POLITICS – What Was the True July 1st Turnout? History, Maths & Experience Offer Insights

Guest Post: Finding the figures unconvincing, Evan Fowler highlights how the relationship between organisers, HKUPOP and police figures have changed since 2005, asking readers to consider his personal experience on the day in making an estimate of how many people took part.

The figures for yesterday’s pro-democracy march are out. According to the organiser, the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), 510,000 people were counted; Hong Kong University’s Public Opinion Programme (POP) team counted 162,000; whilst the police put the figure at 92,000.

How are these figures derived? Two are counted – CHRF and POP deploy teams to count numbers at various locations along the route, with the CHRF taking an average and HKUPOP employing a flow rate method to calculate the numbers between two points. The police figure is only an estimate based on “how crowded the protest area appears”. The protest area is, one should note, an area that the police themselves define and regulate.

Analysing the counts since 2005 the CHRF figure is consistently the highest, and the police estimate (and lets call it an estimate as it makes no claim to be a count) always the lowest. What is curious however is that the police figures tend to be far less as both a percentage of the CHRF and POP figures the larger the demonstration.

Turnout for July 1st Hong Kong democracy march

Via @gzdxxd on Twitter


NEWS – CY Leung’s Wife Patron of Group Behind Anti-Democracy Ad in SCMP

CY Leung’s wife, Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee, is an honorary patron of the Hong Kong Federation of Women – a group which placed an inflammatory statement against the city’s democracy movement in the South China Morning Post last week. Concerns were raised today after the discrepancy was spotted on social media.

Regina Leung

Screenshot from the Hong Kong Federation of Women website

On the website, the group claims to be ”a non-profit making and non-political organisation”, despite the cryptic advertisement which warns readers to ‘think of the children’. Last year, Mrs Leung stepped down as patron of a charitable NGO named ‘Food For Good’ due to a conflict of interest. She is also under pressure from Vision First, a local refugee NGO, to step down as patron of the ‘International Social Service’ (ISS) due to a conflict. The group, which has a contract with the government to care for asylum seekers, is under scrutiny for apparently housing refugees in slum-like conditions and providing inadequate rations.


NEWS – HK Girl Guides Association Signs Anti-Occupy Central Statement 2

The Girl Guides Association has signed a statement placed in the South China Morning Post calling upon its readers to think of the city’s children. It is unclear if the advertisement was taking aim at the ongoing civil referendum, the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement or both. Girl Guides Hong Kong have refused to comment or answer questions related to the matter and it remains unclear whether their involvement is reflective of the views of the young women it represents.

Most other signatories, under the umbrella of the Hong Kong Federation of Women, are local community associations but also include a number of health and sports organisations.

Women's Association Hong Kong

Open in new tab to enlarge

Earlier this month, the normally apolitical business chambers of Hong Kong, Bahrain, Italy, India and Canada published a statement condemning the proposed pro-democracy ‘sit-in’. The British, American and Australian chambers were not listed, whilst the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has stated, separately, that it expects any acts of civil disobedience to have a minimal impact on trade.


NEWS – Students Protest HK’s No.2 Politician at Graduation Ceremony 3

During a graduation ceremony this evening at the Cultural Centre, students from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts turned their backs in protest at the city’s number two official, Carrie Lam.

Carrie Lam

via Housenews

Some students ignored the Chief Secretary whilst others crossed their arms – a gesture popularised during 2012 Scholarism protests against a ‘patriotic education’ programme which Lam supported.


POLITICS – Talking Rubbish: 11 Untruths About the Shek Kwu Chau Incinerator

Guest Post: Hong Kong is looking to add another superlative to its awards cabinet, as the government plans to construct the world’s largest, most expensive waste incinerator of its kind in the territory. Our guest writer, Rachel Chan, of The Naked Island Project & Living Islands Movement, debunks 11 myths, claims and untruths ahead of a protest tomorrow in Central at 2:30pm.

#1 Untruth: Burning waste is the only solution.

Hong Kong must have an Incinerator to dispose of our Municipal Solid Waste, says the Environmental Protection Department (EPD). However, plasma arc technology and localised efforts that generate power are amongst the many alternatives. What is needed is sustainable management of rubbish, by reducing waste with proper sorting and recycling. (More details on Plan B here.)

#2 Untruth: There is no danger to public health.

The outdated technology will spew toxic air into the atmosphere, adding to Hong Kong’s already abysmal air pollution. An estimated 3,100 deaths in 2013 were related to air pollution in the city. Heart disease and lung disease are the most common pollution linked causes of death. There has been no full health impact assessment for the incinerator and the risks are largely unknown. According to medical experts the two main dangers to health from incinerators are dioxins and airborne particulate matter.  These have been linked to cancer, heart disease and asthma. Proximity to incinerators has also been linked to birth defects.

Hong Kong pollution

via Wikicommons