. And he must do it under the scrutiny of both Beijing’s unblinking gaze and Hong Kong’s notoriously cutthroat press.

Leung’s humble beginnings — he is a police constable’s son — have endeared him to large sections of the Hong Kong community, but there are many who resent his close ties to Beijing and he has even been accused of being a crypto-communist. He is also embroiled in a scandal over unauthorized alterations to his luxury home on Victoria Peak, reports of which first surfaced in local press on June 19. Residential refurbishments may not sound like the stuff of political controversy, but when Leung’s poll rival Henry Tang confessed, at the height of his campaign, to illegal modifications to his home, it cost him the trust of a public that demands its leaders abide by the same onerous red tape as everyone else. Although Leung’s renovations were not as substantial as Tang’s, their existence is seen as a baffling lapse of judgment on Leung’s part, and critics are already calling for his resignation.

(SPECIAL: Hong Kong 1997-2007)

In an exclusive interview with TIME’s Zoher Abdoolcarim, Liam Fitzpatrick, Joe Jackson and Vanessa Ko, which took place on June 5, this often divisive figure reveals his plans for greater harmony.

What are the three things Hong Kong needs most?
Community building, a broader outlook on the future and a slightly more proactive role of government in economic development. I want to build the community across the various social strata, and also across the various ethnic groups. That would be the first thing. Secondly, we must put short-termism behind us. We have never looked long term — never in the history of Hong Kong. We must ask ourselves [for future generations], What should the coastline and topography of Hong Kong look like? Reclamation, opening up the countryside, infrastructural projects, community facilities, so on. We should start doing that kind of planning. Thirdly, my government will adopt a progrowth policy, to the extent of investing in enterprises. We should use a small part of our fiscal reserves to kick-start certain industries. We also need to make social investments. We need to plan for Hong Kong as an aging society in 10 or 20 years time. Another form of social investment would be cleaning up the environment.

You talk about building a community, but surely Hong Kong already has a sense of community?
Unlike other British colonies — ex-colonies — we did not become a new nation. And therefore there wasn’t a new national identity. There wasn’t a new citizenship. But I think Hong Kong needs to pull everyone together so that we do have this community spirit and that we share in a common fate, a common destiny.

Big business is concerned about interventionist government. What would you say to them to reassure them?
My policies are aimed at facilitating growth of Hong Kong’s overall economy for the benefit of both big and small to medium-size enterprises. I’m not trying to tip the playing field in favor of any group.

Does more affordable housing play a role in your vision of a more equitable society?
More affordable and more comfortable. The average unit size is too small to match Hong Kong’s state of economic development, and people are crying out for more elbow room. It applies not just to our housing stock. It applies to our workplaces. It applies to our hospitals, schools and so on. We have a very low standard of space per capita. Everywhere you look, people are crying out for more space.

(MORE: Hong Kong’s Non-Election: A ‘Rotten’ System on Show)

There is a sense among some sectors of society that under you freedoms are going to be curbed in Hong Kong — that you are a stalking horse for China. Tell us what your response is.
I’d like to prove people who are apprehensive about me and my government wrong again, much in the same way as they have been proved wrong in the last 15 years. Before 1997, some people were publicly claiming that they would be put behind bars [after the resumption of Chinese sovereignty], or not be allowed to return if they left. Some people even feared that certain books or magazines would not be read in Hong Kong and that the Chinese government would somehow monitor the Internet. They’ve been proved wrong, and I can prove them wrong again.

Under Article 23 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong is required to enact antisubversion legislation, which critics say will curb freedoms. Do you intend to see this legislation through?
We need general acceptance in Hong Kong before any law enacted in accordance with Article 23 has any meaning. It’s not on my agenda.

How do you make the bridge between Hong Kong and China stronger?
I coined a phrase some 16 or 17 years ago, nei jiao. It means internal diplomacy. If we were a country, which we are not, China would be the single most important element in our foreign policy architecture. It would be even more important than Malaysia is to Singapore. But we are not an independent country, and therefore this is not foreign relations; it is internal diplomacy. In our interface with the mainland, many things are conducted like they are conducted in foreign relations. The relationship must be a managed relationship. [At present] we are not doing this internal diplomacy properly. We need to start with the [mainland Chinese] people to explain Hong Kong’s case to them, and Hong Kong’s role in the country.

