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HKSAR, if necessary, will leave UN Convention Against Torture? And discussion with Leong Che-hung on standard working hours (02 Apr 2016)


 The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. The problem with trickle-down economics is that the wealth just isn’t trickling down. And Hong Kong sits very high in international charts measuring wealth disparity. There are around 647,500 working poor here. One reason is the lack of adequate labour legislation. Many work long hours, often for little or no overtime pay. In part two we talk to Leong Che-hong, the chairman of a committee set up three years ago to look at the issue of working hours. But first: “Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction. “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture." “An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.” Those phrases are part of the United Nations’ “Convention Against Torture the “Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”. They seem reasonable and worthwhile enough. So why would the Hong Kong government and its supporters increasingly be agitating to withdraw from a convention against torture? They say it’s because of asylum seekers flooding into Hong Kong. Others are skeptical. For most Hong Kong people the concept of work life balance is something of a pipe dream. According to one report last year Hong Kong had the hardest working people in the world compared to 71 other cities. People here work an average of more than 50 hours a week, and there are just 17 days of public holiday a year. In comparison, the average Parisian works roughly 35 hours per week. We’re not so much Asia’s world city as Asia’s workaholic city. And for good reason. With us in the studio is the Chairman of the Standard Working Hours Committee, Leong Che-hung. Well, if you’re watching us on television you’ve probably realised there’s no longer any ATV and no longer any prime time slot for The Pulse. The early birds among you can catch us early on Saturday morning. Insomniacs can catch us live even earlier at one am on our digital channel, RTHK 31 or the analogue channel 31A. We are however available 24 hours a day on the RTHK website. So however you’re viewing this programme we hope to see you next week. Until then it’s goodbye from us.

The Pulse
Publish Date: 
Saturday, April 2, 2016
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