Concrete-laying delayed: world ends tomorrow

Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang is rattled by the threat to his grandiose concrete-laying plans posed by citizens who expect his government to draw up environmental impact assessments properly.

In January, a 66-year-old resident of Tung Chung applied for a judicial review of the government’s environmental go-ahead for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, arguing that the EIA had been faulty in, essentially, ignoring public health. The court agreed and work on the white-elephant mega-project is now delayed. Never a very graceful loser, Sir Bow-Tie now accuses (without naming) the Civic Party, which helped the woman, of deliberately trying to wreck the Big Lychee’s economy.

He is backed here by construction interests standing to rake in billions from building pointless hardware all over the place and by the pro-Beijing camp because the bridge is coordinated by the central government. We are invited to believe that the public is also wholeheartedly behind the administration and demanding that something be done about the evil, radical CP. There are even mutterings about getting the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress to do one of its magic legal disappearing tricks by ‘interpreting’ some part of the law to mean the opposite of what it clearly says.

A readable summary of the case says that among the faults in the government’s procedures were:

  • lack of a baseline assessment predicting the future air quality without the projects;
  • incomprehensible model used to predict future regional air quality;
  • failure to assess ozone and SO2 as key pollutants in EIA study;
  • failure to conduct public health assessment or hazard assessment; and
  • failure to include known harmful pollutants such as Toxic Air Pollutants (TAPs) and PM2.5.

The government is appealing the court decision and doing its usual evasive sulky teenage schoolgirl routine and whining about how malicious forces are “trying to hinder economic development, job creation and further Mainland integration,” without mentioning its slipshod EIAs, let alone the impact of air pollution on our lungs. Its allies claim that it is judicial, not environmental administrative, procedures, that are being abused.

The HKZM Bridge is an idea 20 years late: the aim is to open up the west bank of the Pearl River estuary for Hong Kong-owned sweatshops and enable thousands of trucks carrying containers of plastic junk for Walmart direct to our sea port. But it is now the 2010s; the factories are moving inland in search of lower wages, Hong Kong port is entering its sunset phase, and the more original-minded and alert among us no longer cling to the idea that the city’s economy will collapse without millions of metal boxes trundling through town all day and night. Oh, and there’s our lungs too.

It seems to be open season on the Civic Party right now. The illogical proposal to ban Legislative Council by-elections to prevent quasi-referendums involves plentiful amounts of CP-bashing, and of all the supposedly illegal structures perched atop politicians’ homes, the pro-establishment media are curiously obsessed with CP legislator Ronny Tong’s.

And we have a chief executive ‘election’ next March. Officials are saying that there probably will be more than one candidate on the ballot (presumably to spare everyone involved in the farce the additional embarrassment that arose from the uncontested exercises before Tung Chee-hwa’s second and Donald Tsang’s first terms). It could be that they are resigned to someone scraping enough nominations to run from the token pro-democrats on the Election Committee, and that the person will, as in 2007, be from the Civic Party, with its taste for flamboyant stunts. So here’s another weapon Beijing’s appointee can use if we get to have another TV debate: “My opponent is a proven referendum-hugging, card-carrying builder of illegal rooftop extensions who vandalizes essential infrastructure projects and seeks to prevent us from integrating with the motherland.” Henry Tang is no doubt rehearsing as we speak.

Opponents of concrete-laying be warned…

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12 Responses to Concrete-laying delayed: world ends tomorrow

  1. Mary Ma says:

    What time exactly does Judgment Day start tomorrow ? I have a gym class at 1 PM.

  2. Maugrim says:

    I’d take the erudite Barrister Tong over Tang in a debate any time. It would be interesting to watch.

  3. Roger Maxims says:

    Hemlock,

    I write with abdomnishment of the gravest degree to remind Sir that you have once again applied the wizardry of “spin-doctoring” to what are the hard and solid facts.

    The right of final interpretation bestowed upon CPPCC under Article 158 of the Basic Law, as with all other rights in the Basic Law, are binding on Hong Kong subjects, HKSAR Gov and Beijing.

    If you don’t like any of that, you can also exercise your right under Article 31, which reads: “Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of movement within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and freedom of emigration to other countries and regions. They shall have freedom to travel and to enter or leave the Region.”

    Or, as you have so vociferously done, or in your peasntry words, “mouth-frothed”, exercise your freedom of speech under Article 27.

    Do bear in mind that the final interpretation by CPPCC under Art 158 is not subject to judicial review. If you think otherwise, you can call Ronny for a fee quote.

    I don’t think it will be necessary to delve into your uncharted waters such as the Legco (Powers & Privileges) Ordinance to lecture you on Donald’s rights, for we will then be speaking French and Latin at each other.

  4. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    The Rapture approaches. You think you’re ready, but what about your dog?
    http://www.aftertherapturepetcare.com/

  5. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    I expect to read articles on Sunday/Monday reporting that the Rapture-freaks’ leader got a message from God that the Rapture was delayed due to the faith displayed by the Rapture-freaks.

  6. Jason90 says:

    Mary can go to her gym class – The Rapture will take place at 6pm local time ie sweeping around the world over 24 hours.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_end_times_prediction

    Not sure how God plans to handle the odd time zones in Russia, but given that only 3% of the world’s population will be raptured, maybe He plans to give Siberia a miss – or alternately the rest of Asia – whose time zones don’t match Siberia’s….

    Either way, I’ll keep my smoke hood handy.

  7. Quick Silver says:

    The bridge ranting brings to mind the HK Stadium redevelopment where the civil servants assumed that their policy decisions trumped any noise control regulations. In that case, though, Henry Fok’s concrete had been poured before the rule of law was discovered, so the white elephant status never bothered anyone.

  8. isomoliu says:

    Thank you Hemlock for the image of Donald “Lauren-Cooper-are-you-disrespecting-me” rising up for his slice of pie in the sky.

  9. Ho! Ho! Ho! says:

    Has this Rapture thingy completed an environmental impact assessment report. If not, why not?

  10. Probably says:

    Sorry for being late to this one. The clock has just turned over to 22nd May. Did I miss anything?

  11. Probably says:

    Cheer up. It’s not teh end of the world!

  12. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    I’m still here. Obviously the time I did as an altar boy in my youth was misspent.

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