What is Hong Kong’s role within China?
We are still a model in ways economic and noneconomic. When I say things noneconomic, I would include governance — and rule of law is a key element. Many, I sincerely believe they tell the truth, say that they still look to Hong Kong for inspiration.

Why is it that there’s a certain section of society that, no matter what you do or say, does not trust you and even fears you? How are you going to win them over?
I shall do more reaching out, do more open communication. It is important. I can’t shake the hands of everyone in Hong Kong and I can’t speak face to face, eye to eye with everyone, but I shall try to do my very best. Why? Two things. Hong Kong people have always had, and for good historical reasons, a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to their political leaders. Secondly, perhaps people see me as not a typical Hong Kong person. In my early days, as a young graduate, I spent most of my spare time running up and down the country giving lectures for free, paying for my own train fares, airfares to share what I had learned. [I’m] not a member of the Communist Party, but I’ve spoken at Communist Party cadre schools, talking to mayors and ministers about land and housing matters and how free-market forces allocate the use of land and housing. I’m also not typical in the way that I don’t have a foreign passport and never have. I never left Hong Kong — never emigrated, never looked to emigrate — and all my three children were born in Hong Kong. All these are not typical for someone of my background.

(MORE: Trouble Down South: Why Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese Aren’t Getting Along)

Low-income people tend to like you or at least want to give you a chance. Members of the elite seem to be more distrustful. Is it because you are the son of a policeman?
I hope not. Many people in the elite group still don’t believe in statistics. They don’t believe that we have abject poverty in Hong Kong. They don’t believe that half of the workforce in Hong Kong earns no more than 11,000 Hong Kong dollars a month [$1,400]. When I was supporting legislating for a minimum wage using facts and figures, many people in the elite said, “C.Y., the figures must be wrong because I don’t know anyone who earns less than $10,000.” The so-called elite in Hong Kong has what we call “Central District values,” and I think Hong Kong would do a lot better if everyone could just travel out a bit and see how, not just the other half, but probably the other 75%, lives.

If you had to name one single thing in your background that drives you, could you?
We were living in policemen’s married quarters in 1966. My father was turning 65, and a few years before that we came to realize that as soon as he retired, we would have to move out of the quarters. And public-housing policy at that time was such that retired officers were not allowed to apply for public housing. So there were two options. One was to hang on for as long as we could and protest against the eviction, which most of my neighbors did. And the other option was to fend for ourselves. My mother mobilized the entire family, and we worked around the clock at home piecing together plastic flowers and toys. I was 10 or 11 in those days, and I carried packs of materials back home from the factory — a 20- or 25-minute walk as a young boy. Nowadays it’s called child labor. But the family made as much as my father’s salary, which was 300 Hong Kong dollars a month [nearly $40 in today’s exchange rate]. So by the time my father retired, we had enough money to pay for a small 450-sq.-ft. unit in [the once largely working-class district of] Kennedy Town. My father’s colleagues marched up to Government House to petition for their housing needs. We didn’t do that. [We were] self-reliant.

What would you be doing if you weren’t Chief Executive?
I’d probably be somewhere in England now, where my children are — we have three children, all at university, the eldest doing Ph.D. research in stem cells, two others doing their first degree. My wife’s in England, she goes there a lot because home is where the children are. She’s a lawyer by training. But two years ago, a junction suddenly appeared on the road. I was working at this professional consultancy looking after the Asia-Pacific region. And they said, “C.Y., we’d like you to take over and be the next chairman of the board of a global company.” Tempting. I would probably have a bachelor flat somewhere in London and I would buy a small working farm somewhere in the West Country, and I’d work Monday to Friday in London and spend time on the farm with the family on weekends. Heaven on earth. But if I turned into that junction, it would be — as far as my public service in Hong Kong is concerned — the point of no return. So I made the decision [to run for office]. It was the call of duty.

What is the most challenging issue facing the Hong Kong government?
Disengagement with the people. People are disenfranchised because they don’t vote, they are disengaged because we don’t talk to them, and we don’t listen, not directly. There is a sense of being disowned, and therefore, there’s a deep sense of distrust between the people and the government, or by the people of government. I want to bridge that gap and I want to re-engage with the people.

Isn’t it ironic that a sometimes divisive figure has been tasked with healing a divided city?
It’s a fair point. It’s a very good way of putting it. But we have to start somewhere.

