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[Student suicides ; Forced sale of old properties ; Protest in Bangkok] (19 Mar 2010)


On the Monday before our broadcast, the body of a mainland Chinese student was found at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She was the third student at the institution to have committed suicide in the past 18 months. Three university students have killed themselves in Hong Kong in just over two weeks, since the beginning of March. In January, without prior discussion with legislators, the government gazetted legislation that will make it easier for developers to acquire older properties. With effect from April 1st, those developers can seek a compulsory sale from the Lands Tribunal as soon as they’ve acquired ownership of 80% of an old property rather than the present 90%.After several days, the protests in Bangkok are dying down. Many of those who have come to the capital to air their grievances are from rural areas and have to return to their jobs and businesses. Others in the latest campaign, organised by the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, have vowed they will stay on the streets despite dwindling numbers.They say they will continue to push prime minister Abhisit Vejajjiva to step down. The anti-government protesters, also known as the “red shirts”, are supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a military coup in 2006. During the current campaign the protesters used their own blood to make their points, collecting thousand of litres of to splatter on Government House, the headquarters of the ruling Democrat Party, and the residence of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit. Mr Abhisit insists he will not give in to their demands but is open to dialogue. With us in the studio to discuss the situation are Professor William Case from the Southeast Asia Research Centre of the Department of Asian and International Studies at City University, and Hugo Restall from the Wall Street Journal Asia. worked with the poor, and fought for their rights. During political protests Father Mella often sings with his guitar. He and other demonstration participants write many of the songs. Music activist Lenny Kwok became interested in the story of this Italian priest who has dedicated his life to serving the needy. He wanted to videotape and record Father Mella’s works. Last Friday Lenny organised a mini-concert of Father Mella's works in an industrial building in Kwai Chung.

The Pulse
Publish Date: 
Friday, March 19, 2010
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