sexta-feira, 30 de outubro de 2009

Arnie no seu melhor

29 de Outubro de 2009

Arnold Schwarzenegger, governador do estado da Califórnia, costuma anexar notas pessoais às suas decisões de veto de determinado projecto. Recentemente, num despacho enviado a um membro democrata da assembleia estatal que o tinha criticado no início deste mês, Schwarzenegger ocultou na sua mensagem - aparentemente normal - a expressão “fuck you”.

O destinatário da mensagem era Tom Ammiano, autor de um proposta de lei sobre o Porto de São Francisco, que no início do mês de Outubro criticou Schwarzenegger, tendo-lhe inclusivamente dito que “lhe beijasse o seu rabo gay” (kiss my gay ass).

Dias depois, a resposta de Schwarzenegger, apesar de mais críptica, foi sucinta: juntando as sete primeiras letras do corpo da mensagem que o governador endereçou a Ammiano rejeitando a sua proposta, forma-se, na vertical, a palavra “Fuck You”.

O porta-voz do governador, Aaron McLear, apressou-se a dizer que se tratou de uma “coincidência estranha” e que quando um gabinete emite tantos vetos por ano, é natural que isso aconteça. O porta-voz de Schwarzenegger chegou a adiantar que, no passado, já se formaram palavras como “sabonete”, “poeta” e “orelha”.

Porém, o jornal “Independent” deu-se ao trabalho de fazer as contas e chegou à conclusão que as hipóteses matemáticas de uma “coincidência” destas acontecer é de oito mil milhões para uma.

quarta-feira, 28 de outubro de 2009

Fraude com cartão de crédito em Macau

Businessman loses nearly HK$2.5m as bank refuses to stop fraudulent payment

Paggie Leung
South China Morning Post
October 27, 2009

A Hong Kong businessman who lost nearly HK$2.5 million because of a fraudulent transaction in Macau has complained that his bank on the mainland failed to stop the payment.

Marcus Wong Chi-ming yesterday said he received a mobile phone text message from the Bank of Communications' Shenzhen branch about an overseas transaction of more than 2.19 million yuan (HK$2.49 million) made with his China UnionPay debit card at 4.44am on October 14.

The 39-year-old trading company owner - who said he was in Hong Kong when the transaction was made - discovered the message when he woke up around 8am. He had only about HK$14,000 left in his account.

He immediately called and travelled to Shenzhen to request the bank stop the payment, but the bank asked him to contact police instead.

"Although at that time the bank had debited the amount from my debit card, it had not transferred the money to [the bank card network operator] China UnionPay yet," Wong said. "It should have frozen the transaction."

It usually took more than 24 hours for the bank to transfer the money to China UnionPay and then to the retailer for transactions made outside the mainland, he said.

He usually received a mobile phone text message within a minute after purchasing items with his debit card, he said. But after this incident, he questioned the purpose of the service because the bank would not stop a fraudulent transaction anyway.

He reported the case to Shenzhen police, and the bank told him the next day that the money had gone to a jewellery shop in Macau but that China UnionPay would only be able to provide more details, such us the name of the shop, in about 30 days.

It would take another 180 days or more for the card operator to investigate what went wrong.

"I was very shocked because apart from the fact that the purchase was made at 4.44am, it is very strange that the transaction was made in one go. It should be very difficult to transfer more than two million yuan away from the mainland," Wong said.

Police told him that he was not the only victim and there were other cases in which transactions were made to the US and Russia. Wong said he had a similar experience before, with a card issued by a Hong Kong bank, but the fraudulent transaction was terminated successfully.

Legislator Paul Tse Wai-chun, who is helping Wong get his money back, said he would contact the bank and Shenzhen police. He would also liaise with the mainland and local authorities to see if there was any loophole in the system.

"We want to bring to the public's notice that it seems impossible to stop a fraudulent transaction [when using cards issued by mainland banks]," Tse warned.

China UnionPay and Bank of Communications could not be reached for comment yesterday.

terça-feira, 27 de outubro de 2009

segunda-feira, 26 de outubro de 2009

Questões perturbadoras na extradição de Zhou Y.

Zhou extradition raises disturbing questions

Frank Ching (*)
South China Morning Post
October 26, 2009

At the press conference following the policy address, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was asked: "Did the Hong Kong government return Zhou Yongjun, a student leader from Tiananmen, to mainland authorities rather than send him back to Macau, as his family alleged a few days ago?"

The chief executive responded that Hong Kong, "like every other government," is unable to comment on individual immigration cases. "Anyone who travels with a false document will be treated accordingly. He'll be sent back to wherever is appropriate. That is established policy."

Actually, that isn't quite the case. Three days previously, in response to media enquiries concerning this case, the government issued a statement that said in part: "In general, a passenger whose travel document does not meet the entry requirements will be repatriated to his or her place of embarkation or origin."

So, following established policy, Zhou should have been sent back to Macau. After all, he had arrived from Macau bearing a Malaysian passport in the name Wang Xingxiang. Hong Kong authorities suspected, correctly it turned out, that there was a problem with his passport. But, instead of sending him back to Macau, he was sent to Shenzhen. Why?

Democratic Party Chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, who is Zhou's legal representative, is threatening to sue the government. He called the case, which has been widely publicised internationally, the biggest challenge to the "one country, two systems" policy. It is certainly giving Hong Kong a bad name.

Many have asked why Zhou, who has an American green card, was not sent back to the US.

But, it appears, the Hong Kong authorities may not have known that Zhou was a green card holder. In fact, they may not have known the Tiananmen connection. Still, why send him to Shenzhen?

It turns out that the mainland public security authorities had been looking for a Wang Xingxiang. The Chinese security authorities had issued a warrant on July 25, 2000, for the arrest of Zhang Hongbao, who the police said had assumed the name Wang Xingxiang.

Zhang was the founder of the Zhong Gong qigong organisation, which at one time had more followers than Falun Gong. The organisation operated businesses and held vast assets. But both Falun Gong and Zhong Gong were banned in 1999. Zhang fled to the US where, in addition to being a spiritual leader, he called himself president of China's "shadow government". He was killed in a car crash in 2006, and reportedly left substantial assets under different names in various countries.