PHOTOS: Hong Kong: What’s Changed, What Hasn’t

Related Topics: Chief ExecutiveChinahong kongLeung Chun-ying. interviewChina

Read more:

Leung’s new cabinet announced

Lai Ying-kit
4:37pm, Jun 28, 2012

The central government announced the line-up of Leung Chun-ying’s cabinet on Thursday, three days before he takes office as Hong Kong’s chief executive.

Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, 55, will become chief secretary, second in command in Leung’s administration, while John Tsang Chun-wah, 61, will stay on as financial secretary. Their appointments to those posts have been widely anticipated.

Former Bar Association chairman Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung, 48, will become secretary for justice.

The appointments were made to the existing cabinet structure. Nobody was named for the new positions Leung is trying to create: two new deputy secretaries and two new bureaus chiefs.

Some current cabinet members will retain their positions, including: Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen, 48; Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Professor Chan Ka-keung, 55; Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung, 53; Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, 61; and Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing.

Secretary for the Environment Edward Yau Tang-wah will become director of the Chief Executive’s Office.

Undersecretary for security Lai Tung-kwok, 60, will take over as secretary for security.

New faces among policy bureau chiefs include Dr Ko Wing-man, 55, as secretary for food and health, and veteran architect Wong Kam-sing, 49, as environment minister. Ko is a former Hospital Authority official.

Discussing the new cabinet members, Leung said their experience and dedication would help him implement his policies efficiently.

He pledged that his administration would heed public views, starting with a community visit by him and chief secretary Carrie Lam on July 2.

“Each of them has an outstanding performance record in their own area and they share the same goals and ideals with me,” Leung said. “I am confident we together can achieve our goal, that is, to seek change with prudence while maintaining overall stability.”

Leung said he would try to get his cabinet revamp plan passed by the Legislative Council soon, to help him better implement his policies. The plan suggests creating two policy bureaus and two new deputy secretaries.

Lam said she would help Leung carry out his policy blueprint and deal with tasks such as co-ordinating work among different policy bureaus and leading the civil service. Her experience as director of social welfare, she said, helped her grasp livelihood issues facing underprivileged groups and to reach out to them.

John Tsang said the focus of his coming five years as financial secretary would be on maintaining a balanced budget for Hong Kong, boosting the economy and refining the housing and lands policy to maintain a healthy property market.

Rimsky Yuen pledged that, as secretary for justice, he would exhaust all the options within Hong Kong’s legal framework before asking Beijing for an interpretation of the Basic Law. On the controversial anti-subversion bill, Article 23 of the Basic Law, Yuen said it was not on his work plan because Hong Kong was facing many other issues in economic and domestic areas.

Yuen acknowledged that his membership in Guangdong’s Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference had raised public concern over his neutrality as justice secretary. He has resigned from the position, he said.

Other appointments include:

  • Secretary for education: Eddie Ng Hak-kim, 59, currently chairman of the Examinations and Assessment Authority.
  • Secretary for development: Mak Chai-kwong, 62, the former highways chief.
  • Secretary for transport and housing: Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, 60, Executive Council member.
  • Secretary for civil service: Paul Tang Kwok-wai, 56, currently permanent secretary for labour and welfare.
  • Commissioner of police: Andy Tsang Wai-hung, 54, will continue in the post.
  • Director of immigration: Eric Chan Kwok-ki, 53, keeps the post.
  • Commissioner of Customs and Excise: Clement Cheung Wan-ching, 50, retains the position.
  • Commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption: Simon Peh Yun-lu, 57, former immigration director.
  • Director of audit. David Sun Tak-kei, 59, former chairman and managing partner of Ernst & Young.

Clear the Air says:

Normally, someone who totally failed in his job and visited overseas 59 times in 60 months at public expense whilst his portfolio, the local stagnant stinking air and environment worsened, should be fired . Like his stupid incinerator idea.

It seems CY Leung now wants this same person running his office.


E(12/1466) Euro 6 subsidy by Dutch Govt (HKG still has Euro II and III polluting bus trash on its roads)

—–Original Message—–
From: []
Sent: 26 June, 2012 09:18
To: James Middleton
Subject: Fw: E(12/1466) Euro 6 subsidy by Dutch Govt (HKG still has Euro II
and III polluting bus trash on its roads)

Dear Mr. Middleton,

Thank you for your suggestion.

