法律、倫理與天堂文件 Law, Ethics and The Paradise Papers

Whilst the releasing this week of the Paradise Papers has lead to much debate on the legal and ethical issues concerning the operation of offshore financial entities, Evan notes little is written or said about the wider context of the relationship between ethics, law, taxation, sovereignty and the social contract. This, he argues, is what many people find so disconcerting: that the industry exposes an internal contradiction within the foundation of what we have come to accept as a modern and just society.

編按: 本週流出的「天堂文件」引發了諸多爭論,當中主要圍繞離岸金融實體運作的法律和倫理問題。 Evan 指出,關於倫理、法律、稅收、主權和社會契約之間更廣泛的關係,並未有太多的討論。他認為,這些關係是許多人覺得如此令人不安:這個行業暴露出的矛盾,卻是遠超我們所接受的現代公正社會基礎之外。

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Never mind the partisan labels: the real loser of Hong Kong’s by-elections was our political system

The results of this month’s Legislative Council by-election were split evenly between the pro-democracy and pro-establishment camps, with each returning two of the four seats contested.

The results however do represent a loss for the pro-democracy camp, given that the by-election was called following the disqualification of four of pro-democracy legislators. The loss of these two seats is an effective loss, as the pan-democrats will no longer have sufficient seats in the Legislative Council to veto legislation. Indeed, two further seats may be vacated pending upcoming court rulings.

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A New Year’s message to Hong Kong: let us celebrate our diversity

Hong Kong has a lot going for it. Victoria Harbour is world renowned, a natural and man-made haven that has sheltered a variety of merchantmen from stormy weather.

The city of the same name, once perched precariously on the steep slopes of mountains that rise majestically from the South China Sea, now stands a beacon of modernity — and yet, between its towering skyscrapers, streets and alleyways full of business, life continues.

Then there is Kowloon, the sister city across the water, built in the shadow of the Lion Rock. It is a city developed along connections, between roads that once ran from the waterfront fort to the colonial boundary, and others that long ago linked local settlements and clans to the North. Through its heart runs the first boulevard in China, Nathan Road.

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Far more than fiscal incentives, Hong Kong deserves a system of public finance founded on 21st century values

The government’s 2018 budget address has generally been positively received. Paul Chan, the Financial Secretary, glows in an almost embarrassment of riches.

Last year the economy grew by 3.7 per cent, whilst inflation fell to 1.7 per cent. Government revenues continue to grow, and a record surplus of HK$138 billion was recorded for the last financial year.

Hong Kong now has HK$1.1 trillion in reserves, and another HK$3.6 trillion in the Exchange Fund. For any city in the world — indeed for most sovereign states — these would be outstanding figures.

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An undeserved Peace Prize nomination ought not be a distraction from Hong Kong’s democratic movement

The news that two influential members of the US Republican Party, Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Chris Smith, the respective chair and co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, intended to nominate Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang for the Nobel Peace Prize came as a surprise.

My initial reaction was one of disbelief. It was a reaction shared among almost everyone I know, regardless of political persuasion. However, as is so sadly to be expected, this unusual source of unity had to be dismissed. “The yellow-ribbon people in Hong Kong are ecstatic. The “bluer” commentators and politicians, though, have expressed outrage and bafflement.”

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‘Two Systems, One Colony’: The Small House Policy is a reminder of the duality of Hong Kong’s past 丁屋政策 — 殖民時期香港的雙重制度

As controversy continues to rage over illegal structures and land use, Evan considers the Small House Policy, and the history behind it and the relationship between the villagers of the New Territories and the government. There was always Two Systems in operation. Sadly he sees that it is the urban system of liberal values and rule of law that is under greater challenge today.

編按:非法僭建與佔用土地的爭議繼續升溫之下, Evan 認為這種爭議源於丁屋政策、背後的歷史與新界村民與政府之間的關係——香港一直以來都有兩種制度並行。而丁權正正衝擊自由主義價值觀與法治城市體系,使到今天的香港正處於更大的挑戰之中。

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Tolerant, diverse, multicultural: People are at the heart of the Hong Kong story

Evan reflects on The Hong Kong Story, a documentary produced just before the 1997 handover. It documents a different city, one not defined by the flag but by its people. It was a city that recognised its diverse ethnic, cultural and national identities, not only among western immigrants but also among its Chinese community. This was the Hong Kong that Evan remembers.

編按: Evan 於本文回顧於 1997 年回歸前拍攝的「香江故事」。該片記錄了一個與現在截然不同的城市,一個不是由旗幟而由其人民定義的城市。這個城市不僅承認其來自西方的移民,也承認了華人社區中的民族多樣性、文化和民族特色。 Evan 認為這才是香港。

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一隻狗的故事與香港中產善變的態度 A dog’s life, and changing attitudes among Hong Kong’s middle class

編按:這故事是關於 Evan 家中小狗——雖然可能只是軼事,但亦悲哀地反映了香港變遷,是其中一件顯示出這個城市擁有特權的人之間表現出越來越自我中心與不合理態度的事。

This is the story of Evan’s family dog. It is a story that reflects sadly on a way Hong Kong has changed. It may be anecdotal, but it is one of many that demonstrate an increasing ego and unreasonableness among the city’s more privileged people.

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