By: Erica Chin、Kobie Li、Elly WuEdited by:

Business

Tournament needed for future development of Hong Kong's esports industry

Hong Kong esports athlete, Lo Tsz-kin won a gold medal at the Asian Games 2018. However, since esports is not recognised as an official sport in Hong Kong, he is not eligible to receive the $400,000 cash award as other gold medalists under the Athlete Incentive Award Scheme. Hong Kong's esports industry has been developing slowly compared to other countries, experts say hosting mature tournaments is the key to the industry's future development. The city has a large amount of highly skilled players, yet the industry had started late and the development of the local esports industry is slow when compared to other regional countries which started around the same time as us like Japan and Vietnam, said Marbles So, manager of Kowloon Estadium, a company which provides practice venue and management for professional esports players. According to a report by Cyberport published in 2017, Hong Kong has more than 300,000 esports players. Professional esports teams have been set up by esports management companies such as Kowloon Estadium and Hong Kong Esports Limited. Many professional esports players, however, opted for developing their career outside of Hong Kong, mainly in mainland China and Taiwan. In 2012, Hong Kong League of Legends player Lau Wai-kin, who goes by Toyz, had won the Season 2 World Championship with his Taiwan-based team, Taipei Assassins. The Hong Kong government has been supportive of esports in recent years. In 2017, the government funded $35 million in the Hong Kong Esports Festival, the first esports and music festival organised by the Tourism Board. Acknowledging "tremendous potential" in the industry, Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced in the 2018 budget that the Hong Kong government will allocate $100 million to Cyberport for its development of an arcade for esports competitions and digital entertainment. Still, compared to the global esports …

Politics

Legco By-election: pro-democracy camp's second defeat in Kowloon West

Hong Kong's pro-democracy camp has failed to regain veto power in the Legislative Council as the pro-establishment camp gets the upper hand in yesterday's Kowloon West by-election. Rebecca Chan Hoi-yan, who ran as an independent backed by pro-establishment forces, emerged victorious with 106,457 votes, leading by 13,410 votes. This is the first time the pro-establishment camp wins democrats by such a large margin. "I'm very excited to see this result. I'm grateful to every volunteer in my team and people who support me," said Ms. Chan, former TVB and Cable News journalist and political assistant to Secretary for Food and Health. Ms. Chan said she would focus on current work about people's livelihoods and keep her promises to the voters, instead of thinking about the next election. "We are going to make real and practical contributions," Ms. Chan said. "People's livelihoods are the first priority, and we should solve the problems concerning people's lives first." Despite facing controversies over election campaign expenses and her comments on Victor Mallet's visa denial that it was irrelevant to press freedom, she has a relatively high support rate of 25% according to the University of Hong Kong Public Opinion Programme's pre-election polls. Lee Cheuk-yan, who announced his decision to join the election after previously ousted lawmaker Lau Siu-lai's nomination was invalidated, have not succeeded in gaining the Kowloon West seat. He is the "Plan B" of pro-democracy camp, meaning that he would only join the election upon Ms. Lau's invalidation as an "alternative choice." Mr. Lee said he had “learned a lot from this election," and appealed to care for the future. He pointed out that there were still plenty of "battles" to fight, such as the legislation of Article 23, implementation of Lantau Tomorrow Vision. "As a Hongkonger, we can be disappointed, but …

Politics

FCC president claims foreign journalists fear visa rejection

Several foreign correspondents in Hong Kong have told TYR they feel a general sense of anxiety about their visa renewals after senior Financial Times editor Victor Mallet was denied permission to continue working in Hong Kong. The president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club, Florence de Changy, told TYR that she could sense the anxiety among younger reporters and those who want to be posted in Beijing in the future. "They will not show themselves too much on the stage and they will not host some speakers if the situation prevails," said Ms. de Changy, who works for Le Monde, a French newspaper, and Radio France International. The Immigration Department rejected Mr. Mallet's work visa renewal months after he moderated a forum by Andy Chan Ho-tin, convenor of the banned pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, in August at the FCC. Mr. Mallet was then offered a seven-day visitor permit to stay in Hong Kong when he arrived back from Bangkok on October 8. His attempted re-entry on November 8 was denied by the Immigration Department, with no reason given. Ms. de Changy said Mr. Mallet had never been warned his visa would be at risk if he hosted that forum. "Sometimes the [Hong Kong] government don't like what we do but they did not stop us from doing it," the FCC president added. The FCC currently has 500 members who are journalists or correspondents. Some 80 foreign media organisations have set up offices in the city, according to government statistics. Several foreign correspondents pointed out the grey area the government left behind following Mr. Mallet's incident when they spoke to TYR, including those who have interviewed Andy Chan or covered stories about Hong Kong independence. They declined to go into the specifics of their issues because their news organisations' codes of conduct prohibit them from …