As franchised buses are one of the major sources of roadside air pollution
at busy corridors, in the 2010-11 Policy Address the Chief Executive
announced that the Government plans to designate pilot low-emission zones
(LEZs) in busy districts such as Causeway Bay, Central and Mong Kok. We
will increase as far as possible the ratio of low-emission franchised buses
running in these zones from 2011, with the target of having only
low-emission buses in these zones by 2015.  Upon the Government’s request,
the relevant franchised bus companies have deployed low-emission buses to
routes serving the pilot LEZs as far as practicable since 2011.

As regards the trial of hybrid bus, in the 2010-11 Policy Address, the
Chief Executive announced that the Government will fund the full cost of
procuring six hybrid buses for use by the franchised bus companies along
busy corridors to test the operational efficiency and performance of these
buses under Hong Kong conditions and to collect operational data.  The
franchised bus companies are now in the process of procuring suitable
hybrid buses and the buses will be put on road for trial in early 2014.

Electric buses do not have tailpipe emissions.  Replacing conventional
franchised buses with electric buses can substantially improve roadside air
quality, particularly along busy corridors.  It is the Government’s
ultimate policy objective to have zero emission buses running across the
territory.  Further to trial of hybrid buses, the Chief Executive proposed
in his Policy Address last October to earmark $180 million for franchised
bus companies to purchase 36 electric buses for trial runs on a number of
routes to assess their performance in different conditions.  We are now
seeking funding from the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council for
the trial of electric buses by the franchised bus companies.

As for existing buses, the Government is conducting a trial together with
the franchised bus companies on retrofitting Euro II and III franchised
buses with selective catalytic reduction devices to reduce their nitrogen
oxides emissions.  Together with the diesel particulate filters already
installed on the buses, this could upgrade the emission performance of the
buses to the level of Euro IV or V buses.  Subject to satisfactory trial
results, we will fully fund the retrofit of the devices on Euro II and III
buses, and bus companies will bear the subsequent operational and
maintenance costs.

Thank you for your concern on the environment.


Charles C.K. WU

Environmental Protection Officer

—– Forwarded by Paul KC WONG/EPD/HKSARG on 20/06/2012 09:31 —–

“James Middleton”    <>      To
19/06/2012 19:17                 <>
Subject    RE: E(12/1466) Euro 6   subsidy by Dutch Govt (HKG
still has Euro II and III
polluting bus trash on its roads)

Dear Paul
that is the wrong way round
Government could stipulate clean air zones for Nathan Rd , Central and
Causeway Bay very quickly, with political will, sadly lacking from this
lame duck administration and current pathetic minister for the

Make the law and the bus companies will comply, as simple as that, even
Donald Tsang’s brother at Citybus NWFB would  have to comply once his
brother vacates in 11 days and the new Minister actually does some work
instead of 60 overseas trips in 59 months away from Hong Kong, including
his last jaunt to Europe to visit a Scottish distillery with associated
hangers on , trips paid for from the public purse.

Meanwhile testing electric buses is pointless for HK’s terrain and aircon
needs – we need double deck hybrids like London where the small Euro 5
engine and the brakes charge the batteries.


From: []
Sent: 19 June, 2012 17:07
Cc: “E[KM]1″; “SI[KM]1″;
Subject: Fw: E(12/1466) Euro 6 subsidy by Dutch Govt (HKG still has Euro II
and III polluting bus trash on its roads)

Dear Mr. Middleton

Thank you for your email.

When we tighten the vehicle emission standards in Hong Kong, we will make
reference to the international practice and the availability of compliant
vehicle models in Hong Kong. Starting from June 2012, all newly registered
heavy duty vehicles including franchised buses in Hong Kong are required to
comply with Euro V emission standards. The European Union will implement
the Euro VI emission standards for heavy duty vehicle in phases starting
from 2013 and fully implement in 2014.  At the moment, there is no Euro VI
heavy duty vehicle available in Hong Kong. We will continue to monitor the
Euro VI vehicle model supply situation in Hong Kong and decide to introduce
the Euro VI emission standards in Hong Kong as soon as possible.

For franchised buses, as the latest commercially available models in Hong
Kong are Euro V buses at this stage, the franchised bus companies are
currently procuring Euro V buses for replacement.

Paul Wong
Assistant Environmental Protection Officer

—– Forwarded by EPD_Enquiry/EPD/HKSARG on 14/06/2012 14:48 —–


Dear James Middleton,

Thank you for your email dated 13.06.2012.

