UCAN needs your support
You are why we do what we do - report, describe, comment, review. It is to bring to your eyes just what life is like for believers across Asia that we publish UCAN.
But as you know, the effort needs to be sustained if it is to have continuing effect.
UCAN publishes some 150 stories a week in four languages across six websites. We are grateful to benefactors in Europe and the US who support us. But those countries and the Church there are under increasing financial strain and their generosity no longer covers our costs.
We need financial help from our readers to sustain our efforts. Our reporters, editors, video producers and photographers all have families and we need to support them. They do excellent jobs, but they can't do their jobs for nothing.
Will you help us to sustain UCAN? Please click here to help.
Thanks in anticipation.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Discontent undermines handover anniversary
Celebrations may be muted as public approval plummetsThe Golden Bauhinia is a well-known landmark in Hong Kong
- ucanews.com reporter, Hong Kong
- Hong Kong
- June 19, 2012
Two opinion polls published in the past fortnight by the Public Opinion Program at Hong Kong University show discontent in the territory is higher than ever.
The first found disapproval of the outgoing Chief Executive Donald Tsang has reached the highest level of his tenure at 78 percent.
A devout Catholic who reportedly attends church every morning, Tsangâs fall from grace has been dramatic following a healthy approval rating of 72 percent when he first took office in 2005.
A widening gap between rich and poor combined with a series of corruption scandals affecting the highest levels of his administration have been the main reason behind his plummeting popularity, say analysts.
Tsang has been marred by a string of scandals since February, including stays in presidential suites during official visits and trips on private jets and yachts owned by his tycoon friends.
His former chief secretary Rafael Hui is currently under investigation for allegedly receiving payments from real-estate tycoons worth more than US$2.5 million.
In another recent opinion poll interviewing 1,052 people in the territory, 36 percent said they held a negative view of Hong Kongâs administration, the highest since the 1997 handover.
Dr Camoes Tam Chi-keung, a commentator on Hong Kong-China relations, says the rise in pessimism in Hong Kong is hardly surprising as prosperity has waned since the handover in stark contrast to the mainland and Macau, both of which have flourished.
âDisparity between the rich and poor, and the hegemony of real-estate tycoons, had long been serious, and now the public has also witnessed problems in the civil service following the exposure of misconduct by the chief executive and top officials allegedly taking financial advantage,â he says.
Meanwhile, evidence suggests the gap between rich and poor in Hong Kong is widening.
In April, a real-estate advert drew widespread derision on chat forums as many saw the property â a 753-square-foot apartment for HK$4.1 million (US$528,000) described as âa blessed gift for the poorâ â as further evidence that the middle class is being cut adrift in terms of spending power.
This assertion was given statistical weight yesterday when Hong Kongâs Gini co-efficient, an index that measures the gap between rich and poor, reached its highest in a decade at 0.537 in 2011.
Tam says the spiraling cost of housing and the public perception that an increasing percentage of Hong Kongâs wealth is being concentrated in the hands of the elite few are likely to be the biggest challenges for the incoming chief executive Leung Chun-ying.
The new head of the territoryâs government is therefore inheriting a poisoned chalice, says Ma Ngok, an associate professor in the Department of Government and Public Administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
âPart of the discontent comes from the rich-poor gap and other deep-rooted social conflicts, but a major reason is policy failure for which citizens do not see any hint of a solution,â he says.
Ma suggested that Beijing and the local administration speed up the democratization process in Hong Kong to appease fears that public policy is inflexible and ineffective.
âWith a political system that is not democratic enough, people think public policies do not reflect their views,â he says.
Cardinal urges calm amid turmoil
Activists pan housing policy
Plan to raze flats ânot workable yetâ