Hong Kong's news media faces practical challenges in face of global digitalisation

  • 2018-10-12

The traditional mass media in Hong Kong is slow to strategise its use of digital technologies compared to news outlets worldwide, media professionals said on October 6 at the 2018 European Study Tour Seminar organised by the Journalism Education Foundation. "Digitalisation has drastically transformed the international media landscape in recent years. Whilst a myriad of European news organisations have already undergone major structural transformations, most media organisations in Hong Kong have not responded to these trends,"  Raymond Li, a senior lecturer of the Hong Kong Baptist University's Journalism Department said. Attended by tens of journalism students from local universities, the post-tour event was centred mainly around reflective observations several media persons made after comparing the digital transformations of news organisations between Europe and Hong Kong. "Traditional news outlets in Hong Kong are very conservative when it comes to embracing digital transformation as the risk is often very big," said Siu Sai-Wo, CEO and Executive Director of Sing Tao News Corporation Limited. Mr. Siu stated vast differences in the operating mechanisms of online and print media as one of the risks media companies have to bear in case of investment failure. Now that is technology being more prioritised over content, new media journalists face more pressure to produce innovative online content, leading to a surge in churn rates amongst some media companies. Mr. Siu added that some companies also need to retrain employees who had only received conventional journalism training. Mr. Li believed that Hong Kong's media sector lacked an explicit digital development strategy as some still expect room for the traditional media to thrive. "When it comes to developing innovative new media products, we also lag behind in investment and expertise," he continued. South China Morning Post is one of the few companies that have started to incorporate breakthrough technologies …

Politics

18/19 Policy Address: Policy Address rekindles hope for Chinese medicine industry

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: King Woo、Stephanie Ma、Hailey ManEdited by: Zoya Zhao、Yolanda Gao
  • 2018-10-11

The Chinese medicine sector stands to benefit from a slew of healthcare measures announced yesterday at Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s second policy address. The government unveiled a plan to subsidise certain Chinese medicine services, aiming to integrate traditional practice into the existing healthcare system in Hong Kong. Proposed measures include public funding for in-patient and out-patient services delivered in a future Chinese medicine hospital, as well as out-patient services offered by 18 Chinese medicine Centres for Training and Research at the district level. Subsidised in-patient integrative Chinese-Western medicine treatment will also be available in specified public hospitals, but the government said further details are still being discussed with the Hospital Authority. A Legco document shows that in recent years there is a growing trend that many people are opting for Chinese medicine. The number of visiting patients to Chinese medicine centres is up by 100,000 in 2017, from 1.1 million in 2015. Wu Wei, a senior Chinese medicine practitioner at the University of Hong Kong, said that he was delighted with the initiative, in light of the hardship the industry is currently facing. “I hope these measures can be implemented as soon as possible. It’ll be even better if the Hong Kong government can learn from both the triumphs and pitfalls of the Chinese medicine industry development in China. We have to make use of Hong Kong’s strong international reputation to head the industry in a good direction, ” he said. For many patients, government subsidies will help with the cost of medical treatment. “Chinese medicine and treatment are quite expensive. The consultant and medical fee are over $1,000,” said Ms. Yip, a patient receiving Chinese medicine treatment at the public clinic at Hong Kong Baptist University. “It’s definitely good to have subsidies for patients on Chinese medicine …

18/19 Policy Address: "Lantau Tomorrow Vision” project fuels anxiety among residents

