P.J. O'Rourke on the Handover

P J won't lose sleep over `non-event

By Maureen Pao,

South China Morning Post, 28 June 1997

P J O'Rourke, irreverent American humourist-journalist-author, knows what he'll be doing at midnight on 30 June.
``I'll be asleep. I am 50. And this is a non-event,'' he told members of the Foreign Correspondents' Club on Friday.
And the question O'Rourke has for future Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa is: ``Will mahjong still be legal after the handover?''
Inquiring, twisted minds want to know.
For 15 years, O'Rourke has been a roving international affairs correspondent for Rolling Stone magazine and author.
Although only on his second trip to the territory, O'Rourke boasted of being a Hong Kong expert.
Of the handover, he said: ``(It's) a great thing for journalists. And a great thing for journalists should make other people nervous.''
O'Rourke criticised his fellow ``hacks'' for not being critical enough of China, which he described as ``not exactly a living festival of the Bill of Rights''.
``Are we being tough enough on this story? Or is there just a little bit of Beijing cuddle-bunny going on here?'' he asked.
He said most people were putting on their ``best face'' for visiting journalists, and rightly so.
``Complaining to Larry King isn't going to get you anywhere. And why would anyone tell a foreign devil how much they hate Mao?''
O'Rourke summed up China's attitude towards Hong Kong, the ``golden goose'', this way: ``They want to grab that honker and squeeze more eggs out of it.''

PLA On the Move

[South China Morning Post] [Internet Edition] [Front Page] Saturday June 28 1997 [Image] [Hong Kong] Road To The Handover [China] Deployment shows 'insensitivity' [Asia] CHRIS YEUNG [World] The deployment of Chinese troops [Business] showed a lack of sensitivity about the sentiments of Hong Kong people, [Markets] according to legislator Emily Lau [Features] Wai-hing. [Sport] Ms Lau, of The Frontier, said the [Property] deployment of 4,000 personnel in one operation by land, sea and air routes [Technology] "was too high profile" and "unnecessary". [Index] Ms Lau also questioned the need for armoured vehicles. "It doesn't stir up a warm feeling at the crack of dawn," she said. "It's counter-productive. People are worried [`] about the Tiananmen Square massacre, about the abuse of powers by some PLA It doesn't stir soldiers and corruption. up a warm feeling at the "I hope Hong Kong people won't feel crack of dawn alarmed about it. [The PLA] are not sensitive to the feelings of people," ['] she said. Ms Lau urged early clarification on whether the deployment would be final. "There's no official announcement about that. It's ridiculous." Liberal Party Chairman Allen Lee Peng-fei saw no problem with the number of troops. He said the British garrison had had more than 8,000 personnel stationed in the territory. "It's not the number that matters . . . Hong Kong people should not be overly concerned about the stationing of the PLA. "Surely they will follow the rules for the military and abide by the law when they go out from the barracks," he said. James To Kun-sun of the Democratic Party questioned the need for close to 5,000 troops. "Hong Kong is an international city. I don't see any strategic significance and need for Hong Kong [to keep a large army]." Back To Top [<< PREV] [NEXT >>] ------------------------------------------------------------ Front Page | Hong Kong | China | Asia | World | Business Markets | Focus | Sport | Property | Technology | Index [SCMP Home] [Classified Post] [Spice] [1997] Copyright 1997 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Blitish Sordiers

Military drill marks first test of British-PLA rivalry By Yonden Lhatoo South China Morning Post 28 June 1997 ``It'sall in good spirit, but we're going to drill 'em into the ground,'' says Mark Fairhall of the Royal Air Force. The senior aircraftsman is talking about what might be described as a little competition when the British and People's Liberation Army troops parade together at midnight during the handover ceremony. A select group of British and Chinese military personnel will be vying to show the best drill skills as they march on either side of the stage in the Convention and Exhibition Centre before the assembled dignitaries. Thirty-six British servicemen will take part, with the PLA expected to field the same number. Lieutenant James Minter, in charge of the parade, puts it a little more subtly as he watches his men rehearse at Stonecutters Island. ``It's not a competition, but we certainly want to be as good as, if not better than, the PLA when we get up there,'' he says. ``We've had some practice drills with the PLA, and I must say they're very good. ``I think we get on very well with them and there's been good co-operation between us during our practice sessions.'' Senior Aircraftsman Fairhall is one of a group of RAF personnel from the Queen's Colour Squadron flown in specially for the parade. The group is a permanent drill unit that flies around the world to take part in various ceremonies.