I would like to inform you that our colleagues are processing your request
and may need a few more days to come back to you.

Please let me know if you do not hear from us after about 5 working days.
Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Environmental Protection Department

“James Middleton” <>

13/06/2012 19:52                “EPD HKG” <>
E(12/1466) Euro 6 subsidy by Dutch Govt
(HKG still has Euro II and III polluting
bus trash on its roads)

Dear EPD,

We note that replacement buses in Hong Kong under franchise agreements must
be of the Best Available Current Technology.

Does Hong Kong have Euro 6 diesel ?

Are new diesel buses here mandated to be Euro 6 compliant, given the
projected lifetime of the vehicles  ?

If not why not ?

Yours sincerely,
James Middleton

Dutch subsidy for Euro VI trucks and buses In the Netherlands, heavy-duty
vehicles(trucks and buses) that meet the new Euro VI standards will be
subsidised by up to 4500 euro each in 2012 and 2013.
The Euro
VI standards will become mandatory for all new heavy-duty vehicles from
Tests by the Dutch environment consultancy TNO have shown that the new Euro
VI engines can reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) by more than
90 per cent in real driving conditions, as compared to Euro V and earlier
Eurostandard engines.
Source: Dutch government press release, 30 May 2012.

“The sulphur content of ship fuels will be cut to 0.1% from 2015 in the
Baltic Sea and the North

Sea, and to 0.5% from 2020 in other EU waters. As a result, emissions of
sulphur dioxide

from shipping in Europe will come down by more than 80 per cent.”

Hong Kong has no rules governing the use of  bunker fuel which varies
between 2.75 – 4+% sulphur ,

no Emissions Control Area legislation (ECA).

The local HKG Environmental Prevarication Department  passes the
responsibility to China to enact ECA legislation in Hong Kong waters

leaving only volunteer action by the Fairwinds Charter members to burn Low
Sulphur Diesel at anchor in HKG port.  Yet vehicular ULSD is rightly

limited to parts per million.

31% of HKG’s particulates and 25% of local NOx and Sox come from marine

Breath of fresh air sought in tackling delta pollution

Staff Reporter

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau are going to work together to try to improve air quality in the Greater Pearl River Delta region.

The three governments said in a joint statement yesterday that they have agreed on a plan to reduce polluting emissions in the region by 2020.

That includes pushing vessels calling at ports in the delta to use cleaner fuel.

But doubts remain about action, with one group questioning progress to date.

It was in October 2009 that the governments set about compiling the Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta (2008-2020). That was followed last September by three-month public consultations on their initial proposals.

The plan covers long-term co- operation in five major areas: environment and ecology, low-carbon development, culture and social activities, spatial planning and green transportation systems.

It also recommends strengthening regional cooperation on emission- reduction controls.

The grand plan goes on to suggest the joint promotion of low-carbon development by cooperating on a regional basis to combat climate change.

Kitty Poon Kit, undersecretary for the environment, pointed out yesterday this is the first plan compiled jointly by Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau, that aims to enhance the delta region’s competitiveness and attractiveness.

“The first regional plan jointly puts forward the vision of transforming the Greater PRD region into a low-carbon, high-technology and low-pollution city cluster of quality living,” she said.

Clean Air Network campaign officer Jenny Wong said the 10th meeting of the Hong Kong-Guangdong Joint Working Group on Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection in 2009 saw a study of 2011-2022 emission reduction targets being introduced.

Targets were expected to be set by 2010, she said, yet that remains to be done. And there was no mention of the targets in the plan released yesterday.

Wong also said the Progress Report of Measures under the PRD Regional Air Quality Management Plan – released in January – stated that Hong Kong has already met the 2010 emission reduction targets.

But Hong Kong’s air quality was far from achieving a standard that protected public health, she said.

“In other words, should the 2011-2020 emission reduction targets be based on the lax 2010 emission levels, the targets will have little efficacy in improving Hong Kong’s current air quality situation.”

Tsang under fire for taking government wine


Jennifer Ngo 
Jun 24, 2012

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen may be in trouble again, with local media accusing him of pocketing gifts given to the government, including boxes of Chinese wine and spirits worth more than HK$1 million.

Chinese-language media reported that among goods being moved on Thursday from Government House – where Tsang lives and works – to his new former chief executive’s office on Kennedy Road, were wines, including boxes of mao-tai spirit, worth more than HK$1 million and belonging to the government.

