CityU students vote to leave the federation

CityU students vote to leave the federation

Kenneth Lau

Friday, May 08, 2015

City University of Hong Kong has become the latest body to withdraw from the Hong Kong Federation of Students in its protest at the handling of the Occupy protest movement.

In a week-long referendum, spread across an exam period, about 2,464 students supported the move and only 527 voted against.

The University of Hong Kong, the Polytechnic University and Baptist University quit the student body earlier this year.

Chinese University, the University of Science and Technology, Lingnan University and Shue Yan University remain in the student body.

CityU concern group “CityU SU Independence” member Tang Sheung-fung said while he was surprised at the decision, he is pleased with the result.

“Actually it’s a surprise because it was held during the revision period and an exam when there are fewer students on the campus,” Tang said.

He also said the withdrawal may help the CityU Students’ Union recruit new members who disagree with the federation.

He said some students from the three universities who have pulled out are considering setting up a new student body with better representation.

Tang said details cannot be disclosed as yet, but he is not one of the planners.

“I still need to learn more about it first,” he said.

“For example, will it hijack the students’ views? We disagreed with the federation, but we still think there should be a platform for students to cooperate.”

Sunny Leung Hiu-yeung, external vice president of CityU Students’ Union, said he was not surprised with the result because the referendum was held over seven days.

While he was frustrated with the result, he will respect the students’ choice.

The federation’s deputy secretary-general Wong Ka-fai said he was disappointed.

“The federation is disappointed because many students do not trust it, but we absolutely respect the result,” Wong said.

He said the federation is facing a problem representing students now because four universities have already left the federation.

The federation will pay less attention to social affairs and more to internal reform.

#blacklivesmatter #tdot2bmore Dartmouth Students Demand Gay Black Student President Resign For Being Too Conservative

Students at Dartmouth College launched a petition drive demanding the newly-elected student body president resign after they say he was disrespectful to the plight of American blacks and other marginalized groups.

The twist: The president is a gay black man.

The controversy began last weekend, when a group of demonstrators paraded through Hanover, N.H. on Friday and Saturday in solidarity with those protesting police brutality in Baltimore. At one point during the Saturday protests, the demonstrators assembled outside the sorority Kappa Delta Epsilon, which was hosting an invite-only Kentucky Derby party. The students targeted the party as a bastion of racism, exclusion and oppression.

One of those in attendance at the party was Frank Cunningham, who last month was elected as the college’s Student Assembly president. Cunningham was allegedly insulted by one of the protesters, who supposedly called him a derogatory name along the lines of “Uncle Tom.” Following the attack, Cunningham engaged in a spat with the protester, which was captured on video. Cunningham is the man in white on the left.

Beijing boosting healthcare subsidies

The mainland will increase its healthcare subsidies by 19 percent this year as part of efforts to deepen social reforms and strengthen safety nets, the central government said.

Government healthcare subsidies for qualified urban and rural residents will be raised to 380 yuan (US$61.21), from 320 yuan last year, the cabinet said in a statement posted on the website of the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

Measures will also be taken to reduce the cost of drugs and medical checks, reform the salaries of healthcare workers and increase the availability of doctors in rural areas, the statement said.

The mainland has a scarcity of doctors, partly caused by low wages. That has led to bottlenecks at hospitals, and doctors sometimes accept bribes from frustrated patients who want to receive better medical attention.

Out-of-pocket expenses for patients can also be high due to low insurance coverage.

Economists say it is crucial for Beijing to improve the quality of the mainland’s healthcare if it wishes to remake the economy and boost domestic consumption. They say a stronger safety net will encourage mainlanders to spend more and save less.

LDP seeks all-party talks on revising pacifist Constitution

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party called Thursday for all-party talks on revising the Constitution in areas they can agree upon, in an apparent bid to lower the bar for a first-ever revision of the U.S.-drafted charter.

The LDP aims to ultimately revise war-renouncing Article 9, a controversial proposal which presented by itself is unlikely to win early accord, opinion polls show.

Hajime Funada, head of the LDP’s body pushing for revisions, told the first discussion at the Lower House Commission on the Constitution since last November that parties should discuss amendments in spheres such as emergencies, environmental rights and fiscal discipline — areas which are more likely to secure cross-party support.

“It is urgent to stipulate in the Constitution (matters) such as extending the serving term of lawmakers in the event of large-scale disasters,” he said Thursday.

The LDP released a draft of potential amendments to the Constitution in 2012, which Funada said shows the direction in which the party would like to head — such as defining the Emperor as head of state.

He also said the LDP is willing to make concessions to other parties in order to gain the two-thirds support in both chambers of the Diet to hold a national referendum on amending the Constitution, as Article 96 stipulates.

“It’s an important responsibility of the Diet to discuss positive Constitutional revision that matches the time, and to draw a conclusion,” Funada said.

For the charter to be amended, more than 50 percent of the public must vote in favor of doing so in a national referendum. But opinion polls show a majority of people oppose revising Article 9, which has remained untouched since its enactment in 1947.

Five of the six parties that took part in the meeting agreed they should talk about the addition of articles to the Constitution dealing with emergencies, given that the nation is prone to natural disasters. The Japan Communist Party opposed the proposition.

Koichi Takemasa, a member of the Democratic Party of Japan, argued that the parties should first discuss the LDP’s fundamental view that the Constitution needs to be revised because it was imposed by the U.S. during its occupation from the end of World War II until 1952.

Meanwhile, Akira Nagatsuma, deputy head of the DPJ, criticized the LDP’s plan to amend the Constitution in stages starting with less controversial issues to gain support from other parties and the public, before embarking on its ultimate goal to amend Article 9.

Funada rejected this reasoning, saying it is natural to begin with topics in which other parties share an interest.

The LDP’s 2012 draft includes amending Article 9, which bans the maintenance of a military and the use of force to settle international disputes. The change would formally allow Japan to give the Self-Defense Forces the status of a military.