Christopher Ho: Lies of HKFS - 7 Mins and You'll Know What's Wrong With HKFS

Lies of HKFS
7 Mins and You'll Know What's Wrong With HKFS
Translated and written by Christopher Ho Quen-thai
(This article is an abridged English version of the two series of Debunking the Numerous Lies of HKFS published on VJMedia between February and April 2015.)

appointmentThe Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) has recently been under a wave of members’ withdrawal, triggered by its various mistakes committed during the Umbrella Revolution. The author came into notice in mid-February (when the Hong Kong University Students’ Union was having its referendum to decide whether to withdraw from HKFS) various financial irregularities of HKFS and one of its major sources of finance – H.K.F.S. Fund Limited, and has uncovered numerous pieces of fact regarding HKFS’s financial situation which has long been concealed. A few of them have been addressed and clarified by HKFS, but more remain unanswered. 

Background information
H.K.F.S. Fund Limited is a company limited by guarantee registered in Hong Kong. It was called “Hong Kong Student Travel Bureau Limited” before 1994. One of its major objectives is to finance HKFS by making to the latter regular donations. The company holds in total three land properties, two of which on trust for HKFS as the beneficiary (including the office of HKFS), and the remaining one an investment property which generates rental income to finance the donations. The investment property is presently valued at around HK$13 million.

All the dishonest statements and practices of HKFS are hereby listed out.

A) All the irregularities concerning H.K.F.S. Fund Limited are, contrary to HKFS’s allegation, not merely “administrative negligence”

1. Between 2004 and 2014 HKFS had, in rampant violation of its constitution, failed to appoint student directors into H.K.F.S. Fund Limited every year.
2. The power of the said appointment lies in HKFS’s Annual General Meeting and Representative Council, and has nothing to do with its administrative body, namely the secretariat.
3. The 50th Representative Council of HKFS allowed H.K.F.S. Fund Limited to reduce the amount of yearly donation to HKFS, which was abetting the company to breach its own articles governing the amount of donation payable every year.
4. The two “reports by student directors of H.K.F.S. Fund Limited” issued in January and February contains a list of member of the company’s board of directors which was inconsistent with the information shown in the Company Registry at that time. The lists in each of the two reports were also inconsistent with each other.
5. A public statement of HKFS issued in February which attempted to explain the irregularities concerning H.K.F.S. Fund Limited contains numerous factual errors, including the relationship between the company and HKFS, and the year in which the name of the company was changed.

B) Every promise of financial reform is empty and misleading
1. The root of the irregularities is HKFS’s rampant violation of its constitution by not appointing student directors into H.K.F.S. Fund Limited every year, instead of any structural or institutional problems which need reforms.
2. The reform promised in the public statement of HKFS issued in February has turned out to be only a two-page yearly report of the “student directors of H.K.F.S. Fund Limited” submitted in March to the HKFS Annual General Meeting, with plenty of errors and unexplained inconsistencies with previous reports, including
a. Error in the date,
b. Error in the names of the directors,
c. Unexplained change of directors not even reported to the Company Registry,  and 
d. Unexplained change of estimated value of the investment property, from HK$8.7 million in the February report to HK$13.4 million in the yearly report.
3. Ridiculously, the February report, which is inconsistent with the January report, and the yearly report, which is inconsistent with both the January and February reports, have been passed without objection in HKFS Representative Council and Annual General Meeting respectively. The Annual General Meeting consists of the entire membership of the Representative Council; in other words, in only one month the same group of supposed student representatives approved two inconsistent reports in which no explanation on the inconsistencies have ever been given. Notwithstanding any promise to reform, these constituting bodies of HKFS remain total rubber stamp.

