China Daily (Hong Kong)

Expert calls for plugging electoral loopholes in HK

- Yang Zekun

A Chinese academic has called for changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system to plug loopholes so that the principle of “patriots governing Hong Kong” can be fully implemente­d.

Most countries examine the qualificat­ions of their election candidates and have some basic principles to ensure the candidates running for public office are patriots, said He Junzhi, deputy head of the Chinese Associatio­n of Hong

Kong and Macao Studies.

The inadequacy of such regulation­s in Hong Kong gives plenty of space to anti-China rioters, said He, who is also executive deputy director of the Institute of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Developmen­t Studies at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, Guangdong’s provincial capital.

He said many loopholes in Hong Kong’s electoral system were exposed during the district council election in 2019 and during some preliminar­y procedures in the runup to the Legislativ­e Council election originally scheduled for last year.

Many necessary rules were not in place or had not been fully implemente­d, such as regulation­s on the oath-taking system for public employees and qualificat­ions for election candidates, he added.

Condemning the so-called primary election organized by anti-China rioters and opposition political groups last year ahead of the original date of the Legislativ­e Council election, He said it had neither legal effect nor constituti­onal basis.

Some candidates running for election threatened to veto the budget introduced by the Hong Kong Special Administra­tive Region government before they even saw it, which was a total loss of the most basic political ethics, He said.

He said the political underrepre­sentation of some sectors in Hong Kong tended to amplify the voices of extreme opposition forces within the system and prevented the voices of other sectors from being fully expressed.

“This lack of proper representa­tion leads the outside world to believe that extreme opposition forces represent the whole of Hong Kong,” he said. “The situation must be rectified.”

In recent years, some anti-China disrupters in Hong Kong, including some Legislativ­e Council members, actively colluded with foreign forces and acted as agents of anti-China forces in Western countries, posing serious threats to national security, He said.

Any public servant who has blatantly acted as an agent of Western countries has obviously violated the principle of “patriots governing Hong Kong”, he said.

“They must be subject to legal punishment and disqualifi­ed from holding public office in Hong Kong,” He said.

External wall cleaners get up at 5 am and work from 8 am to 5 pm. They earn about 8,000 yuan ($1,240) a month, sending about half to their families.

The work is physically and mentally tiring, leaving them with little time or energy to learn new skills. Some said they wanted to change jobs, but they had no other skills.

Few employers hire cleaners age 50 and older because of their declining health, meaning many of today’s workers may lose their jobs in the coming years.

None of the people I spoke with knew what they would do if that were to happen.

A lot of white-collar employees face similar situations and are trapped by work and life.

Many companies assure their employees that their hard work will result in promotion and they pitch the 9-9-6 schedule — working from 9 am to 9 pm, six days a week.

In 2019, Jack Ma, former executive chairman of Alibaba Group, said the 9-9-6 schedule was a great blessing, but few companies or workers are in a position to implement it.

Although white-collar workers receive extra pay for working overtime, they eventually discover that the hidden cost may be time and health, two of the most valuable things in life.

While we have been taught that hard work pays off, the effort of repeating the same actions every day is not conducive to personal developmen­t.

A friend of mine who has two master’s degrees copied documents and served tea at a university for a year. His supervisor assured him that he would be promoted sooner or later, but he quit the job.

The knowledge and technologi­es in various fields are being upgraded fast, and machines can even replace humans in some positions such as bank tellers and assembly line workers.

So, if we fail to keep learning new things and broaden our horizons, we become less competitiv­e.

Many people who lose their jobs at about age 40 due to company reforms and layoffs find it hard to land new work because most companies prefer to hire younger employees who learn quickly.

We should be well-prepared and make full use of our spare time to learn new things and try as many new fields as possible. Fresh knowledge

and the ability to learn are not only helpful for our current jobs, but they may also offer an edge in the event of being laid off.

URUMQI — Electricia­n Selebke Kalenbek recalled his near-death experience on a mountain ridge 14 years ago as if it had happened yesterday.

After installing a new electrical circuit for a local villager, the 48-year-old meandered along a narrow mountain trail with his horse. Suddenly, an avalanche sent a large mass of snow down, pushing him and his horse to the bottom of the pass.

“The part of my body below my chest was numb and my horse couldn’t move either,” he said of the incident in January 2007. “I was scared to death. I thought I would never see my wife and children again. I cried.”

Amid the howling of wolves, he groped for the foot buckle used for climbing telephone poles, and gradually dug the snow away. He eventually removed enough snow so that the horse could wriggle its body and free itself.

Selebke Kalenbek and the horse returned to the power supply station at about 5 am. He lit a fire, got forage for the horse and covered it with a coat before taking off his shoes and warming himself.

Selebke Kalenbek is also head of the power supply station of Terekti township run by State Grid Xinjiang Electric Power, located in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Called a “carrier of light” by locals, he has been at the station for over 18 years, guaranteei­ng the power supply, creating awareness about electricit­y usage and doing chores for local herders, like installing light fittings and fixing fuses.

The township was connected to the power grid in 2003, and since then local herders have enjoyed access to electricit­y. However, the high-voltage lines crossing the

mountainou­s area are vulnerable to lightning, avalanches and floods and require routine maintenanc­e.

Selebke Kalenbek volunteere­d to fill the vacancy 18 years ago. When he left his home and came to the township he had no work colleagues or a place to live and his horse was his only companion.

Each day he rode to inspect village power lines and help herders when their power supply failed or their houses needed a new light fitting or power switch.

“At that time, locals had poor safety awareness about electricit­y usage. I was afraid that they would have safety problems, so I was at their beck and call no matter how trivial the issue was,” he said.

However, work wasn’t without its dangers. The 2007 avalanche happened after he had helped install an electric circuit in the home of Qadat Qyidula.

“It took me several years to learn that he almost died when he returned that night,” said Qadat Qyidula, 69, who raised his two grandchild­ren on his basic living allowance after both his son and wife died.

After learning of his plight, the electricit­y worker regularly visited Qadat Qyidula and his grandchild­ren to lend a helping hand, bringing them bags of flour and money.

Through the years, Selebke Kalenbek has befriended the locals. Every time he visits their houses, he is usually offered a cup of hot milk tea and a doughnut-like treat.

He is also familiar with the difficult terrain, which includes zigzagging paths and pitfalls hidden by snow.

“Don’t walk in the middle between the birch tree and the redwood tree during winter as there is a snow-covered pit in between and you will fall into it,” Selebke Kalenbek told one colleague about a tricky spot.

Currently, he has three colleagues, and his mode of transporta­tion changed from horse to a snowmobile in 2019, slashing his patrolling time from 15 hours to two.

Selebke Kalenbek said the patrols give him the most job satisfacti­on. “We patrol the villages as usual to ensure the power supply for the locals,” he said.

 ?? YANG JIANZHENG / FOR CHINA DAILY ?? Workers clean a window at the Shanghai World Financial Center on Feb 9, just before Spring Festival.
YANG JIANZHENG / FOR CHINA DAILY Workers clean a window at the Shanghai World Financial Center on Feb 9, just before Spring Festival.
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 ??  ?? Electricia­ns with State Grid Xinjiang Electric Power work on a power transmissi­on tower in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in September. Employees of State Grid Xinjiang Electric Power work on an engineerin­g project in Aksu, Xinjiang, in October.
Electricia­ns with State Grid Xinjiang Electric Power work on a power transmissi­on tower in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in September. Employees of State Grid Xinjiang Electric Power work on an engineerin­g project in Aksu, Xinjiang, in October.
 ?? PHOTOS BY HU HUHU / XINHUA ?? From left:

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