All fronts are quiet

 Dalai Lama is in talk with the China authority

In my previous blog, I called for Dalai Lama and the China authority to open up a dialogue so as to resolve the Tibet issue amicably. It is reported by the China Daily News on Monday, 5 May that the talk between the two parties of last Sunday ended in a friendly atmosphere and the next round of talk would be scheduled in an appropriate time. The China authority issued a statement setting out the conditions upon which the talk should be based, the relevant part of which is quoted below:-

According to Zhu and Sitar (the representatives of the China authority), it is the hope of the central government that to create conditions for the next round of contact and consultation, the Dalai side would live up to their word and take credible action to stop activities aimed at splitting China, stop plotting and inciting violence, and stop disrupting and sabotaging the Beijing Olympic Games, the sources said.

The officials said the Lhasa riots had jeopardized the fundamental interests of all the Chinese including Tibetans.

The statement sets out the premises upon which the talk is to be carried out. The tone of the statement appears to be rather patronizing. The same tactic was used when China carried out the negotiation with the British for the handover of Hong Kong in the 1990s.  As I said before, I am all for the unity of China for all races. I hope both sides would compromise and work out a satisfactory resolution.  

Hong Kong and the Olympic torch

The Olympic torch relay in Hong Kong  ended without a hitch on last Friday, 2 May, which was to my surprise. I thought the “trouble makers” would make a scene as they probably would get a lot of publicity for doing so in Hong Kong. It seemed all eyes were watching and Hong Kong is the closest they could get to Mainland China (other than Macau). Prior to that Dalai Lama and the China authority already agreed to meet. May be there was the reason that the relay in Hong Kong ended peacefully. One good thing came out of this was that hundred thousands of people from Hong Kong and nearby China cities had an opportunity to have a party and to see their celebrities and politicians running in the street.

The next spot for the Olympic torch relay will be the stop at Mount Everest of the Himalayas Mountain (through Tibet), whereby we will have a chance to see the beautiful scenery there and the reactions of the Tibetans.

Hong Kong rang in record tax revenue

It is reported that the Hong Kong government collected a record HK$200.7 billion (or US$25.7 billion) in tax revenue in the fiscal year ended 31 March 2008, which was a whopping 29% increase over 2007. It was firing from all cylinders. Due to the much improved Hong Kong economy, moneys poured in from different sectors, from business profits, personal incomes, stock market and property stamp duties and revenues from the sale of land (which is a rare commodity in Hong Kong). In order to get rid of some of its huge income, the government had announced in the early part of this year certain benefit packages to its citizens, including a tax rebate to salary taxpayers and cash handouts to senior and underprivileged citizens.

This record tax revenue is to the envy of many countries. However, Hong Kong was not without its difficult times. During the early years of 2000, Hong Kong experienced consecutive years of budget deficit. The year of 2003 was one of  the toughest years in Hong Kong history financially, as Hong Kong was in a deep recession coming after the heel of the SARS debacle, which caused the credit rating agency Fitch  to downgrade its rating in 2004 over the concern of the then prevailing budget deficits. As Hong Kong people have short memories, I hope they would not forget the then painful experience. Other than that, I would just like to say “Let the good time roll”.