Zhou had worked for Zhang. After Zhang's death, Zhong Gong held a press conference, which was chaired by Zhou. Since then, there have been reports of disputes over Zhang's assets, including a Hang Seng Bank account with more than HK$13 million.

The indictment against Zhou in Sichuan accuses him of having sent a letter to Hang Seng Bank requesting the transfer of HK$4 million held in the name Wang Xingxiang.

It seems likely that the Hong Kong police knew that mainland authorities were looking for a Wang Xingxiang who was wanted for criminal, not political, offences.

Still, there is no rendition, or extradition, agreement between Hong Kong and the mainland. In this case, when a person arrived in Hong Kong holding a questionable passport, the proper thing to do, as the government has said repeatedly, was to return him to where he had come from.

The alternative was to arrest Zhou, or Wang, and bring him to trial in Hong Kong. There is no legitimate reason to have him sent to the mainland. Even if the name Wang Xingxiang had been on an Interpol warrant, the usual procedure would be to put him under arrest here, with a view to extradition to the country sought him. He would not have been extraditable to the mainland.

Hong Kong violated its own established policy. The question is why?

(*) Frank Ching is a Hong Kong-based writer and commentator

domingo, 25 de outubro de 2009

Festa da Lusofonia

Momento da actuação dos Quinta do Bill na Festa da Lusofonia, ontem à noite. Um bom espectáculo, com boa adesão do público, apenas tendo pecado por algum exagero no volume do som.

Censura no fórum da CTM

Why you can't say 'chief executive'

Fox Yi Hu
South China Morning Post
October 25, 2009

"Chief executive" is the latest phrase to fall foul of censors overseeing Macau's most popular Net forum.

The Chinese for "chief executive", the title of Macau's most important politician, has joined phrases such as "gang leader" in being screened out by

Messages containing the words were automatically modified last week, although the ban was lifted after the Sunday Morning Post asked forum operator Companhia de Telecomunicacoes de Macau (CTM), a public utility and the provider of Macau's internet services, to explain why the phrase was being censored.

But the Chinese for "gang leader" remains banned. For example, a message reading "Are there gang leaders in Macau?" would be modified to say, "Are there in Macau?"

Political commentator Professor Larry So Man-yum, of Macau Polytechnic Institute, said CTM had a responsibility to uphold freedom of speech since it was a public utility.

"It is irresponsible to ban words that may be unpleasant to the ears of the government," he said.

A CTM spokeswoman said the company's technicians had tested the forum and found the phrase "chief executive" was being displayed correctly. The company was aware that some users had posted online messages saying the phrase was banned. But other users, she said, had been able to write the phrase in posts.

The forum began screening out "gang leader" and "shameless Ho" last year, after critics used them to describe outgoing Macau Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah. Internet users said the ban on using "chief executive" was enforced after the publication of messages criticising the conduct of July's election for the post.

Dr Fernando Chui Sai-on was the only candidate put forward to the circle of 300 voters eligible to take part in the poll. users voiced strong opposition to Chui.

A loucura do Windows 7 em Hong Kong

Latest Microsoft offering takes queuing tekkies to 'seven' heaven

Kobi Chan
South China Morning Post
October 25, 2009

Hong Kong's love of overnight queuing has reached new heights, with hundreds joining lines for an offering even after it had run out at 8pm on Friday.

Microsoft began selling its new Windows 7 computer operating system in the city yesterday, and offered the first 400 copies of its "Ultimate" version for HK$377 - a saving of HK$2,322 - in a first-come, first-served charity sale.

The offer opened at 7pm on Friday and the software giant took down the names, ID numbers and phone numbers of the first 400 people in line within an hour.

But they had to remain in the queue until the product went on sale at 11am yesterday. That led to more people joining the queue at the Times Square shopping mall in Causeway Bay. It eventually extended for 800 metres.

About 1,000 tech fans, mostly male, joined the queue for a 32-bit version of the software, featuring different packaging from the retail edition.

The first in line, Rayman Chan, 25, from Tuen Mun, also received a free copy autographed by Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.

Chan said he had been queuing for 26 hours, since Friday morning.

"I am happy to be the first," he said. "The price is cheaper and I can buy one, get one free. The signature is also valuable. I will keep it."

Chan is a regular queuer, having lined up for limited-edition Olympic banknotes and computer products.

He said he had earned about HK$60,000 by reselling banknotes, but technology products were not so easy to part with because they were an obsession.

"I have queued for limited versions of computer products overnight at least 10 times," he said. "I just like them."

Many of those in the lineup said they were disappointed. Some complained that the sale had been poorly organised.

Second in line was photographer Sit Kam-man, who said he had not intended to queue overnight. "I've already got an allotment so I don't know why I still have to queue up," he said, calling the queuing rules unreasonable.

"I have to come back to the queue within 30 minutes," he said. "The arrangement is not good. There is no need to queue up. I won't do this next time. I could not sleep well last night and I am tired now."

Leung Mei-ling, 45, was 86th in line and said she was not satisfied with the arrangements.

"People are lining up just like at a refugee camp," she said. "I am so tired."

Joelle Woo Oi-chi, of Microsoft Hong Kong, admitted there was "room for improvement". "Queuing up overnight [prevented others getting ahead] in the queue," she said.

Microsoft launched Windows 7, designed as a replacement for the much-maligned Windows Vista system, in the US on Thursday.

Vista, launched three years ago, failed to win over new customers and caused many personal computer users to stick with the eight-year-old Windows XP.

Pirate copies of a pre-release trial version of the software were on sale yesterday in shops in Sham Shui Po for prices ranging from HK$80 to HK$150.

Shops in Shanghai's bustling Xinyang market have also been selling counterfeit copies of the new operating system.

Microsoft Hong Kong general manager Peter Yeung said: "The pirate problem is serious in the mainland. It affects our sales volume."

