Reds infiltrating government ‘on HK$22K’ shock horror

Today’s morning news on the radio led with the revelation that an individual who is or has been a member of the Communist Party is busy subverting Hong Kong’s freedoms from within Chief Executive-elect CY Leung’s office. The Labour Party’s Lee Cheuk-yan warned that ‘One Country Two Systems’ is in danger. Someone from the Civic Party said something that was probably similar (I was brushing my teeth). Then, someone from a public-sector union intoned that the young woman’s appointment would damage civil service morale. All of a sudden, I felt strangely calm and relaxed about it all.

What, apart from her Pinyin-ized name and northern facial curves, is so offensive about Chen Ran? Is it the fact that back home as a student she was in the Communist Youth League? As the Standard’s Mary Ma column points out, members are hardly unusual in Mainland schools. Wikipedia says there were 73 million of them in 2007; add former members, and they must number in the hundreds of millions. They’re everywhere.

Or could it be that she took her government position on a non-civil service contract before being eligible – by a few months – for permanent residency of the Big Lychee? This required discretionary approval by the Immigration Department. It is not unprecedented, but it suggests that she has unique skills impossible to find locally, which does not seem to be the case.

Or – and this looks like it could be her or CY’s biggest crime – is it that a non-civil servant has taken a position that could have been filled by a full-time, permanent bureaucrat? Perhaps civil servants on bloated permanent packages have their delicate morale harmed at the sight of an outsider being parachuted in on a mere HK$22,000 a month. Officially, the fear is that Chen, who previously worked on CY’s campaign, will not be politically neutral while performing her public duties as a CY ‘programme officer’. The chances are that Leung put her in the job for convenience, and it could be argued that the rules on bringing your own help are too strict (remember the fuss when Tung Chee-hwa took his personal driver with him into office?). However, the case points to possible problems ahead.

When businesswoman Sarah Liao Sau-tung served as Environment and Transport Minister in the mid-2000s, she was surprised to find that, unlike in the private sector, she could not choose her own senior officials, let alone get rid of them if necessary. This mattered: when she raised the issue of road pricing to help clean up the air, one of her top bureaucrats (she later revealed) was determined that it wouldn’t happen, and it didn’t. We are living with the results today. CY Leung knows about this problem (not unique to Hong Kong) with civil servants. Former Chief Secretary and arch-bureaucrat Anson Chan knows that CY knows, as she makes clear in today’s South China Morning Post, sternly advising him to mollycoddle administrative officers and not exercise ‘top down’ leadership. The property hegemony is not the only one CY faces.

The SCMP tucks the Communist Youth League infiltrator story away in its City section, and right at the very bottom of the piece, it tells us that Chen was once an intern at… the SCMP. We can safely conclude that the young lady is harmless.

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13 Responses to Reds infiltrating government ‘on HK$22K’ shock horror

  1. Bela Lugosi says:

    Oh, someone from China who’s a Communist. Think of that! You have to wonder which planet some of our barrister part-time politicians live on

    Pardon my absence. The coffin lid has been a bit gummed up recently.

    After Fanny Law and the trouble and strife, the third of the Sisters emerges into the daylight…although she prefers the twilight.

    Although the three vampire women in Dracula are popularly referred to as the “Brides of Dracula”, they are never referred to as such in the novel, instead referred to as the ‘Sisters’; whether they are married to Dracula or not is never mentioned, nor are they described as having any other relation to him. So there.

  2. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    BL: As my wife frequently tells me, telling the same joke over and over is not funny. Give the dracula stuff a rest.

  3. maugrim says:

    Funny how no one ever mentions the DAB elephant in the room when discussing Mainland ‘influence’. Fanny is quite pleasant to deal with but I’m still uncomfortable about how the HKIEd fiasco transpired.

  4. fumier says:

    That Sarah Liao was a bit tasty. Whatever happened to her?

  5. Bela Lugosi says:

    TFF…you will need all the humour your can muster in five years’ time. Lighten up and grab all the fun you can.

    CY Leung is an authoritarian apparatchik, ruthless, intolerant of opposition with a big club called the CCP behind him and will transform Hong Kong into a 21st century centralized version of Marxist-Leninism. The educated classes like yourself will be cringing all the way to your Green Card. You have been warned. And no, it’s not a joke.