C) HKFS has probably concealed the internal conflicts as regards H.K.F.S. Fund Limited

1. The membership of the board of directors as shown from company search is still not totally consistent with that alleged by HKFS, which probably reflects internal conflicts between HKFS and the company on the one hand, and among the directors of the company on the other hand. There may well be a dispute as to the validity of membership of certain people in the board of directors.
2. This inference of internal conflicts is also supported by the fact that H.K.F.S. Fund Limited has (in breach of its articles) stopped making donations to HKFS since 2011.
3. The origin of the problem is, after all, HKFS’s failure across 10 years to appoint student directors into H.K.F.S. Fund Limited to exercise its otherwise granted power of control over the company.

D) HKFS is still trying to conceal the facts concerning H.K.F.S. Fund Limited’s investment property

1. HKFS deliberately avoids mentioning the investment property in all of its public statements and Facebook posts which attempt to answer the concern of its financial irregularities.
2. The investment property was deliberately undervalued for millions of dollar in order to downplay its importance.
3. No tenancy agreements regarding the investment property has been registered with the Land Registry for more than 10 years, rendering most information of the rentals inaccessible by even members of HKFS.
4. Owing to the increase in rental income and the failure of H.K.F.S. Fund Limited to make donations since 2011, the company now has, according to its articles, more than HK$1 million payable to HKFS.




Written by Mak Heung-fai 麥向暉
Original: CityU Monthly 2015 April Edition

(English version will be available soon. Authorised to be shared by CityU SU Editorial Board.)

Photo Credit: 劉明堂, 何豪毅, 黃謙賢/Taiwan People News










英國乃剛柔並濟,積極拉攏、打壓、分化這種主體意識。中學教育上刻意省略思辨性的哲學、改歷史為選修課,核心課程又以英國史為主,至於有關中國者,別目「中國歷史科」,顯然是受1953中文科檢討委員會報告書(Report of the Chinese Studies Committee)中,對中史教學「不宜過多政治化」的指示影響,香港史之課程,甚至1998年始獲準納入世界史講授課程之一部份。英方此舉,力圖避免惹起港人過多的本土意識,或者意識形態上向中國靠攏,斯時大學教育,仍未普及,故不詳細交待(按:大抵50年代末的香港大學,斯有英人安德葛在歷史系講授開埠以後的香港史,羅香林在中文系之香港史課,則偏重於香港開埠前的歷史),總之,英國漸次改造香港的「歷史記憶」,淡化港人對香港主體意識的理解,相關之體察、考量,自然不成氣候。後來,70至80年代末,英方苦心孤詣下,香港經濟騰飛,卓然成為亞洲四小龍之首,置身紙醉金迷的氛圍,日日絲管,夜夜笙歌,主體意識,落得個無關痛癢。妄論之,現時中國對港的治術,蕭規曹隨,不過主導者由英方換成中方,課程增逸,全然倒置為國族主義為中心思想的論述而已。可憐香港,由始至終,都是「被敘述」,所以「存在」:以英國治民、中國人民的身份「存在」。徒然97回歸挨近、雨傘運動,港人才偶爾思索之。




Video Interview with Ventus Lau

HKCT Interview: Ventus Lau

*EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH VENTUS LAU*HKCT starts its first video interview with Ventus Lau from CUHK Local Society. He will talk about the impace of SUs' withdrawal from HKFS.
Posted by Hong Kong Columns - Translated on Saturday, 25 April 2015

Ventus Lau will be talking about the impact of SUs' withdrawal from Hong Kong Federation of Students.


Surya Deva: Students and Political Reforms: The Journey has Begun!

Students and Political Reforms: The Journey has Begun!
Written by Dr. Surya Deva
Dr. Surya Deva is an Associate Professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong. He specializes in business and human rights and comparative constitutional law.
Original: CityU Monthly April 2015 Edition

Should politics be part of the menu at universities? Should Hong Kong students be concerned about political reforms? 

Views may differ, but in my opinion the answer to both questions should be a definite yes, especially in the context of the current political climate in Hong Kong. Several reasons underpin this opinion. The first reason stems from the paradoxical nature of constitution making: a constitutional instrument (like the Basic Law) binds not only the generation that drafted it, but also future generations who had no say in its content. 