The HK$150,000 raised by yesterday's sale will be donated to the Hong Kong Sports Institute.

sexta-feira, 23 de outubro de 2009

Quinta do Bill na Lusofonia

É já amanhã que os Quinta do Bill vão actuar em terras de Macau. É no Festival da Lusofonia, pelas 22 horas. Espero que interpretem esta música, uma das minhas preferidas da banda.

quinta-feira, 22 de outubro de 2009

Ainda sobre os banquetes e celebrações

Nuno Lima Bastos
Jornal Tribuna de Macau
22 de Outubro de 2009

Na minha última crónica, revisitei os custos associados à cerimónia de transferência de soberania de Macau, apontando o valor de 244 milhões de patacas e reproduzindo parte de um acutilante texto de opinião que Miguel Sousa Tavares assinara sobre o assunto nas páginas do Público. Por manifesta escassez de tempo e de fontes, não fui exaustivo na abordagem, mas procurei apresentar com rigor os poucos elementos de que dispunha, como sempre tento fazer.

Não descortinei, nestes dias que, entretanto, decorreram, qualquer novo contributo de terceiros para o tema, fosse em abono ou desabono das minhas palavras, mas pareceu-me vislumbrar algures uma vaga sugestão de manipulação dos factos. Excesso de sensibilidade da minha parte, porventura. À cautela, decidi, todavia, perscrutar os meus velhos papéis com reforçado afinco, na esperança de conseguir dissipar o tom plúmbeo desses juízos.

Embora não sendo especialmente bem sucedido, o meu zelo sempre produziu alguns resultados, porquanto consegui localizar uma peça de Rui Boavida, publicada no Jornal Tribuna de Macau de 19 de Junho de 2000, onde o jornalista reproduz excertos da edição desse mês da revista Hong Kong Business.

Nesta, era relatado que Edmund Ho, «em privado, admite ser continuamente surpreendido pela chegada de novas contas» relativas ao handover. A publicação da RAEHK recordava que o orçamento oficial para todo o evento era de 35 milhões de dólares americanos – cerca de 280 milhões de patacas – e que, «de acordo com fontes da cerimónia, cada refeição oferecida durante o banquete oficial terá saído a cerca de 1500 dólares americanos»; ou seja, doze mil patacas por pessoa (o que, ao câmbio da época, coincidia, grosso modo, com os valores censurados por Miguel Sousa Tavares).

Rui Boavida acautelava, porém, que «um jornalista de Hong Kong» teria comentado ao JTM que «o grupo Communications Management [responsável pela revista em apreço] sempre manteve boas relações com as autoridades chinesas e, eventualmente, esta reportagem poderá ter origens menos claras». Mas o profissional da região vizinha acrescentara, igualmente, que «o que também é verdade é que (...) diversos membros da administração portuguesa deixaram o Território envolvidos em casos menos transparentes do que seria desejável, [o que] deixa campo aberto a diversas especulações» (segundo o JTM, o artigo da Hong Kong Business mencionava a construção do aeroporto, a constituição da Fundação Oriente e da Fundação Jorge Álvares e os monumentos erigidos em Macau nos derradeiros anos do consulado de Rocha Vieira como alguns desses exemplos).

No texto do Público que citei há uma semana (um trabalho de João Pedro Henriques, publicado em 28 de Junho de 2000), o jornalista «que orientou a área de comunicação social do Gabinete de Coordenação da Cerimónia de Transferência», Rui Isidro, confirmava o dispêndio de 244 milhões de patacas – precisamente o montante que referi –, assumindo corresponder a mais cem milhões do que os gastos de Hong Kong dois anos antes; diferença, presumivelmente, justificada pela necessidade de criação aqui de infra-estruturas que o território vizinho já possuía, como «quilómetros de cabos de fibra óptica, para as transmissões televisivas»... Quanto ao resto, este senhor corroborava todas as somas faraónicas que discriminei no meu anterior escrito, incluindo os doze milhões do “famoso” banquete e os sessenta milhões do Pavilhão Lanterna (onde decorreu a cerimónia final e que teve que ser desmantelado meses depois, por não oferecer resistência aos tufões), mas recusando que Portugal e a China tivessem convencionado qualquer limite máximo de despesas para o efeito.

Cada um que tire agora as suas ilações. No limite, até se poderá argumentar que os 244 milhões de patacas terão ficado, ainda assim, aquém dos 35 milhões de dólares americanos que a equipa do general Rocha Vieira, supostamente, orçamentara (digo «supostamente», porque não consegui confirmar esta previsão). Se isso legitima tamanha “generosidade” do erário público no momento do arrear da bandeira nacional – como em tantos outros momentos de que tenho falado –, é outra história...

PS: aproveitando, digamos assim, uma próxima ausência alargada do território por motivos profissionais e de férias, irei fazer uma pausa sabática nesta minha incursão jornalística. Foram vinte meses consecutivos a elaborar semanalmente esta coluna, com raros interregnos, e preciso de recarregar baterias. Aproveito para agradecer ao JTM, na pessoa do seu director, a amabilidade de me ter endereçado, em Fevereiro de 2008, o convite para colaborar com este jornal. Foi uma experiência deveras estimulante!
Continuarei a acompanhar a vida de Macau, mas de forma descontraída e sem pressões de calendário, através do meu blogue O Protesto.
Aos leitores, o meu muito obrigado pela atenção dispensada e pelos contributos que me foram transmitindo ao longo destes vinte meses!

Nota: agradeço ao Bairro do Oriente a inclusão deste artigo na sua selecção de leituras da semana, bem como as simpáticas palavras relativas à despedida da minha coluna do JTM. Vamo-nos encontrando na blogosfera!

Mulheres somalis forçadas a abanar o peito

O assunto não cai exactamente no escopo deste blogue, mas não resisto a divulgá-lo, tal o misto de ridículo e extremismo religioso que revela (já agora, onde está Saramago?):

Até onde irão estes abusos em nome de Alá?

quarta-feira, 21 de outubro de 2009

O Hoje Macau que nunca saiu

Em Abril passado, escrevi estas palavras n'O Protesto: «depois de ter procedido a uma agradável revisão gráfica, que lhe deu um ar mais moderno (ao estilo do Público?), parece que o Hoje Macau se prepara para lançar uma nova e promissora página na Internet. Serão os efeitos da (ainda que breve) passagem de Carlos Morais José pela LUSA?».