  6. Big Al says:

    Sarah Liao did manage to bring in a few “old friends” to ETWB as “Technical Advisors” under non-civil service terms. They disappeared shortly after she did. As for this latest affront to the cherished “civil service morale”, I’m surprised they noticed – I’m sure $22K wouldn’t even cover their monthly Air Conditional Allowance, let alone their Furniture and Domestic Appliances Allowances (I kid you not – check out http://www.csb.gov.hk/english/csr/files/note060404e.pdf) …

  7. Stephen says:

    Nice to see a salary based in the realms of reality and of course this will affect Civil Service Morale!

    Around 3 – 4 years ago Donald hired a child (well he was under 30) and deemed him worthy of a salary of around HK$130K a month, despite the fact that the lad was currently earning HK$30K.

    Mind you Maugrim it would be a shame to waste Fanny’s talents she would be ideal to go toe to toe with the Heung Yee Kuk.

  8. Joe Blow says:

    Donald’s ‘special assistant’ in Government House, Ronald Chan (Regina’s little boy from the Savantas Policy blah-blah) was appointed at a monthly salary of $ 76 ,000-, at age 27 or so. Despite the fact that little Roland (he is even smaller than Aaron Kwok) had never had a real job in his life before.

  9. Sen says:

    @Bela don’t heed what the nasty man says, we your undying groupies awaited with bated breath and and bared fangs for your every word.

    btw what s little Ronny Chan up to nowadays? And surely not for a paltry 76k.

  10. mumphLT says:

    There are few things more insulting to the poor buggers who have to toil in the private sector than hearing that some action or other might ‘damage civil service morale.’

    Oh boo fucking hoo. Harden the fuck up or fuck off.

  11. Joe Blow says:

    @Sen: Little Ronny is still in that position, as far as I know. I bet that he is currently trying to figure out how to get a nice cushy job with CY if Regina get a senior position (and let’s all pray that won’t happen).

  12. Real Tax Payer says:

    Oh horror of horrors ! An ex- commie is not only about to get her HK PID, but will even work for CY !

    That’s terrible, I mean TERRIBLE.

    We should throw Ms Chen out of the SAR immediately in case she corrupts us all with her evil propaganda ( and at the same time throw out all those corrupt current commies who used their ill-gotten gains to buy their HK PID with the inward investment scheme, not to mention 90% of the the board of CITIC , 99 % of the mainland shoppers buying gold at Chow Tai Kook, and most of the DAB )

    On the other hand we could impale all HK’s ultra conservatives (starting with BL) which would include most of the senior civil service cadres. on the grounds that they send their kids to the UK to expensive schools where they most probably are being corrupted by those evil members of the CONSERVATIVE party ( or worse still they study in top schools in the USA where they might be influenced by the even more evil Tea Party ) . Thus impaled with sticks up their backsides they would find it hard to give us so much BS .

    (PS : does anyone have Ms Chen’s mobile number ? She looks nearly as cute as the girl in the MTR station pics from a couple of days ago )

  13. Real Tax Payer says:

    AS A POST SCRIPT TO THIS OLD BL :

    From today’s SCMP

    CY’s aide in a league of her own
    MY TAKE
    Alex Lo
    Apr 27, 2012

    Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?
    That was the infamous question that epitomised the worst excesses of McCarthyism in 1950s America.

    So, congratulations to those pan-democrats and their media allies who have whipped up a storm in a tea cup over chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying’s hiring of a former Communist Youth League member. A campaign aide, 27-year-old Chen Ran will be a project officer in Leung’s transition team on a salary of HK$22,240. Many of our reporters earn more than that.

    Basically, she will serve as a glorified assistant. As a young student on the mainland, she once joined a league with the word communist in its name. And that was enough for our democracy fighters to cry foul and warn about breaches to one country, two systems – another red flag over Leung’s headquarters. Lest we forget, Leung himself is probably a closet communist, they whisper. How is their red scare tactic any different from state-run China Daily or Xinhua, which have accused leading pan-democrats of being under foreign influence?

    Chen said she is no longer a league member. Even if she is, so what? The league on the mainland is like the Boy Scouts or Girl Guides. Any mainland students with promise or who are just slightly above average are encouraged to join. It is a long way from the Communist Party, which also co-opts young professionals, entrepreneurs and academics, regardless of their ideological belief.

    Rent-a-quote Democrat lawmaker Emily Lau Wai-hing went to the trouble of writing to Secretary for the Civil Service Denise Yue Chung-yee, arguing that the recruitment of a former league member breached the principle that civil servants should be politically neutral. Well, Chen is not a civil servant; she is actually being hired on cheap, non-civil-service terms, without pension and most perks. She is obviously smart and efficient.

    I say Leung has done well. Retiring Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen created political assistant posts for novices and paid them directorate-grade salaries. At least Leung is saving taxpayers’ money.

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