I went on a trip to legco (as everyone here likes to call it) today, organized by the office of international student exchange–and a grand total of 6 of us showed up.
I was surprised that I actually knew some of the topics being discussed. Session started at 11 AM with the Patents Amendment Bill–proposing TRIPS-compliant modifications that would allow the government to manufacture drugs off-patent in cases of public health emergencies (precisely what I wrote my patent theory paper on). The payment that the patent owner would receive in cases of compulsory licensing will apparently be decided on an ad hoc basis, but interestingly capped at a maximum of 4% of the price of the drug.
the comprehensive social security assistance (CSSA) scheme was also on the agenda, a topic which I had looked into briefly for one of my classes here. was surprised to learn that a “4-P” family (presumably 4-person? not sure) is supposed to be able to live on HKD$9000 per month.
our group stayed until 12.30, when we had to catch our bus back. a bit more than half the number of council members were actually in session today, though it was kinda hard to say as people were trickling in and out… the organizer of our trip–a british expat who has lived here over 30 years–pointed out Martin Lee, who was quite vocal about being pro-democracy before the 1997 takeover–and also Audrey Eu, who she thought was another “good liberal” (apparently meaning not radical, which she attributed to Eu’s legal background). unfortunately “long-hair” Leung Kwok-Hung was not there today.
another thing I didn’t get to hear were the “questions for written replies”–though they were listed on the agenda, including the following hot topic addressed to the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs:
(translated) It was reported that while speaking on the issue of universal suffrage at a meeting with senior representatives of the media on the 21st of last month, the Chief Executive said, “I would like to tell Emily LAU and the likes of her that what (the models for universal suffrage) they demand can only be found in heaven indeed”. He also described the proposals for universal suffrage consolidating the views of various sectors as “雜種” (i.e. “half-breed”). In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:
(a) of the proposals referred to as “雜種” by CE, and whether he will withdraw the use of the term “雜種”, which is both insulting and racially discriminatory;
(b) of the reasons for CE to comment that the models for universal suffrage demanded by Emily LAU and the likes of her (i.e. the electoral models completely in line with the principle of universal and equal suffrage) can only be found in heaven indeed; and
(c) given that CE had openly ruled out the electoral models which are completely in line with the principle of universal and equal suffrage, whether this indicates that the green paper on constitutional development to be published by the authorities in the middle of this year will not contain any proposal for the true implementation of universal suffrage?