Afinal, o projecto nunca teve seguimento, mas o website chegou mesmo a ser criado e até continua online, embora bastante desactualizado. A julgar por esta imagem (clicar para ampliar), era bastante promissor:

terça-feira, 20 de outubro de 2009

domingo, 18 de outubro de 2009

Ainda sobre a entrega de Zhou Yongjun à China

Handing of dissident to mainland raises questions

South China Morning Post
October 18, 2009

The case of exiled mainland dissident Zhou Yongjun is becoming an embarrassment for the government and a challenge to the principle of "one country, two systems". More than a year after he was refused entry into Hong Kong from Macau, the circumstances in which he ended up in the hands of the mainland authorities remain largely a mystery.

It appears that after being kept for two days by local immigration officials, he was taken to Shenzhen and is now being held in Sichuan on fraud charges.

Zhou is a former student leader of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Given his role as a dissident, questions have inevitably arisen as to the motives behind his arrest. So far, Hong Kong officials have refused to comment on the circumstances of the case. As a result, concerns are being raised about whether our city's separate system and autonomy on immigration matters have been compromised. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen is facing calls for an official inquiry.

There is no rendition agreement between Hong Kong and the mainland. Normally, someone who tried to enter the city with suspicious travel documents would either be prosecuted in Hong Kong or sent back to where they came from. In Zhou's case, that would have been Macau. Alternatively, he could have been returned to the United States where he holds a green card, or permanent work permit. Or perhaps the mainland was taken to be his place of origin. Officials have not revealed their reasoning - and that only leads to suspicion.

According to Zhou's partner, Zhang Yuewei, Hong Kong immigration officials told Zhou they needed to verify his identity. He was taken to a car that drove him directly to Shenzhen and has been detained on the mainland ever since. Zhang says she was told of the sequence of events by Zhou's lawyers in Sichuan. The full picture has not emerged. There is an urgent need for the government to clarify the position.

The 42-year-old dissident spent several years in a mainland jail during the late 1990s. He travelled to Hong Kong from Macau on September 28 last year. As we report today, his partner says it was inmates in Shenzhen who first alerted her to his detention there. In May, his family was finally told that he was charged with fraud and being detained in Sichuan. What is even more puzzling is that he allegedly committed the fraud in Hong Kong. If so, why is he being tried on the mainland instead of facing justice before our courts?

It was foolish of Zhou, to say the least, to try to enter Hong Kong with a fake Malaysian passport, if that is what he did. Such actions cannot be condoned. But it is difficult to see the legal basis for sending him to the mainland. How was the decision made? What procedures were followed? Are there any safeguards in place to ensure the system is not abused? None of these questions have been answered.

Zhou's case is more disturbing than several previous high-profile cases involving suspects being detained and tried on the mainland, though they committed crimes in Hong Kong. They include "Big Spender" Cheung Tze-keung and Telford Gardens murderer Li Yuhui, who were both executed. In those cases, the suspects were first apprehended on the mainland; not so with Zhou. The Zhou affair will not go away quietly. The government must come clean and explain what really happened.

Como Hong Kong entregou um dissidente à China

How HK handed over a dissident

Fox Yi Hu
South China Morning Post
October 18, 2009

A Chinese US resident arrives in Hong Kong from Macau on a Malaysian passport under an assumed name, is told there is a "problem", then, after two days' detention, is put in a car by immigration officers, whisked across the border and handed over to mainland authorities.

Weeks pass with no word of his whereabouts, until his partner and the mother of their 18-month-old daughter receives phone calls and an e-mail from a former Shenzhen prison inmate saying he is in a jail there. Prison staff deny it, then four months later a former inmate of another Shenzhen jail says he has seen him there - under another name. Still officials deny the man is there.

Sounds like the opening chapter of a thriller or the first scene of a film noir? It's not.

It's the story of Zhou Yongjun, a dissident leader of the 1989 Tiananmen student uprising, according to his familiy and to a statement he gave a lawyer while imprisoned in his native Sichuan.

In the eyes of Zhou's Hong Kong lawyer, it is the biggest challenge to the "one country, two systems" formula since the handover.

To a leading immigration consultant in the city it is unlawful, inexplicable and without precedent.

To Zhou's girlfriend and the mother of his child, Zhang Yuewei , it is a frightening conspiracy to abuse his human rights.

Neither Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen nor his government will comment on the case.

Zhang, 33, who flew to Hong Kong last week to publicise Zhou's plight, spoke of the family's painful search to establish Zhou's whereabouts following his disappearance.

She last saw Zhou, 42, a US green card holder who runs an employment service, on September 26 last year.

"He insisted on going because he wanted to visit his family. His father has had a stroke and is partially paralysed, and his mother has heart disease. We had a quarrel over it," she recalls. (Zhou, who escaped to the US in 1992, three years after the bloody crackdown that ended the Tiananmen protests, returned to the mainland - via Hong Kong - in 1998 and was jailed for three years for entering the country illegally. He returned to the US in 2002.)

Much of her knowledge about what has happened to him since has come from the lawyer who met him in a jail in Sichuan - where he faces court proceedings for a crime allegedly committed in Hong Kong.

She said Zhou had tried in vain to obtain a mainland visa, before buying a Malaysian passport in the name of Wang Xingxiang from a travel agent in Los Angeles, where the couple live. On September 28, he travelled from Macau to Hong Kong on the Malaysian passport.

Immigration officers suspected his passport was forged and police held him at the Sheung Wan ferry terminal for 48 hours before handing him back to immigration officers. Zhang said the officers told Zhou they needed to verify his identity, but then put him in a car and drove him straight to a small hotel in Shenzhen.

