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Multimedia: Hong Kong's sixth chief executive election

The sixth chief executive election was held last Sunday. John Lee Ka-chiu, becomes the chief executive-elect with over 99% support from the Election Committee. The Young Reporter documented this first uncontested election in the city.

Society

People got trouble with quarantine in mainland after escaping from the pandemic in Hong Kong

As the pandemic hit Hong Kong with unprecedented Omicron variants, many people working and studying in the city have started their journey to escape to mainland since mid February to avoid the health crisis. However, the poor living condition, extraordinary high prices and awful food during the 21-day quarantine caused a lot of inconvenience to the people longing to return home.

Society

John Lee Ka-chiu confirmed to be the new leader in Hong Kong

John Lee Ka-chiu, 64, the sole candidate, secured his seat as the sixth chief executive in Hong Kong today with only eight votes against him.  Lee won 1,416 votes out of 1,428, including four blank votes, gaining trust from over 99% from the election committee, a record high of support. Thirty-three members did not vote. “With loyalty and perseverance, I shall undertake this historic mission and shoulder this responsibility to unite and lead the 7.4 million Hong Kong people to start a new chapter together,” Lee said at the press conference after being elected. This is the first chief executive election since Beijing’s election reform ensuring governance by “patriots only”. It is also the first uncontested chief executive election in Hong Kong since its handover. “I extend my sincere congratulations to Mr John Lee on his successful election and later today,” said Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the current chief executive, in a statement today. “We will render all the support needed for the assumption of office by the new term of government.” Lee will take over as chief executive on July 1.  The chief executive is chosen by the election committee, a body that has been expanded from 1,200 to 1,500 members after the electoral system reform and includes representatives from different sectors.  “The election committee members are very responsive and completed their responsibility,” said Tam Yiu-chung, member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, also the Lee’s campaign manager. “This is an important event in Hong Kong. The sixth chief executive will be elected under the new election system. We wish Hong Kong to begin a new chapter and a good development.” Lee, a former police officer, handled the anti-extradition bill protests in 2019 as Secretary for Security.  Lee’s latest ratings plunged to a new low of 34.8 between March 7 …

Society

Desperate for drugs during the lockdown in China

Liu Tian, 27, in Changchun, Jilin province, suffers from a major depressive disorder. She has been off her medication for ten days since the city went into lockdown due to COVID-19 in March. Her medicine is only available at three pharmacies in the city far away from her home, and she cannot get it delivered. She tried to contact epidemic prevention staff in the community and the hospital for help. The community staff issued her an emergency medication certificate, but she could not go to the hospital because of local traffic control.  As a result, she had headaches, was irritated and emotionally unstable. She tried calling the hospital’s emergency number but was told that they were only responsible for emergency care and not prescriptions. “I don't want to keep looking for medicine anymore because I'm afraid of being rejected again,” Liu said. “When I was at my worst, I even thought about committing suicide.” Beijing has been sticking to the "dynamic zero tolerance" strategy for Covid. That means even a few positive cases would trigger a lockdown followed by large-scale testing.  During the lockdown, no one can travel and delivery services are limited. Chronically ill patients like Liu Tian face difficulties purchasing medications. They turn to local community staff, volunteers, and netizens for help. Cheng Yulong, 51, has diabetes. “My blood sugar level kept rising, and I was really desperate. I cannot solely rely on the blood sugar-lowering medications because they are not as effective as insulin,” he said. When the lockdown started in Changchun in early March, he had to stay at the construction site where he had been working for almost 30 days, but he only carried a limited amount of insulin.  The insulin Cheng needed was sold out in the nearby pharmacies. He sought help from community …

Society

BRISBANE | Labour Day events in Queensland, Australia

Thousands of union members have flooded Brisbane’s CBD for the Labour Day parade in the capital of the State of Queensland in Australia today. The Labour Day events are organised by the Queensland Council of Unions, affiliated with the Australian Labor Party. The Queensland Council of Unions said that the event acknowledges the improvements made to the lives of working people and to society by the labour movement. Political figures from the Labor Party have participated in the parade. Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Premier of Queensland, marched along with Anthony Albanese, the Leader of the Opposition of Australia. Michelle Rae, the Queensland director of Media and Entertainment and Arts Alliance, said their goal in this parade is to raise awareness for press freedom and remind the rights of freelancers in the media industry. She explained that the Labour Day parade in general brings collective power to fight for a better working environment and holidays that labourers  deserve. “The parade can bring a new generation along, and at the same time, it can give Union members a chance to talk about their reality,” said Rae. The march ended with live music shows and booths that provided refreshments for participants at Brisbane Showgrounds after an hour's walk.  

Society

Second phase of vaccine pass kicks in today

  Second phase of the vaccine pass starts today. Visitors aged 18 or above should have received at least two doses of Covid-19 vaccinations to enter specific premises such as restaurants and supermarkets. The new arrangement has tightened the vaccination requirement compared to the first phase, people receiving only the first dose are no longer allowed to visit the listed premises. Special groups such as children aged under 12 and holders of medical exemption certificates are exempted. Tammy Lam, 21, said that most of the visitors tend to neglect the “LeaveHomeSafe” QR code before entering shopping malls, according to his observation.  “As there are no regular checks on whether people have scanned the ‘LeaveHomeSafe’ QR code, I doubt the effectiveness of the vaccine pass,” Lam said. Cherry Chan, 60, was infected with Covid-19 on March 7, but did not receive any vaccination beforehand. She failed to report her positive result on government websites.  “I cannot download the Recovery Record QR Code as there is no recovery record in the Department of Health’s system,” Chan said. The QR code serves as a vaccine pass for Covid patients for the following 180 days after recovery.  Though Chan is recommended to take the first dose earliest on the 30th day after recovery, according to the guideline offered by the Department of Health, she will not receive the vaccination, and opt for takeaway instead.  “Operators of catering businesses are required to use the ‘QR Code Verification Scanner’ mobile app developed by the Government to scan the QR code of a customer's vaccination record or Medical Exemption Certificate or recovery record to ensure compliance with the active checking requirements,” said the government spokesman on April 28. A maximum fine of HK$50,000 and imprisonment for six months will be charged for violating the rules, according to …

