Hong Kong chief keeps travel costs low, inspires Chinese netizens to mull over “one country two systems.”

February 14, 2011Jing Gao3 Comments, , , , , , ,

From IFENG (Phoenix Weekly Online)

Last week, the government of Hong Kong made public expenses of visits made by Donald Tsang in the past four years, the chief executive of Hong Kong. From November 2007 to November 2010, Donald Tsang paid altogether 40 visits, costing HK$987,086 (about US$127,000), including HK$540,000 on air fair. Chinese netizens are impressed by how nominal the chief spent.

Comments on the same article on NetEase exceeded 3,000, and its moderator soon disabled comments.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang (right)

Netizens: "Sharp contrast."

Donald Tsang’s activity frequency seems to correspond with the economy. In 2008, he went on 16 visits. But in 2009 after the global economic downturn struck Hong Kong, the number went down to 11. In 2010, with the economy facing the uphill climb, it increased slightly to 12.

Donald Tsang “cut to the chase” on most visits. His stay in each place spans no longer than three days. Last year, he left and returned to Hong Kong on the same day three times, including for hosting the closing ceremony of Hong Kong Pavilion at Shanghai Expo on October 20.

Among his 40 visits, only eight of them were to foreign countries. The rest were all to cities in mainland China. On most occasions, relevant parties in mainland China covered accommodations, and Hong Kong government only had to pay for air fare and other additional costs. For instance, he spent only HK$511 (US$65) in additional to round-trip air tickets that cost HK$5572 ($720) on attending Boao Forum For Asia, which is modeled after the World Economic Forum in Davos. His expenses in Guangzhou in January 2008 for meeting with then newly-elected Guangdong’s Provincial party boss Wang Yang amounted to only HK$420.

In the past four years, he only traveled to the United States once. On June 13, 2008, while he was on vacation, he was invited to a ceremony hosted by Hong Kong’s economic and trade office in San Francisco. However, according the Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Office, Tsang travelled at his own expense.

Hong Kong is known in the world for its clean and transparent government. Transparency International in 2009 ranked Hong Kong the 12th among 180 countries and regions on the Global Corruption Barometer, which is the world’s most credible measure of of domestic, public sector corruption.

Donald Tsang’s expenses are eclipsed by that of mainland officials’ visit to Hong Kong. Some tourists from the mainland can even squander hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong dollars within a day.

Chinese netizens showered Donald Tsang with praises. Many of them also pointed out that it is not about honesty of Donald Tsang. If he were in a different system, he might be a corrupt official as well.

Ironically, Donald Tsang is widely panned by Hong Kong citizens for kowtowing to Beijing and obstructing democracy in Hong Kong.

Selected comments from IFENG

广东省深圳市网友 延平王:

I suggest that this article be circulated to all mainland officials, study and discussion be organized; meanwhile each official write no less than 10,000 words as their feelings on the topic and enclose the photocopies of their travel expenses covered with public funds.

广东省广州市网友 franklamcn:

A department manager at a state-owned enterprise would spend more than that on a business trip.

河南省洛阳市网友 sunjianbang:

It is normal that such a thing occurs within such a system. It is normal that people outside this system are surprised.

广东省佛山市南海区网友 cao1982:

How can fellow Chinese people on Hong Kong, this former colony, be so great at constructing a clean and honest administration? Isn’t it worth us reflecting upon?

浙江省杭州市网友 zzm882008:

Not along ago it is said 10,000 Hong Kong and Macau officials are going to be trained (by mainland China). I really don’t know who should train whom.
北京市网友 masanbin321:
This is the power of rule by law. Not about how lofty Donald Tsang is. Post Tsang in the mainland as an official, he would be acting the same obnoxious way as those who are now being reeducated in Qincheng Jail. Although I do have some reservations about Hong Kong people, but I strongly support Hong Kong’s social order, its clean and industrious administration. I suggest that officials in Beijing and other places learn from the responsibility of government officials in Hong Kong and even consider importing officials from Hong Kong at deputy mayoral and bureau-level, especially for traffic control and city management departments.
上海市浦东新区网友 随便烁烁:
I am afraid this is a lousy idea. If the system and mind-set remain the same, then no matter how upright a person is, he wouldn’t be able to withstand the influences exerted by such an environment. He would either be edged out or join them in their evil deeds.

广东省网友 tsman:

Awesome. The Mainland will have its last day.

湖南省长沙市网友 paulshu66:

Hong Kong is a democratic place. That’s why.

广东省广州市网友 听说你很美:

This is not about moral virtues of an individual. It’s simply because the budget is controlled by the legislature, and he has no way to spend (more) even if he wants.

广东省汕头市网友 姚大卫:

Salute to Chief Executive Donald Tsang. Salute to Hong Kong’s system!

江苏省无锡市网友 xiaofeiji04:

The shitty NetEase. It easily closes the comment section, even for this article. I will never go there again.

浙江省杭州市网友 沿途提拉:

Mainland officials, learn from him! He is also a provincial governor of the People’s Republic of China!

江苏省盐城市网友 gestalt-wb:

This cannot be learned. It would be much ado without nothing if the idea of the system is not updated. Wish Hong Kong a brighter future.

无线网友 手机用户:

It boils down to the system. It’s not about who is loftier than whom. The key is the restriction set by law.

无线网友 手机用户:

Be it Hong Kong or Singapore, the majority of the population is of Chinese descent. It shows it’s not that Chinese can’t do well in terms of building a clean government. It’s simply that they don’t want to.

陕西省网友 fsbr:

It can’t be said it’s (because) an individual is upright. More important is that the social system is great. With great social system, a good guy can be just and fair. People with ulterior motives wouldn’t have the nerve to come up with evil plan either.

广西网友 dilk001:

Brother Tsang, you are eclipsed even by our village chief!

湖北省黄冈市网友 三余:

After reading this report, (I am) truly envious of Hong Kong. Such a society is awesome

马来西亚网友 cnksyeap:

Practicing thrift is what a chief should do. Nothing surprising. The question is if Hong Kong people appreciate the chief’s overall competence and performance.

无线网友 手机用户:

If you see Chief Executive Tsang was vituperated at the legislative council by a bunch of members and didn’t have the nerve to retort in a loud voice, you would know, how is Hong Kong’s clean government possible in the mainland? Will anyone who vituperates (officials) end up well?

无线网友 手机用户:

In capitalism, no one wants to be a government official. That’s the real public servant.

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3 comments to “Hong Kong chief keeps travel costs low, inspires Chinese netizens to mull over “one country two systems.””

  1. Cleo | February 15, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    I think that (1) Donald Tsang was raised this way because I knew many Hong Kong and Canton originated Chinese his age and his father's age who lived frugally, carefully and it's a matter of common sense. Many overseas Chinese lived like this and did have a hand to mouth existence style saving as much money as possible. Donald Tsang is not a scion but the son of a public servant. And (2) I think that it is wise that the novelty of travel bloom is off the rose because hotel hygiene even five star is not to be trusted nor are airplane seats; it's best to dip your toe in the water as lightly as possible and then fly back to one's own nest.

    • Jim33 | February 17, 2011 | Permalink Reply

      Psst, don't forget he was a cop!

  2. Bob thomese | January 29, 2013 | Permalink Reply

    He just wasted money on concrete projects to integrate with the Mainland.

    CY is doing it in a softer way

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