Zhou told his mainland lawyer: "I thought it was OK to go to Hong Kong. But the Hong Kong immigration said the passport was problematic. I did not reveal my real identity to the Hong Kong police."

Zhang said she received calls and e-mails in late November and early December from a former inmate of a Shenzhen prison.

"The person gave an accurate description of Zhou and his family background. He said Zhou was kept in the Shenzhen No 1 Jail," she said. Zhou's sister, who works as a judge in Sichuan, flew to Shenzhen to visit the jail. Staff denied he was being held there.

In March, a former inmate of another jail, in Shenzhen's Yantian district, tipped off Zhou's family that he was being held there. He also gave an accurate description of Zhou.

According to the informant, while in the Yantian jail Zhou was forced to change his name to Wang Hua. "When I learned they had changed his name, I realised it was highly dangerous," Zhang said. "What if he were executed? How would we know?"

In May, more than seven months after he was allegedly delivered into mainland custody by Hong Kong immigration staff, Zhou's family was told he had been arrested on fraud charges and was being detained by the authorities in Sichuan. According to an indictment by prosecutors in Shehong county, Zhou had tried to transfer money from an account at Hang Seng Bank in Hong Kong to two banks, in the city and in Australia, using the false name Wang Xingxiang.

Immigration consultant Richard Aziz Butt said the Hong Kong government's handling of Zhou was unlawful. The Immigration Ordinance stated that anyone found in possession of or using a false instrument (such as a fake passport) should be prosecuted by a court of law.

If the Immigration Department was uncertain about Zhou's identity, it should have sent him to Macau or Malaysia, Butt said. Indeed, a government spokesman said: "In general, a passenger whose travel document does not meet the entry requirements will be repatriated to his or her place of embarkation or origin."

Butt said: "I can't understand why they sent him back to the mainland. I have never before seen a case handled like this in Hong Kong. It makes a mockery of our judicial system."

The Immigration Department said it would not comment on individual cases.

For Zhang, now back in Los Angeles, the fight for justice continues (Zhou's Hong Kong lawyer, Albert Ho Chun-yan, plans to sue the government). So does the wait to see him again - one his family shares.

"His mother has asked whether she will be able to see him again before she dies," Zhang said.

O meteorologista amador de Macau

Macau's amateur weatherman warned off

Fox Yi Hu
South China Morning Post
October 18, 2009

A popular amateur weatherman in Macau known for his accurate typhoon forecasts has run into a spot of turbulence.

Towin Mak, a singer-songwriter and self-confessed meteorology addict, has been monitoring Macau's weather for more than two decades. His typhoon forecasts on the internet often came earlier than the meteorological bureau's and have helped hundreds of residents plan their outdoor activities around the weather.

But the internet account with which he made forecasts in a popular online forum has been banned. In July, he was invited to the Judiciary Police bureau for a "chat", where an officer told Mak that while it was not against the law to post weather forecasts, he should avoid causing a public disturbance with his forecasts.

A police bureau spokesman said it would not take action against unofficial weather forecasts on the internet unless someone claimed to be a victim of such forecasts.

Despite the ban, it would be difficult to prise Mak away from his favourite obsession.

"I am addicted to it. In the past 28 years, I've been trying to follow almost every storm." He depends on the constantly updated meteorological graphs from Taiwan's observatory website to analyse typhoons, often staying up late to study the latest graphs. "When Typhoon Koppu came, I stayed up until 7am."

Mak began posting forecasts online in 2006 - and found fans in residents who relied on travel on the cross-harbour bridges, casino workers who were contract-bound to go to work in all weather, and parents ferrying their children around.

Before he went online, friends, relatives and even shipping firms that had heard of him would call him with inquiries during the windy season.

Mak admitted that his forecasts sometimes differed from those by the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau, but he stood by the accuracy of most of his forecasts. For instance, when Typhoon Morakot was near in early August, Mak issued typhoon signal No 8 but the observatory hoisted only signal No 3. Mak defended his prediction, saying the wind speeds at the three cross-harbour bridges were 85km/h to 90km/h - higher than the 63km/h mark used to justify a signal No 8.

In Hong Kong, a private weather-forecasting website, known as the "underground observatory", has been running since 1995.

The Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau of Macau did not respond to an inquiry.

sábado, 17 de outubro de 2009

Alargamento do Legco e da Comissão Eleitoral

Expansion of election panel, Legco on table

Gary Cheung
South China Morning Post
October 17, 2009

The government is again considering expanding the Election Committee that will pick the next chief executive in 2012 and making the Legislative Council bigger.

It made similar proposals four years ago for elections in 2007 and last year which Legco vetoed, but constitutional affairs minister Stephen Lam Sui-lung said the administration would not recycle those ideas.

The government will begin a public consultation next month on possible options for electoral reform in 2012. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said yesterday he was committed to achieving a "much more democratic" electoral system by then.

Speaking on a Metro Finance radio programme yesterday, Lam said it was crucial the community gained experience in constitutional development in 2012. "The implementation of universal suffrage in 2017 would be smoother if we do a `warm- up' first in 2012," he said.

Lam said the government would strive to inject more democratic elements into the electoral arrangements for 2012.

He said the administration was considering expanding the Election Committee and Legco.

"Increasing the number of Legco seats would provide more room for representatives from various sectors to participate in politics," Lam said.

The chief executive, who was speaking on an RTHK Radio 3 phone-in programme, said the existing method of electing functional constituency legislators did not meet the criteria for universal suffrage.

Tsang said it was up to local people to decide whether functional constituencies should be retained or abolished, but any changes to the electoral system had to secure a two-thirds majority in the legislature. "Half of our lawmakers come from functional constituencies. They need to be persuaded they should go self-destruct for the good of other people," he said.

Tsang insisted he had honoured the pledge he made when re-elected two years ago to resolve the issue of universal suffrage - by securing a timetable for its introduction from the National People's Congress Standing Committee.

In 2005, the government proposed doubling the Election Committee's membership to 1,600. As part of this, all 529 district councillors - including 102 appointed by the government - would have had a seat on the committee. It proposed expanding the number of lawmakers by 10, to 70 - with five directly elected and five chosen by district councillors.