Society

No more vaping: HK’s ban on vapes and e-cigarette sales, import starts tomorrow

Starting Saturday, Hongkongers can no longer buy vaping products or e-cigarettes in the city. The anti-smoking ordinance, which was passed by lawmakers in October and goes into effect on April 30, bans the import, promotion, manufacture, sale and possession for commercial purposes of alternative smoking products, including electronic smoking products, heated tobacco products, herbal cigarettes and smoking accessories. Offenders are subject to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months.  Personal vaping is still allowed, but lawmakers hope the new regulation will discourage young people from starting smoking. The policy is to protect public health by encouraging people not to smoke, reducing the prevalence of tobacco use and reducing the public's exposure to secondhand smoke, Secretary for Food and Health, Sophia Chan Siu-chee, said in the Legislative Council on October 21, 2021. The Heated Tobacco Concern Group said the legislation is more likely to encourage cigarette smuggling as the new ban does not prohibit the consumption of e-cigarettes. “I believe that some of the e-cigarettes users will insist on using heated cigarettes and will buy pods illegally, such as on the black market,” Joe Lo Kai-lut, the convener of the Heated Tobacco Concern Group, said in a press conference in September. In the group’s survey of nearly 1,000 e-cigarette smokers, almost 90% said they would go back to traditional cigarettes, while the rest said they would buy cigarettes on the black market if the government has a total ban on e-cigarettes. “Since most people have the habit of smoking traditional cigarettes, a large number of e-cigarette users are expected to return to traditional cigarettes if they don't want to break the law,” Lo said in the press conference. Wong Tung An, 30, an e-cigarette smoker for two years, said that the new ban will be ineffective in helping …

Society

TYR was to win Human Rights Press Awards; FCC cancels awards

The Young Reporter is proud to announce that it was scheduled to win two Human Rights Press Awards this year before the Foreign Correspondents’ Club cancelled the awards on Monday, just days before the winners were to be announced.  Former TYR reporters and editors Sara Cheng, Simran Vaswani and Kylan Goh were to win both first and second place in the university student category, according to the award list leaked to Hong Kong Free Press. The TYR story Running District Councils in absence of colleagues arrested under NSL: work and a doubtful fate, reported by Cheng and edited by Goh, was to be the winner in the student category. The TYR article reported the difficulties faced by district councillors after colleagues were arrested under the National Security Law. “The reporter’s rigour and resolve in tackling a sensitive topic in a city with diminishing press freedoms, where so few people are actually willing to speak on these issues in the wake of the National Security Law (NSL),” said the judges’ comments. The other winner in this category was scheduled to be a report by U-Beat Magazine, published by journalism students at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Another TYR story, ‘It’s either them or us’: desperate protestors take to Myanmar streets as junta uses arrests, violence to keep power, reported by Cheng and edited by Vaswani, was scheduled to win a merit prize. The judges’ comments said the report “stood out for quality and comprehensive reporting”. The documentary Pledging Allegiance reported by San Po Yan Magazine, TYR’s sister publication, the Chinese-language newspaper run by journalism students at Hong Kong Baptist University, was also scheduled to win a merit in the same category, along with reports by U-Beat Magazine and Varsity, also published by journalism students at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.  …

Society

Hong Kong's health care system under stress during the fifth wave of Covid-19

Wong Sze-kai, 30, is a frontline doctor at the Accident and Emergency Department. He feels that some of his patients are "waiting to die". “They were lying on the ground. No meals, no medicine, and no one can help them change their diapers. It’s a living hell,” he said.  As the number of older and critically ill Covid-19 patients continues to mount, Hong Kong’s public hospitals, especially their Accidents and Emergency Departments, are under intense pressure.  Hundreds of  infected elderly people in need of treatment and oxygen had no alternative but to stay in the A&E wards, in corridors, or in lobbies because there was no space in the general wards. “I've heard a few junior nurses cry, not for themselves, but because of the pitiful sight of the patients,” Wong said. As of March 27, nine of the city’s 16 public hospitals reached full occupancy, according to the Hospital Authority’s figures. Wong said the very purpose of creating the Hospital Authority 30 years ago was to tackle the same problems of overloading capacity in hospitals with long waiting times that have been faced year after year. But the problem still exists even before Covid hit the city. Sunny Ho, 22, is a nurse from the Specialist Outpatient Department at Queen Mary Hospital, one of the 10 public hospitals that have been stretched to the limits during the outbreak of the fifth wave of Covid. “The guidelines are constantly changing. The government imposed too many unnecessary preventive measures, adding to the burden on the medical staff. For example, as soon as there was a case, they immediately closed the lift and the overpass and did a lot of contact tracing,” Ho said. “But now the outbreak is a mess. There is not enough manpower and resources to follow the previous …

Society

M+ museum reopened after a three-month closure

The M+ museum reopened on Thursday as the social distancing restraints relaxed. Residents visited the museum after the Tiananmen satires had been replaced with new installations.