Tung May Miss Britain's Farewell (!)

[South China Morning Post] [Internet Edition] [Front Page] Saturday June 28 1997 [Image] [Hong Kong] Tung may miss Britain's farewell [China] [Asia] [World] GLENN SCHLOSS Future leader Tung Chee-hwa could have [Business] to miss Britain's farewell ceremony, [Markets] the Chief Executive-designate's office warned last night. [Features] [Sport] The arrival in Hong Kong of Chinese President Jiang Zemin and premier Li [Property] Peng on Monday night from Shenzhen [Technology] would have to take priority, said a spokesman for Mr Tung. [Index] He was scheduled to attend just 30 to 40 minutes of the gala show from 6.15 pm to 7.30 pm, said the spokesman. "We have him slotted in for doing that . . . if he isn't obliged to be somewhere else," he said. "He can't be in two places at once. In the end he will go to the one that matters to Hong Kong." [`] But the travel plans of China's handover delegation remained a mystery He can't be in last night. two places at once. In the Mr Tung's office said they could stay end he will go that way until Monday evening. to the one that matters to Hong The British farewell at Tamar will Kong include Chris Patten's final address to the territory. Mr Tung's office ['] denied his absence was being planned as a final snub to the Governor. It was merely that the arrival of the President would have to take priority, said the spokesman. While the Sino-British Joint Liaison Group agreed there would be a sunset ceremony on June 30, there was no guarantee that Hong Kong's future leader would be present to bid farewell to the outgoing colonial administration. Mr Tung raised eyebrows in April when he failed to turn up for the opening of the Tsing Ma Bridge, viewed as a British project, preferring instead to hold discussions on the handover with mainland officials in Guangdong. He and Mr Patten are believed to have an unspoken agreement not to appear together at diplomatic functions. On several occasions since his selection in December, the future leader has arrived early for functions to which the Governor was also invited, clearing the way for Mr Patten to arrive later. It emerged last night that Mr Tung might not be the only VIP with plans other than attending official handover functions. Only 5,800 of 6,500 people invited to events on June 30 and July 1 had replied by last night, according to the Handover Ceremony Co-ordination Office. It had set a Thursday deadline for final responses. Organisers said they had a reserve list of standby guests to draw from if not enough people returned RSVPs. Back To Top [<< PREV] [NEXT >>] ------------------------------------------------------------ Front Page | Hong Kong | China | Asia | World | Business Markets | Focus | Sport | Property | Technology | Index [SCMP Home] [Classified Post] [Spice] [1997] Copyright 1997 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

The PROC Is Not the Republic of China

Taipei says treaty gives it possession TAIWAN has displayed the treaty which ceded Hong Kong from China to Britain, and said the colony's future would be assured if it was returned to Taipei on 1 July instead of Beijing. The Kuomintang are exhibiting documents, including the 1842 Treaty of Nanking, to show how they tried to end colonial domination of China _ and advertise their government's claim to be the legitimate ruler of all China. ``The Republic of China on Taiwan's existence is still a fact, though we have had some frustrations,'' said Foreign Minister John Chang, using Taiwan's official name. The Kuomintang fled the mainland in 1949 after losing a civil war to the communists and protested when Britain opened negotiations with Beijing in 1984 over Hong Kong's return. They no longer compete with Beijing to represent China internationally, but still officially claim all of China. Mr Chang said possession of the treaty gave Taiwan sovereignty over Hong Kong. If Britain had not recognised Beijing in 1950, it would have negotiated Hong Kong's return with the Republic of China's successors in Taiwan who had turned a virtual dictatorship into a vibrant, free-market democracy, Mr Chang said. ``I can tell you if they were negotiating with us then, there wouldn't be any worries'' about maintaining Hong Kong's freedoms and capitalist system, Mr Chang said. China has promised to leave Hong Kong's systems unchanged for 50 years. But plans to roll back some civil liberties have raised concerns of backsliding._ AP

South China Morning Post 28 June 1997

Not the SCMP a test of press freedom.