Controvérsia na reforma do Legco em Hong Kong

Tsang says Legco trade seats need to change
Consultation to look at functional constituencies

Ambrose Leung and Albert Wong
South China Morning Post
October 16, 2009

The legislature's functional constituencies cannot survive in their present form and their future will be addressed in next month's consultation on the 2012 Legislative Council elections, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said yesterday.

The chief executive said the controversial trade-based seats were "not totally compatible with the principles of equal and universal suffrage" and this would be a question to consider when designing electoral arrangements for the 2012 and 2016 Legco elections.

It was the clearest indication yet by Tsang that the trade-based seats, which now make up half the 60-seat legislature, will be modified.

Beijing has said universal suffrage can be introduced for the Legco election in 2020 and the chief executive election in 2017.

The chief executive's words drew a storm of criticism from democrats, who took them as a signal that the functional constituencies, which they want abolished, will stay.

"Functional constituencies in their present form are not totally compatible with the principles of equal and universal suffrage," Tsang, who barely mentioned electoral reform in his policy address on Wednesday, said during a rowdy question-and-answer session.

"They cannot be kept in their present form under the electoral system for Legco in 2020," he said. "Of course, we have to consider this issue in designing the methods for the elections in 2012 and 2016."

But Tsang also remained adamant that the consultation on reforms for 2012 would not include reference to the chief executive and all members of Legco being elected by universal suffrage in 2017 and 2020 respectively.

"I am worried that this will again result in no progress being made. I truly hope that nobody will create new obstacles in the path of reaching a consensus over the election methods on 2012," Tsang said. Citing the pan-democrats' blocking of the 2005 reform proposal, which they considered undemocratic, Tsang urged lawmakers to "learn the lesson" and "pursue democracy, rather than pursue the subject of democracy".

During the 90-minute session, Tsang brushed aside criticism that he had breached his 2007 election promise to resolve the question of universal suffrage during his term.

He said Beijing's decision in December 2007 ruling out universal suffrage in 2012 but allowing it to be introduced as early as 2017 was "almost the biggest landmark for constitutional reform" in Hong Kong's 150-year history. Asking Beijing to reverse that decision would be "almost mission impossible", he said.

Currently, all 3.3 million registered voters can vote for the 30 geographical constituency lawmakers, but only 230,000 can vote in the functional constituencies. Furthermore, 150,000 of those 230,000 voters are concentrated in one constituency - labour, which has three seats - prompting further criticism that the system puts too much power in the hands of an unrepresentative few.

Tsang's remarks angered Democratic Party vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing. Her party and its allies have long called for functional constituencies to be abolished.

"Are you trying to tell Hong Kong people that even if we do have a fully elected legislature in 2020, there will still be traces of functional constituencies? That you will retain them in disguise?"

Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, said the impression he received was that functional constituencies would be there to stay if they were amended somehow - which he suspected was Beijing's solution for maintaining a check on the pan-democrats in the legislature.

quinta-feira, 15 de outubro de 2009

Banquetes e celebrações

Nuno Lima Bastos
Jornal Tribuna de Macau
15 de Outubro de 2009

Há pouco mais de um mês, critiquei aqui o subsídio de trezentas patacas por cabeça que a Fundação Macau decidira atribuir às associações locais para organizarem banquetes comemorativos do décimo aniversário da transferência de soberania do território (ou, mais rigorosamente, da transferência do exercício da soberania), apontando o facto de algumas candidaturas às eleições legislativas estarem, na verdade, a utilizar esse dinheiro para jantares de campanha. Se dúvidas houvesse, bastaria constatar a enorme concentração desses repastos subsidiados durante as duas semanas de campanha eleitoral...

Não faço ideia em quanto irá a medida onerar os cofres da fundação presidida por Vítor Ng. Atirando um número ao acaso, se quatrocentos mil residentes beneficiassem da medida (o que é um perfeito exagero), ela importaria em 120 milhões de patacas. É muito dinheiro, mas sempre se poderá dizer que encheu o estômago a um mar de gente por um dia, já para não falar naqueles argumentos mais discutíveis, como o pretenso contributo da iniciativa para promoção da harmonia social e do patriotismo.

Vai daí, e porque de celebrações do handover estamos a falar, resolvi pesquisar os meus arquivos e ver em quanto orçou a celebração do evento em 19 de Dezembro de 1999, quando esteve a cargo da última administração portuguesa do território: nada menos do que 244 milhões de patacas! A título comparativo, as cerimónias da transferência de Hong Kong, em Julho de 1997, haviam ficado aquém dos 150 milhões de patacas (já começo a compreender melhor a inflação de custos do certame da Primédia em Pequim, em confronto com a modéstia dos nossos vizinhos: há antecedentes difíceis de ultrapassar...).

O despesismo com a efeméride de há dez anos foi divulgado seis meses após o arrear da bandeira portuguesa, na edição de 27 de Junho de 2000 do Macau Hoje, citando «fonte governamental chinesa». Segundo aquele jornal, nomeado no Público do dia seguinte, a Direcção dos Serviços de Finanças estaria a fazer uma «investigação detalhada» dos «números muito elevados» dos gastos, admitindo passar o processo «para a responsabilidade do Comissariado Contra a Corrupção», caso se confirmassem «métodos pouco limpos no procedimento do dispêndio de verbas», que teriam incluído sessenta milhões para a construção do edifício onde decorreu a cerimónia oficial de 19 de Dezembro, setenta milhões em infra-estruturas de apoio à comunicação social, trinta milhões numa sessão cultural no dia anterior e doze milhões num banquete!

Os números foram tão impressionantes que Miguel Sousa Tavares até lhes dedicou o grosso de um artigo de opinião no Público de 30 de Junho de 2000 – intitulado, precisamente, «Um banquete em Macau» –, onde começou por recordar o convite recebido pelo Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros português para vir assistir às cerimónias do handover: «o convite especificava que era extensivo a duas pessoas e compreendia viagens, quatro noites de estadia, refeições, despesas e ainda uma ajuda de custo diária (para fazer compras, presumo)».