This is not the first scandal to hit him in the past few months. It was revealed that Tsang, who will be stepping down from his post on July 1, accepted trips on tycoons’ yachts and private planes, and stayed in presidential suites on an official overseas trip to Brazil using public funds, just months before retirement. He was faulted for lavish spending and inappropriate action, for which he has publicly apologised.

The Chief Executive’s Office confirmed that the boxes of mao-tai were a gift from the central government to the Hong Kong government five years ago, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the handover. Tsang’s office said the wine and spirits were strictly for use when entertaining guests, and still the property of the government, not Tsang.

Vice-chairwoman of the Democrats Emily Lau Wai-hing said the alcohol should not be moved if it belonged to the government, and asked why it was going to the new office.

“The government needs to explain its actions here quickly,” added independent legislator Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun.

Coca-Cola Tells Sodastream ‘Stop Using Our Garbage Against Us’

Ian Muttoo/CC BY-SA 2.0

In today’s corporate nonsense, Forbes reports Coca-Cola South Africa has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Sodastream, the Israel-based maker of home carbonation units and soda-making products.

At issue is Sodastream’s collection of disposable cans and bottles, from a variety of beverage makers, and displaying them in promotional “cages” to demonstrate how much less waste is created by making your own soda or sparking water.

These cages have been used in more than 20 exhibits around the world, with a text reading “1 Family. 5 Years. 10,657 bottles and cans.”

The letter from Coca-Cola’s lawyers concludes that Sodastream is using “our client’s trade marks in a manner intended to disparage them, while competing with our client’s products…your conduct amounts to unlawful competition under the common law.”

Sodastream CEO Daniel Birnbaum is rightly non-too-pleased:

If they claim to have rights to their garbage, then they should truly own their garbage, and clean it up. … We find it incredulous that Coke is now re-claiming ownership of the billion of bottles and cans that litter the planet with their trademarks… they should be sued in the World Court for all of the damage their garbage is causing.

Here, here. Even if, just like in Sodastream’s cages, it’s not just Coke’s bottles and cans that are the problem. You can’t just single out Coke for being the problem here, it’s an entire culture of disposability.

Ultimately it does seem like Coke wants it both ways: Disclaiming responsibility for ownership of cans and bottles when littering is concerned or there is a suggestion, as Lloyd has suggested many-a-time here on TreeHugger, that beverage manufacturers should be legally required to take back their bottles and cans, but then saying they own them, via intellectual property and trademarks, when the same waste product is used against them.

Even if the law comes down against Sodastream on this one—and I could see that happening—common sense clearly favors Sodastream, especially as Coke is not being singled out. Sodastream is holding all disposable beverage containers up to the same ridicule here. If Sodastream were saying something positive about all those cans no doubt Coca Cola wouldn’t have a problem with it.

Waste disposal

yet biology professor JWC Wong is leading, at public subvented expense, a trip to Taiwan to see…………… incinerators


Waste Disposal Act,

Mandatory recycling


Currently there are 24 incinerators operating in

Taiwan, and they receive 60 percent of the nation’s

municipal solid waste and 40 percent of its industrial

waste. Nonetheless, since 2004 the incinerators have

been facing a shortage of materials to burn as well

as problems due to community complaints about the

emissions. The three incinerators in Taipei had

to cut their operations by half, at least partly

because there were not enough materials to


Furthermore, the government promotion of

ash “recycling” in construction and pavement work

represents a serious environmental liability in Taiwan,

given that many toxics remain in those ashes. Since

many companies are not willing to use the ash in their

own pavement, and there is not enough storage space,

the ash is often spread in places like farms, posing a

huge environmental threat.

Thanks to the community’s passionate

resistance to waste incineration, Taiwan has not fully

implemented its original plan to build many new

burners, and the amount of waste incinerated in the

country has remained fairly constant since 2002.

Download PDF : On the Road to Zero Waste

waste matters


Discusses incineration taxes across Europe: “Due to a lack of time series data on the change in the level of incineration taxes, it has not been possible to analyse the impact of the rate of incineration tax on the amount of MSW treated by incineration. There is a broad overall trend that higher incineration charges are generally associated with higher percentages of municipal waste being recycled and composted, indicating that higher incineration charges may help to push waste treatment up the waste hierarchy.”