  • 2018-10-10
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Cara Li、Vanessa Yung、Yetta Lam、Katherine LiEdited by: Kenji Chan、Raphael Blet
  • 2018-10-10

Reported by Akane Nakasuji, Cara Li, Vanessa Yung and Yetta Lam Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor unveiled her 2018 policy address today, announcing the launch of a new development project named “Lantau Tomorrow Vision”. The project will create artificial islands to increase the number of residential units and improve people’s livelihoods, she said, in a city where the estimated average waiting time for public housing is five years and three months. The government study on phased reclamation near Kau Yi Chau and Hei Ling Chau, two islands west of Lantau, with a total area of about 1,700 hectares is to start soon. The reclamation could create 400,000 residential units accommodating a population of more than a million, putting Lantau’s population on par with that of Hong Kong Island, with 70% of the blocks planned to be public housing units.   With a land mass of 147 square kilometres, Lantau Island is almost twice the size of Hong Kong Island and four times the size of Macau. The policy address stated that the project would incorporate the government’s long-term vision of a carbon-neutral community making wider use of renewable energies and technologies. But these new plans aren’t all received with enthusiasm. “We need to prioritise fixing-up the New Territories before building up a new island,” said Southern District Councillor and Designing Hong Kong CEO Paul Zimmerman, referring to the unresolved land disputes in the New Territories. Green groups Greenpeace and WWF held a public speech outside the Legco,  requesting the government to prioritize the use of brownfield sites. Samantha Lee Mei-wah, Associate Director of WWF Marine protection Hong Kong Branch, said that the damage to oceans would be irreversible. “The environmental evaluations made by companies are no longer to be trusted. We need to invite independent institutions, such as universities, …

18/19 Policy Address: Chief executive says zero tolerance on Hong Kong independence

  • 2018-10-10
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Amy Ho、Phoebe Lai、Wallis WangEdited by: Erin Chan、Windy LI
  • 2018-10-10

  The Hong Kong government will not tolerate any act that advocates Hong Kong independence and threatens the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said in her annual policy address today. “We will fearlessly take actions against such acts according to the law in order to safeguard the interests of the country and Hong Kong,” Mrs. Lam said. This came a week after Financial Times journalist Victor Mallet’s visa renewal was rejected. Mrs Lam declined to explain the reason, but Mr. Mallet’s visa was turned down after he chaired a talk at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club given by the convenor of the Hong Kong National Party Andy Chan Ho-tin. His party advocates Hong Kong Independence. Mrs. Lam stressed that the chief executive of Hong Kong should be the defender of “one country, two systems”  and promote the relationship between the Chinese government and the HKSAR. “Hong Kong should enhance cooperation with the mainland, including active participation in the development of the Greater Bay Area,” said Mrs. Lam. One example of this cooperation is the new residence permit launched in September, Mrs Lam said, adding that it shows the central government’s support for the HKSAR. The permit allows residents from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan living on the mainland to access public services in employment, education, medical care, travelling and financial services. But the State Council in Beijing has stated that permits can be revoked if a person incites subversion of national sovereignty, security, honour and interest. Terence Lin Chiu-fai, director and researcher at the Beijing Institute of Hong Kong and Macau Scholars, said the residence permit does not play a major part in facilitating cooperation across the border. “The biggest advantage of the new residence permit is to ensure the convenience of the lives …

Health & Environment

18/19 Policy Address: Long-disputed MPF hedging abolished after $36.5B vanished

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Anna Kam、Brison Li、Nadia LamEdited by: Ezra Cheung、Yoyo Chow
  • 2018-10-10