O comentador recusou e não mais pensou no assunto – até ler os números divulgados na imprensa... Em relação ao manjar, fez, por exemplo, o seguinte reparo: «se conseguirmos imaginar, entre todos os convidados locais, os representantes de Pequim e a embaixada ida de Lisboa, o total astronómico de mil pessoas no banquete, mesmo assim chegamos ao fabuloso preço de 315 contos [ao câmbio da altura] por cabeça para um jantar – um banquete só ao alcance dos delírios do sultão do Brunei».

Depois de mais algumas notas ao seu bom estilo, rematou a crónica nestes termos: «poucas coisas, entre as coisas públicas, me parecem tão feias e tão inestéticas como a ostentação de riqueza com dinheiros alheios – os que gastam o dinheiro dos outros com uma largueza que jamais usam com o próprio dinheiro. Eu quero lá saber do fim do Império e do “momento histórico” da transição! O que eu gostaria de saber é quantos chineses de Macau comeriam com os 315 contos que cada português lá gastou num só banquete».

E pronto, não falo mais das trezentas patacas gastas com cada residente de Macau para festejar à mesa os dez anos da RAEM...

Maitê Proença - a polémica

Já não é novidade a polémica em que a belíssima actriz brasileira Maité Proença está envolvida. Tudo por causa de um vídeo que filmou em Portugal no início de 2007, onde tecia alguns comentários menos felizes sobre o nosso país e os portugueses.

Pessoalmente, não vejo motivo para tanta indignação; apenas para, en passant, a chamar de parvinha e ponto final. Aliás, incomodaram-me mais os comentários daquelas senhoras quase histéricas em estúdio, no final da sessão do programa «Saia Justa» em que o vídeo foi transmitido, do que o vídeo propriamente dito.

Em todo o caso, não deixo de ficar surpreendido com a genialidade dos hackers - certamente, portugueses - que entraram na Wikipedia e alteraram o artigo da conhecida actriz, como se pode ver na imagem abaixo, obtida por mim ao fim da tarde de ontem:

Esta imagem é histórica, uma vez que a situação já foi corrigida, como se pode ver aqui, embora o artigo agora disponível faça uma referência à polémica em curso.

No entanto, a julgar por este artigo do jornal Público, terá havido um primeiro ataque à Wikipedia ainda mais mauzinho, onde Maité Proença era descrita como uma actriz pornográfica e chamada de ignorante.

Certo é que a própria Maité se terá sentido perturbada com as duras reacções ao seu vídeo, uma vez que a sua página oficial na Internet (que chegou a estar temporariamente indisponível) abre com a frase «Minhas desculpas aos portugueses». Esta frase é um link para outro vídeo onde tenta deitar água na fervura, acompanhado de um texto onde recorda o seu avô português e termina dizendo «eu amo Portugal!».

Assunto mais do que encerrado. Apenas sugiro a Maité Proença que, quando quiser fazer humor connosco, pegue naqueles temas em que merecemos, realmente, ser gozados: por exemplo, quando elegemos criminosos para presidentes de câmara ou quando a nossa justiça anda anos a fio à volta de casos envolvendo figuras públicas e ninguém é punido. Goze à vontade com isso, que eu até aplaudo (embora o Brasil também não seja exemplo na matéria...)!

Uma última nota: com hackers destes, já percebo os receios do nosso Presidente. É que estes lusitanos rapazes são mesmo tramados! Não querem vir fazer uns servicinhos a Macau?

quarta-feira, 14 de outubro de 2009

O dia de todas as decisões

O South China Morning Post de hoje destaca a recuperação da selecção portuguesa na luta pelo apuramento para o próximo Mundial de futebol. Esperemos que não haja nenhum contratempo esta noite. Força, Portugal!

Portuguese to confirm play-off slot against Malta

Mitch Phillips in London
South China Morning Post
October 14, 2009

Portugal look likely to complete a remarkable World Cup recovery when a home victory over Malta today will secure them a place in the play-offs for the 2010 finals that looked way beyond their reach a few months ago.

Switzerland and Slovakia look set to secure the two remaining automatic European slots while there are also four play-off berths up for grabs on the final night of qualifying.

Most of Europe's big guns are already booking their accommodation in South Africa, though France still have to run the gauntlet of the now-seeded November play-offs.

While France, runners-up in the 2006 final, are disappointed to have finished second behind Serbia, Portugal - the side they beat in the semi-finals three years ago - will be overjoyed to join them in the play-offs.

After starting their group one campaign with a win over Malta they lost at home to Denmark then produced three successive goalless draws, including at home to Albania.

In June they were heading for what would have been another calamitous 1-1 draw in Albania when Bruno Alves popped up with a winner two minutes into injury time.

Defeat away to eventual group winners Denmark also looked on the cards in September until Liedson grabbed an 86th-minute equaliser for a 1-1 draw four minutes from time.

The late goals, coming alongside Sweden and Hungary dropping points, prized the door back open and a 3-0 home win over Hungary last Saturday combined with Sweden's late loss to Denmark completed the unlikely turnaround.

Now, they again have control of their own destiny.

Even without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo it would be unthinkable for Portugal to fail to beat Malta in Guimaraes. If it happened though, a draw could let in Sweden, who are at home to Albania, while even Hungary have an outside chance if they win in Denmark.

On paper group three looks even more congested, with four teams still chasing the top two places. In reality, however, Switzerland, three points clear, should get the point they need at home to Israel to secure automatic qualification while Greece should go into the play-offs with a home win over Luxembourg.

Even if Israel manage to win in Switzerland they would still need Greece to lose or draw while Latvia need to thrash Moldova and pray for an unlikely Luxembourg success.

Slovenia's 2-0 win in Slovakia on Saturday ensured group three would go to the wire, although Slovakia still look well placed to reach the finals for the first time.

They are two points clear of Slovenia and visit Poland, who are now out of the running. Slovenia should win at San Marino, which will secure a play-off berth and would send them through automatically if Slovakia fail to win.