2. – M Sponar. 10th May 2012. Overview of measures leading to a better enforcement of waste legislation and alignment of EU funds with the waste hierarchy.

Michel Sponar was speaking on behalf of the European Commission, Director General for the Environment, when in slide 10 – Economic Instruments Sponar refers to incineration taxes and bans. Slide 12 features a graph of incineration taxes/fees (cost) against recycling rates.

3. – A resource-efficient Europe. European Parliament resolution of 24 May 2012 on a resource-efficient Europe (2011/2068(INI)).

Calls for an end to the incineration of recyclable and compostable material by the end of the decade and revised 2020 recycling targets.

See also UKWIN article at for more details.

As the new National Waste Management Plan in England  is imminent (ie before the year 3000) , it is worth noting that in May 2012 Sweden published their waste plan for 2012-2017 (“From Waste Management to Resource Management”) and it is available from:

If anyone knows Swedish if would be helpful if they could translate any interesting sections. The following have been adapted from Google’s effort.

“Tillsammans med utbyggnaden av fjärrvärme har skatten på deponering av avfall och deponeringsförbuden medfört att deponeringen minskat och energiutnyttjandet av avfall ökat. Sedan 2010 är kapaciteten för förbränning av avfall i Sverige större än tillgängliga avfallsmängder. Denna situation har lett till lägre mottagningsavgifter vid förbränningsanläggningarna. Det har därmed blivit förhållandevis billigt att förbränna avfallet jämfört med att materialåtervinna det.”

Translation: Along with the expansion of district heating, the tax on waste disposal and landfill bans have resulted in decreased landfill and increased energy recovery/utilisation. Since 2010, the capacity for waste incineration in Sweden exceed available amounts of waste. This situation has led to lower gate fees at the incineration plants. It has thus become relatively inexpensive to incinerate the waste compared to recycling it.

“Det finns överkapaciteten på förbränning av avfall i Sverige. Låga mottagningsavgifter på avfall till förbränning minskar incitamenten för att sortera ut avfall till materialåtervinning.”

Translation: There is overcapacity in the incineration of waste in Sweden. Low gate fees for waste for incineration reduces the incentives for users to sort the waste for recycling.

“Insamlingskostnaderna är ett hinder för ökad utsortering av matavfall. Det är idag billigare att samla in avfallet till förbränning. Det beror främst på att kostnaderna blir högre vid separat insamling. Vidare har ottagningsavgifterna vid förbränningsanläggningarna sänkts. Det beror dels på att örbränningsskatten tagits bort, men även att konkurrensen om avfallet ökat, vilket pressat ned priserna.”

Translation: Collection costs are a barrier to increased diversion of food waste. Today, it is cheaper to collect the waste for incineration. This is mainly due to higher costs for separate collection. Furthermore, gate fees at the incineration plants have been reduced. This is partly due to the removal of the incineration tax, but is also because competition for the waste is increased and this brought down prices.

Handover party to go with bang worth $8m

click to see what’s in fireworks, like dioxins etc, but soon the public, not only Jesus, will be able to walk on our ‘fragrant harbour’
Handover party to go with bang worth $8m

The night sky above Victoria Harbour will be lit by 50,000 fireworks on July 1 to mark the 15th anniversary of the handover.

Phoebe Man

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The night sky above Victoria Harbour will be lit by 50,000 fireworks on July 1 to mark the 15th anniversary of the handover.

Nine skyscrapers will take part in a pyrotechnics show to beef up the main 23-minute display that begins at 8pm.

The fireworks, to be fired from five barges, will cost HK$8 million.

To make sure everyone knows it’s the 15th birthday of the SAR, the number 15 in Chinese characters will appear 24 times in the first section of the display.

Wilson Mao Wai-shing, of Pyromagic Multimedia Productions, said the specially designed “HK 15” will appear alongside bauhinias and rain brocade willows.

The pyrotechnics display will link nine towers, from the Sun Hung Kai Centre in Wan Chai, to Jardine House in Central.

The others include Central Plaza, Hopewell Centre, Harcourt House, CITIC Tower, Queensway Government Offices, Cheung Kong Center, and the HSBC Main Building.

Owing to the inauguration of the new government on the same day, Chinese General Chamber of Commerce chairman Jonathan Choi Koon-shum said the last scene of the show will be called Scale New Heights.

Dandelions, red suns and red waves will crackle in profusion, and be shown with a Putonghua song, A Better Tomorrow, to signify the hope of a more prosperous SAR under the new administration.

