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Interview with Paddy Ashdown, former leader of UK Liberal Democrats, Kwok Cheuk-kin "King of JR" (02 Dec 2017)

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-- Due to copyright restriction, no online video is available for this episode. --

The former leader of Britain’s Liberal Democrat Party, Lord Paddy Ashdown, stressed this week that Britain should not shirk its duty to keep the Hong Kong and Beijing governments accountable. A patron of the UK-based group Hong Kong Watch, he arrived in Hong Kong last Sunday for a two-day fact finding visit. While he was here, Lord Ashdown met Legco President Andrew Leung and the three activists, Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow. We caught up with him at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. There’s been increasing debate in Hong Kong over the function of judicial reviews – a legal mechanism that gives members of the public a chance to challenge the decisions of public bodies and it’s a means of testing wider constitutional issues. It has been argued that this mechanism is being abused but it’s hardly an easy process. Since 2006, Kwok Cheuk-kin has filed more than 30 legal challenges against the government and its policies that have cost more than HK$40 million in legal fees. But he is now planning to call it quits. After a fire two weeks ago that killed 19 people, 17 of them migrant workers in an industrial neighbourhood of southern Beijing. The city’s officials launched a 40-day crackdown. The campaign is to demolish buildings and evict tens of thousands of migrant workers living in the crammed, poorer parts of the city. They’re called the “low-end population” or “diduan renkou” (低端人口), a term that this week was banned on the mainland’s WeChat messaging app and blocked by Weibo’s search engines after many people took to the internet to express their outrage. An estimated 8.1 million migrant workers live in Beijing, thousands of them are now out on the streets in the bitter cold. We’ll leave you with images of the demolition and hope to see you next week. Goodbye.

Program: 
The Pulse
Publish Date: 
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Station: 
RTHK
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