But why should the Basic Law bind the Hong Kong youth who were not even born when the Basic Law was adopted in April 1990? This paradox is resolved by giving future generations a right to amend constitutions – regarded as “living” documents – as and when necessary or even adopt a new constitution in certain situations. Therefore, students would need to assess whether the Basic Law meets their aspirations or not. History tells us that denying such a right to current/future generations often results in internal conflicts, coups and revolutions. The case of Hong Kong, despite being a special administrative region of China, is unlikely to be different.        

Second, although the Basic Law guarantees – until 2047 at least – a “high degree of autonomy”, various freedoms, the rule of law and the “way of life” are practiced by Hongkongers, yet the very institutions designed to safeguard these values are undermining them. The role played by the Hong Kong’s Chief Executive (CE) is a case in point. The CE takes an oath to uphold the Basic Law. In practice, however, Mr. CY Leung is doing little to uphold Hong Kong’s autonomy or to pursue the ultimate goal of electing the CE as well as the Legislative Council members by universal suffrage.

The CE is of course accountable to the central government as well. But such accountability is only in accordance with the Basic Law, not in breach of its provisions. Serving two masters is never easy. Nevertheless, Hong Kong people, including students, would need to monitor the CE’s conduct closely, so that he does not pay lip service to his constitutional obligations.        

Third, students as part of civil society do have a role to play in making the government accountable. Their role has become more critical because the local government has not been active enough in catering to the needs of disadvantaged sections of society. The recent statement of the Financial Secretary John Tsang – that if you can’t afford a home, then don’t buy it – sums up the government attitude. Free markets do not mean that the government acts only for the benefit of powerful business tycoons.    

Fourth, after the umbrella movement, the central authorities are showing greater signs of controlling all types of institutions and bodies by packing them with pro-Beijing people. Such a systematic “institutional capture” will not only pose threats to Hong Kong’s autonomy but also stifle the space for creativity and dissenting views. This scenario again requires that all citizens are vigilant about rights and freedoms rather than relying solely on the local government institutions to act as a bulwark against pressures from Beijing. 

In short, students must engage creatively with the process of political reforms – not merely for their future, but also for the future of Hong Kong. The road to democracy in Hong Kong is likely to be long, but the journey has begun. As Professor Fu Hualing aptly reminded us that the seeds of democracy “have been planted; and there is simply no return”.


Randy Shek: The Real Challenge - Civil Rights Lawyers

The Real Challenge - Civil Rights Lawyers
Translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, written by Randy Shek 石書銘 (Progressive Lawyers Group 法政匯思), edited by Karen L.
Original: http://www.pentoy.hk/%E4%B8%AD%E5%9C%8B-2/mpforum2013/2015/03/31/%E7%B6%AD%E6%AC%8A%E5%BE%8B%E5%B8%AB/ 

Back in 2012, on the People's Daily Overseas Edition, there is an article named "What Are the Real Challenges of China" which mentioned the potential threats against China in the next five to ten years. It said, the United States will adopt more "non-military tactics to attenuate or tamper the rise of China", precisely "...under the banner of Internet freedom, subverting the traditional model of the top-down Chinese democracy through the immersion of forces, for instance the civil right lawyers, underground religions, dissidents, online opinion leaders and the underprivileged community, infiltrating the men in the street and forcing China to change". What is more, there are Chinese-mouthpiece media referring these people as "The New Five Black Categories".

It is known among the ones interested in modern Chinese history that during the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong labelled the landlords, rich farmers, anti-revolutionists, bad-influencers, and rightists as "Five Black Categories". These people and their families were persecuted by the regime — some were forced to admit to various crimes in the struggle sessions, some were killed by lynching, and some were given re-education through labour and ideological re-moulding. And why, do the civil rights lawyers come first in the new “Five Black Categories”?