“Had it not been the start of a new government, the fireworks display would have been on a smaller scale,” Choi said.

“The fireworks display can be seen as a present to the new government and all Hongkongers.”

Meanwhile, the head of Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong, Peng Qinghua, said “isolated conflicts” between the SAR and the mainland should not be exaggerated.

Speaking to Xinhua News Agency, Peng said a fuss should not be made about economic, legal and cultural differences between the two places.

He said they should seek common ground and exercise mutual respect to solve problems.

Asked if measures such as the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement may be seen as presents from Beijing, Peng said to some extent they are, although they are also necessary for mainland development.

Peng said while Hong Kong is facing new challenges – and deep-rooted problems 15 years on from the end of British rule – it has numerous opportunities to turn crises into opportunities.

He believes the economy will continue to progress as long as the SAR seeks changes while maintaining overall stability, as proposed by the new government under Leung Chung-ying.

Misconduct in Public Office

Clear the Air says: she is wrong, yet again which is probably why CY Leung does not want her. Misconduct in public office , a common law offence, does apply to Tsang , and Henry Tang also, unless the two did not hold public office and were not paid from Government funds ?

Misconduct in Public Office


Misconduct in public office is an offence at common law triable only on indictment. It carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. It is an offence confined to those who are public office holders and is committed when the office holder acts (or fails to act) in a way that constitutes a breach of the duties of that office.

The Court of Appeal has made it clear that the offence should be strictly confined. It can raise complex and sometimes sensitive issues. Prosecutors should therefore consider seeking the advice of the Principal Legal Advisor to resolve any uncertainty as to whether it would be appropriate to bring a prosecution for such an offence.

Definition of the offence

The elements of the offence are summarised in Attorney General’s Reference No 3 of 2003 [2004] EWCA Crim 868 (‘AG Ref No 3’).

The offence is committed when:

    • a public officer acting as such
    • wilfully neglects to perform his duty and/or wilfully misconducts himself
  • to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust in the office holder
  • without reasonable excuse or justification

Read the Legal opinion

read what the ICAC says

Civil service chief faults Tsang for accepting gifts

But Denise Yue, who played role in Leung Chin-man’s job fiasco, says anti-graft rules leave boss in the clear

Tanna Chong 
Jun 21, 2012

The outgoing secretary for the civil service yesterday called Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen’s acceptance of gifts from tycoons “misconduct”, but said her boss had not broken any rules because none applied to him.

Denise Yue Chung-yee’s remarks came in response to a question at a farewell media session about the recent uproar over Tsang’s rides on private yachts and jets and his bargain deal to rent a luxury penthouse in Shenzhen.

The scandals have exposed gaps in the anti-graft law, which currently does not apply to the chief executive. An independent commission to review the situation chaired by former chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang said earlier this month that the exception was “totally inappropriate”.

“I agree [Tsang’s dealings] were misconduct,” Yue said. “But he did not violate any rule since there was no mechanism whatsoever until Andrew Li Kwok-nang proposed one.”

Yue, who turns 60 in October, will end 38 years of government service on July 1, when she and Tsang leave to make way for the administration of chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying.

Reflecting on the Tsang case, Yue recalled the conflict of interest controversy row surrounding her decision in 2008 to let former housing chief Leung Chin-man work for a developer with whom he had official dealings. She called the case “a milestone” that taught her a lesson.

In 2004, Leung Chin-man, who was then housing director, played a key role in the sale of a government housing estate to a subsidiary of New World Development at a discount. After retiring four years later, he drew fire when the company gave him a job, a move some saw as a deferred reward for helping the sale.

The scandal led last year to restrictions on post-civil-service employment for government officials. Yue said it was important for government officials to avoid both real and perceived conflicts of interest.

“Apparently there was a gap between my balance and public perception between an individual’s right to work and public interests,” said Yue, who has been leading the city’s 160,000 civil servants since January 2006. “It was a milestone and I learnt my lesson.”

Yue said what she would miss most after retirement was the sense of satisfaction she got from her job, but joked about her retirement plans.

“Maybe I will regain that sense of satisfaction by watching early-bird movies, which are offered at a discount,” Yue said.

Yue has no plans to take up a paid job herself. “Even if I do you do not have to worry about me. I can recite the post-service rules to its last word.”