Below is the fourth digest from our new political commentator ‘Tony Wong’. Hong Wrong will publish a selection of his musings each week, but you can sign up for his full, daily newsletter by emailing ‘subscribe‘ to [email protected] It is “aimed at informed residents who are encouraged to further develop and rebut the arguments made here, and in the media, to create actual, honest and productive political dissent.”
Friday, 18/10 – John Tsang Chun-wah – Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah spoke at the Lion Rock Institute’s annual dinner yesterday and he sure does know his audience. Tsang presents himself as a strong principled Libertarian who will do everything he can to expand the free market, allow more competition, keep taxes low and property rights strong. As close followers of Hong Kong’s government we know that all this is a load of nonsense. While it is close to impossible to pin any government policy down to a certain individual (we may call it a system of unaccountability), we know that either Tsang does not believe in what he says, or even within the government he is a redundant figure that noone pays respect to. There is no free market in Hong Kong, as everything requires a license, most of which the government no longer or rarely gives out (taxis, minibuses, dai pai dong, wet markets, guest houses, cross boundary traders, food stalls, fruit stands, pubs, clubs and so on). If you need to ask someone for permission to run a TV station or an airline you probably don’t live in a free market. If you aren’t allowed entry into a market, you can’t say you have competition. We don’t have low taxes either if we consider that the government makes a big chunk of their income by selling land. It is not uncommon to pay 50% of your income as rent, which ends up in the pockets of the city’s developers, private and public. And property rights? You can’t even own a piece of land in this city, you can only license it for a limited amount of time from the government, with heavy restrictions applying. With your office, your home and everything else ultimately the state’s property you will be lucky if Tsang does not take your civil rights away too.