This year's policy address may bring workers in Hong Kong a bit of good news. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said in her second policy address she would abolish the controversial hedging mechanism of the Mandatory Provident Fund. The hedging mechanism enables employers to withdraw money from the pot to offset severance or long-service payments. She also increased government subsidy of employers from 12 years to 25 years. Mrs. Lam added she was to boost the subsidy for employers from $17.2 billion to $29.3 billion to see the business sector through the 25-year transition. Chung Kim-wah, director of the Centre for Social Policy Studies at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, welcomes the abolishment. But he added that the proposal was "unfair to low-income workers" because they are usually bound to a contract which has to renew every year. Not all contract workers receive the MPF benefit. "Some employers will oppose this," said Dr. Chung, who also teaches social welfare at PolyU. "But as the government will subsidise employers with nearly $30 billion, it is unpersuasive for them to reject the proposal. The impact on employers has reduced a lot." But lawmaker Felix Chung Kwok-pan of the pro-business Liberal Party said he felt "very disappointed" with the policy. "We cannot accept the government's policy," said Mr. Chung. "After the cancellation of the MPF offsetting, labour cost will increase by 5.6%." He also complained the business sector would "have to spend $840 billion over the 25 years" under the new policy. Meanwhile, Wong Kwok-kin of pro-labour Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions supports the abolishment and hopes the government will implement it as early as possible. "The government said the legislation would complete in 2024," said Mr. Wong. "The time frame suggested is unreasonably long." Statistics from the MPF Schemes Authority shows …

Politics

18/19 Policy Address: Youth to get more say in public policies and leadership development

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Rachel Yeo、Katherine Li、Oasis LiEdited by: Japson Melanie Jane、Elisa Luk
  • 2018-10-10

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor pledged today to work closely with the Youth Development Commission to encourage more young people to participate in policy discussions and to join outreach programmes. In her second policy address, Mrs. Lam said the Financial Secretary had reserved $1 billion in the Budget this year to support the Youth Development Commission’s work, and of this, $500 million will be allocated to implement a series of programmes. With these funds, Mrs. Lam hopes to increase the proportion of youth members in the advisory committees from 7.8% to 15% in the Pilot Member Self-recommendation Scheme for Youth. Initiated last year, the scheme has attracted over 1500 young people to share their views in different policy areas, including land development, education and social welfares, Mrs. Lam added. Also, the Commission has established a Youth Ambassadors Scheme, which aims to recruit 100 youth people every year who are passionate about serving the community. The ambassadors would be sent to local or international activities to hone their leadership skills. “We feel glad when noticing that Mrs. Lam took our advice to improve the percentage of young people in the government to listen to their suggestions,” said Chiu Man-leong, the vice-chairman of the pro-establishment Young Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. “Different from previous administrations, this one attaches importance to young people’s voices, which is the right direction.” However, Isaac Cheng Ka-long, a member of the pro-democratic political party Demosistō and also its youngest member, expressed disappointment with Carrie Lam’s address. Mr. Cheng said the Chief Executive has reserved a billion dollars for youth development, but half of it will go toward supporting young people to work in the Greater Bay Area as a venture fund. He believes it is obvious that the government is serving the …

Politics

18/19 Policy Address: Career prospects of contract teachers remain uncertain despite additional $4.7 billion in education

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Jo Ng、Karen Kwok、William TsuiEdited by: Erica Chin、Caroline Kwok
  • 2018-10-10

The government will spend an additional $4.7 billion every year on education, including a new Life-wide Learning Grant, more administrative support for schools and more funding for students with special educational needs, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced in the annual policy address today. Of this, $1.5 billion a year will go to equalizing permanent teacher salaries in public primary and secondary schools in the new all-graduate teaching force policy. This policy eliminates the older, and lower-paid, certificated master/mistress teaching positions. “The Government’s expenditure on education is the most meaningful investment in our future and we should treat our teachers nicely,” the chief executive said in her policy address. Around 2,200 more permanent teaching posts were created last year, slightly increasing the teacher-to-class ratio in public schools. However, contract teachers say they are being treated unequally. A report by the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union in 2018 shows that teachers hired on contract are paid 30% less than those in permanent teaching positions. “The all-graduate teaching force policy still fails to ensure that contract teachers can get equal pay because schools can bargain with their salary based on that of permanent teachers’, ”said C.K. Cheng, a contract teacher from a local secondary school. Contract teachers also have poor career prospects. Although more than a third of them have seven years experience and 10% have been teaching for ten years, according to the report, few are offered permanent teaching positions. They also face the pressure of having to renew their contracts every year. “The turnover of teachers on the contract term is high. They don’t know when they will be fired,” said Mr. Cheng. Ip Kin-yuen, Legislative Council member and vice president of Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, said increasing the teacher-to-class ratio is one of the solutions to address …