Young people provide target for video on Basic Law exhibition

Young people provide target for video on Basic Law exhibition

Monday, May 04, 2015

The government yesterday released a video to drum up young people’s interest in an exhibition on the Basic Law.

The exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of History opened a month ago to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the adoption and promulgation of the mini-constitution by the National People’s Congress on April 4, 1990.

The two-minute, 21-second video posted on the government information website follows controversy over a new Education Bureau teaching kit on the Basic Law launched on Wednesday for secondary schools.

It sparked criticism that the government is trying to “brainwash” students and push Beijing’s view.

The video at the Museum of History show has Daisy Lo Chi-yun, the principal assistant secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, saying she hopes the Basic Law exhibition will attract a young crowd.

“We would like to draw our youngsters’ attention so that they can learn more about the Basic Law, and arouse public interest in reading this constitutional document, which is the most important document in Hong Kong,” Lo said.

The exhibition features “valuable pieces and photographs from an important time in Hong Kong’s past,” a government press release said.

Exhibits include wax figures of Deng Xiaoping and Margaret Thatcher meeting for the negotiations on Hong Kong’s future in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People in 1982.

The figures were produced by the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts to commemorate the first anniversary of the handover.

The lecterns used at the handover ceremony on July 1, 1997, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre are also on display. Among documents is the public consultation paper on the Basic Law issued in 1988.

The Exhibition of the 25th Anniversary of the Promulgation of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China runs until May 25.


LDP gears up to revise Constitution

Japan’s conservative ruling party is gearing up for a new push to achieve its long-sought goal of revising the country’s U.S.-drafted postwar Constitution. Its first challenge: winning over a divided public.

Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers and other supporters rallied Friday ahead of Sunday’s Constitution Day holiday, when Japan’s democratic and war-renouncing charter took effect 68 years ago.

The party, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has resumed meetings of its constitutional revision panel after a two-year recess, and last week started distributing a cartoon pamphlet to raise public awareness and drum up support.

Backers of a revision denounce the 1947 Constitution as one imposed by the United States, which occupied Japan from the end of World War II until 1952. They say it’s outdated and inadequate for today’s society.

Amending the Constitution won’t be easy. But if successful, the LDP hopes to introduce a proposed revision after next year’s Upper House election.

They have achieved some of their key policy goals in defense, national security and other areas, so Abe and his party members can now focus on the Constitution.

“Obstacles for a revision to the Constitution have been mostly removed,” participants said in a resolution adopted at the end of Friday’s rally, attended by hundreds of lawmakers and supporters. “The only remaining issue that we need to address is the sovereign people.”

Hajime Funada, head of the LDP’s team promoting constitutional revision, said it’s time to begin discussing details of a proposed revision. He says the party plans to make revisions in several waves, and that he hopes to make a first round of revisions within two years.

The party has advocated revision for decades, but has had difficulty convincing the public.

Opponents have expressed concerns the revisions will backpedal from democracy and individual rights.

A 2012 draft proposed by the LDP promoted a conformist Japan with traditional patriarchal values, which place family units above individuals and elevate the emperor to head of state, rather than symbol of the state. It says civil liberties such as freedom of speech and expression can be restricted if considered harmful to the public interest. The draft also called for amending Article 9 of the Constitution, which bans the maintenance of war potential and the use of force to settle international disputes, to formally upgrade the Self-Defense Forces to a military, while keeping pacifist promises.

Over the years, Japan has steadily expanded its defense role by reinterpreting war-renouncing Article 9. Abe’s government last July made another reinterpretation of it that allows Japan’s military to defend the U.S. and other foreign armed forces even when Japan isn’t under direct attack, a major change that took place without formally revising the Constitution.

The move has upset much of the public. Many see Abe’s reinterpretation as undermining the Constitution and democracy, and have raised skepticism about the process.

“It was an unnatural, wrong procedure not expected under the Constitution, and many people are aware of that,” Asaho Mizushima, a Waseda University law professor, told a televised interview, speaking of the most recent reinterpretation.

Funada said the LDP is open to further discussion and changes, and that the party plans to keep a divisive Article 9 revision till the end.

Former Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, 96, has long campaigned for a revision and told Friday’s rally that the current Constitution is “too abstract” and lacks values and principles based on Japan’s own traditions.

“I would like to raise public awareness with our active discussions and earnest efforts so we can advance on a new path toward revising the Constitution,” he said. “I hope to fire up debate on the Constitution this year as we mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.”

DC #GamerGate meetup disrupted by ‘feminist bomb threat’

A 250-strong meetup of GamerGate supporters, which included game developers, journalists and think-tank scholars were evacuated from a bar in Washington D.C on Friday after an anonymous bomb threat was made against the gathering.

This followed an unsuccessful social media campaign spearheaded by anti-GamerGate Salon columnist Arthur Chu to convince the bar’s proprietors to voluntarily eject GamerGate supporters from their establishment.

The event was the largest GamerGate gathering so far, with somewhere between 200 and 300 attendees. It follows a trend toward offline organising by its supporters, who up until recently have tended to congregate on social media and image boards.

The event was held at the Local 16 in Washington, DC, hosted by Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos and featuring AEI resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers as its guest of honour. Although primarily attended by gamers, a wide range of journalists were also at the event, including author and Reason magazine contributor Cathy Young, Daily Callercolumnist and policy analyst Mytheos Holt, and Washington Examiner columnist Ashe Schow.

Police arrived on the scene at approximately 12:15am, just over three hours after the meetup had kicked off. The evacuation began immediately, causing particular difficulty for the event’s two disabled attendees, who had to be carried down from the second floor. The other floors of the bar, which were occupied by regular customers, was also evacuated.