Pu Zhiqiang
Pu Zhiqiang, a mainland Chinese civil rights lawyer.
Strictly speaking, each and every lawyer is supposed to be a civil rights lawyer. When a criminal defense lawyer is to provide legal support to his/her client in a police station, it is his/her responsibility to inform the suspect of one’s Miranda rights, so that the suspect would not wrongly regard one’s right as a behaviour obstructing the constables in exercising their authorities or would not make any confession which might harm one’s own interests. Before trial, the defense lawyer will require the prosecution to disclose all related documents and evidences, including the ones which might be conducive to the defendant. Added to that, the defendant has the right to know what related evidences the prosecution has. When the defendant is brought before the court, it is the defence lawyer’s duty to ensure a fair trial, so that the defendant's rights are protected. As for civil cases, it is a basic requirement for solicitors hired to protect a client’s legal interest. For property purchasing, the solicitors in charge should ensure the interests of their customers over certain property or properties be protected. For the solicitors providing legal services for public listings, it is their responsibility to protect the interests of both that company and its shareholders. And when the lawyers are hired, they should help their customers at best about their legal rights.

In Hong Kong, when most people think of "civil rights lawyers", they will naturally relate them to the ones handling cases involved the Basic Law or the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance (HKBRO). This kind of lawyers handles cases involving freedom of speech, assembly, demonstration or protest. Some others might help refugees to seek asylum in order to prevent them being repatriated by the Immigration Department, so that the refugees no longer have to live under inhumane treatment based on one’s political preference, race, religion or other reasons.

Another type of civil rights lawyers known by Hongkongers is the ones handling cases involved transsexual marriage, in which the lawyers quoted “equal marriage rights for all” and “the freedom to marry” justifying the right enshrined in the Basic Law and HKBRO. All of these cases are in common: by challenging the government departments or public organisations, it is to find out whether they exercise legally their public authorities — precisely whether they during the course, violate the public rights written in the Basic Law and HKBRO. To put it another way, civil rights lawyers maintain the boundary between human rights and the government's rights. 

It is believed that the major reason for these civil rights lawyers to be ranked the top of the new Five Black Categories is that they stand on the side defending this boundary which the regime is not allowed to cross. Besides the basic rights, such as freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of thought and of religion, The HKBRO and ICCPR affirm that some of the civil rights shall be upheld prior to anything else: the right to life, the refusal of any torture, inhuman treatment or medical or scientific experimentation on oneself, the right to be not slavery or servitude, the right to avoid imprisonment under breach of contract, full equality to a fair and public hearing and so on. The objective of these related provisions is to prevent an autocratic and despotic regime. The existence of civil rights lawyers is a necessity in a rule-of-law society. If the lawyers give in, then rule of law will inevitably lead to collapse.

But still, one may wonder: why would civil rights lawyers pose a threat to China's rise? Doesn't it mean the cost of China's rise is to infringe rights, shattering the right to life, the refusal of any torture, inhuman treatment or medical or scientific experimentation on oneself, the right to be not slavery or servitude, the right to avoid imprisonment under breach of contract, full equality to a fair and public hearing and so on? When a regime neglects such civil rights, doesn't it become less likely to implement democracy and freedom?

Eventually, the very question we should ask is not the one to figure out the potential influence new Five Black Categories will have on the way of the rise of China, but rather what sort of country China is when they resort to ways in suppressing these so-called 'New-Five-Black-Categories' threats?".

Progressive Lawyers Group is a group of Hong Kong lawyers dedicated to promoting core values of rule of law, judicial independence, democracy, human rights, freedom, and justice.


Atsuna: If China's the loser, HK's the winner

If China's the loser, HK's the winner
Translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, written by Atsuna, edited by Yeung So-san
Original: http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/04-19-2015/22431 

"Kong girls", "Kong kids" or "Kongformists" – are terms that amount to more than self-discrimination when used by Hongkongers. Every dog has its day. In the eyes of Chinese people, the Hong Kong brand has degraded from Chanel to Sasa or Bonjour; cheap but convenient; yet somewhat different from Chinese brands. But once the asking price is too high, Chinese people think Hongkongers are pretentious. After all, "mainland tourists are almsgivers of Hongkongers, and we should respect them" (quote from People's Daily).

"Kongformists" love being tortured, much more than Greater China morons. "Kongformists" are not zealous in slogans like "constructing a democratic China", but rather, over-sophisticated - "Why not pocket it first and stop messing around? When the communist party didn't hand sweeteners to you, you don't grab for them. Hongkongers should be minions. How would such a big nation listen to you? Probably they might send more troops down here!"

Facing such a big nation, Hongkongers naturally feel awestruck and fearsome. Because we grew up, hypontised, with messages like "Hong Kong is a small place without natural resources or much land". China, being populous, breeds excessive competition and, thus, an abundance of talent. Housewives like to compare their kids with high achieving ones from new immigrant families. SMEs bosses blame local graduates with mainland Chinese graduates in Hong Kong (not to mention using resources of HK). HKSARG has continuously nit-picking at Hong Kong's youth for not crossing over the border and developing businesses there. It seems that HKSARG has forgotten that there are over 8 million graduates every year on the mainland,  busy striking backroom deals or building  guanxi just for a job. How can we, spoiled Hongkongers, possibly do the same? We are bound to fail in this sense!

The rise of China makes a stark contrast to the fall of Hong Kong. If this is just about Hongkongers not being the eager beaver, that would be fine. But that's not the case. This is about the "drying up" of Hong Kong by pro-Beijing allies. Can you bear this? That is as ludicrous as the case when HKSARG curried favour from "the Motherland" to  get "mother tongue teaching", but in turn pointed fingers in relation to the poor English standards of young people. The logic is no different to denouncing a woman because she is no longer a virgin after raping her.

HKSARG is not "picking winners" but "picking losers". "Picking winners" means government provision of tax incentives or other assistance to certain sectors, as in South Korea government support of its entertainment industry [1].

HKSARG is learning from the CCP in "picking losers". MTR purchases compartments and parts from China rather than from overseas as it has long done. One can count how many service disruptions it has caused every year. HKTV Network has suffered too, once highly acclaimed, we are now forced to watch CCTVB and aTV. When the tactics of Chinese Gong'an (public security officers) are learnt, Hong Kong Police has to try to “Chunfeng” an allegedly Chinese oil-spilling motorcycle.

A wolf in sheep's clothing, losers crowd out winners. Can Hong Kong stay standing? The Chinese often say, "without Chinese people, Hongkongers are doomed". This is true indeed.

The nature of Hong Kong has been eroded by the Chinese Communists. They try to re-mould Hong Kong into Xianggang, Guangdong Province. With a reddest 689 chief executive, the HKSARG now no longer flinches from siding with the Communist Bloc and its people, from policies to the speech from high-ranking officials. It has been rumoured that the law firms and financial institutions have been infiltrated with second generation of officials or rich people. The grassroot is full with Chinese immigrants as well.

China is a society which picks losers. When one has got guanxi and "father's shelter", one can get rich because he is able pay his way into a famous university. Hongkongers believe in "Lion Rock Spirit" , which encourages meritocracy and fair competition and only punishing the loser (for example, those who receive CSSA might be discriminated against as losers who refuse to work hard). This is not as absurd as "picking losers". The rules will likely be re-written in this generation.

[1] But whether we should use "picking the winner" has become a controversy - some might agree "picking the winner" (as the cost of certain industry is big with a long reaping period, causing some investors stepping back), so the government use this as to balance the market failure; some others might think this is against the principle of free-market, and cause corruption and lining one's pockets.