Czech Republic must beat Northern Ireland and hope San Marino claim an unlikely draw.

Ukraine's 1-0 win over already-qualified England on Saturday leapfrogged them above Croatia in group six and another win in Andorra will secure second place.

Croatia must win at Kazakhstan to have any chance.

The play-off berths go to the best eight runners-up from the nine European groups. Norway, second in the five-team group six, look to be the ones to miss out, though there is a mathematical chance of them making it if group one produces a highly unlikely trio of results.

segunda-feira, 12 de outubro de 2009

Eleições autárquicas

Os resultados das eleições autárquicas de ontem em Portugal podem ser consultados ao pormenor aqui.

Como já foram mais do que esmiuçados pela comunicação social e pela blogosfera, apenas lhes dedico estas notas telegráficas: confirmou-se que Santana Lopes era uma fraca aposta para Lisboa nesta altura, como várias vezes disse a companheiros de partido; Rui Rio mostrou, uma vez mais, que os portuenses sabem separar o futebol da gestão da cidade, por muito que isso doa a Pinto da Costa e quejandos; Fátima Felgueiras e Avelino Ferreira Torres foram "despachados" sem apelo nem agravo, para bem da nossa democracia; em sentido contrário, não se percebe como Isaltino Morais consegue a maioria absoluta em Oeiras depois da sua clara condenação na justiça - sempre estou para ver como é que os seus eleitores vão reagir se perder o recurso interposto...

Dança do leão

Na passada sexta-feira, dia 9 de Outubro, foi inaugurada a nova estação de correios do Terminal Marítimo do Porto Exterior (mais conhecido, simplesmente, por terminal de jetfoil), coincidindo com as celebrações do Dia Mundial dos Correios. Como é habitual nestas ocasiões, houve dança do leão:

quinta-feira, 8 de outubro de 2009

Mais uma oportunidade perdida?

Nuno Lima Bastos
Jornal Tribuna de Macau
8 de Outubro de 2009

Foram ontem apurados os votos da emigração nas eleições legislativas portuguesas, responsáveis pela partilha dos últimos quatro lugares em São Bento. Retardei o mais possível a elaboração desta crónica, na esperança de saber já os resultados quando a iniciasse, mas não fui afortunado. Por isso, parto em desvantagem em relação aos leitores, que vão ter acesso a estas linhas já conhecendo esse desfecho...

É claro que, em face dos 226 deputados já definidos, este encerramento do escrutínio não altera nada. O Partido Socialista, com 96 assentos, vai continuar a precisar dos 21 votos do CDS-PP para chegar à maioria absoluta na Assembleia da República. Só mudaria alguma coisa se o PS conseguisse o resultado “impossível” (e jamais atingido por qualquer cor partidária) de açambarcar os quatro deputados dos círculos da Europa e de Fora da Europa. Aí, os 16 parlamentares do Bloco de Esquerda já permitiriam a formação de uma maioria absoluta de esquerda sem os comunistas.

Em 2005, o PSD elegeu José Cesário e Carlos Páscoa Gonçalves pelo círculo em que Macau se integra, graças aos 7707 votos que os emigrantes lhe conferiram. Com 3607 votos, o PS ficou a escassos 247 boletins de dividir os lugares com os laranjas.

Este ano, as contas devem ser ainda mais renhidas, dado que, até ao final da manhã de anteontem, apenas haviam chegado a Lisboa 7059 sobrescritos de eleitores a residir fora do velho continente – um total, portanto, abaixo do que o partido vencedor alcançou sozinho em 2005. Aliás, com tão poucos votantes, os escrutínios que o PS recebeu há quatro anos seriam suficientes para garantir agora os dois assentos.

Independentemente de quem irá cantar vitória com o cabeça-de-lista do PSD (cuja reeleição me parece evidente), sinto que Macau desbaratou mais uma excelente oportunidade de chegar à Assembleia da República. Já o disse antes e continuo a repeti-lo. Afinal, quão difícil seria associações como a ATFPM, a APOMAC e a Casa de Portugal juntas mobilizarem três ou quatro mil votos de cidadãos portugueses aqui no território? Impossível não seria, estou convencido.

Compreendo que a ATFPM se não queira envolver abertamente nesta contenda, uma vez que constitui o sustentáculo dos três membros do Conselho das Comunidades Portuguesas (CCP) eleitos por Macau. O facto de o actual presidente do CCP ser um destes conselheiros – o médico Fernando Gomes – torna a situação ainda mais sensível, já que uma articulação da ATFPM com uma dada força partidária para efeitos de combate eleitoral poderia dificultar a cooperação institucional entre a direcção do CCP e os diversos partidos com assento parlamentar, já para não falar dos potenciais riscos para a própria coesão interna da equipa de Fernando Gomes.

Muito bem, mas continuaria a ser possível concertar a abstenção da ATFPM com uma postura activa das outras associações de matriz portuguesa, nomeadamente as duas que referi atrás, assegurando os apoios necessários para meter um nome de Macau em São Bento.

Já sei que viriam novamente ao de cima os eternos medos das iniciativas fracturantes, tão típicos deste nosso microscópico burgo (aliás, os mesmo que levam a que nem sequer se aceite debater certos temas, quando mais tomar posição sobre eles...). Sugeria, então, que se mandassem os grandes partidos “às malvas” e se procurasse negociar um entendimento eleitoral com um pequeno partido. Se não o CDS-PP ou o Bloco de Esquerda (os comunistas jamais entrariam no meu imaginário), uma das outras onze cores sem representação parlamentar. No meio de tanta aberração, até há alguns campos que escapam...

Certo é que, enquanto formos olhando para estas ideias como mero fruto de uma imaginação delirante, vamos continuar condenados a aturar políticos que se limitam a vir fazer turismo a Macau, inchados pelo habitual tempo de antena que a nossa comunicação social insiste em lhes dar para nada de útil ou de novo exprimirem. Para esse peditório é que, garantidamente, não dou mais...

Costuma dizer-se que cada sociedade merece os governantes (e os representantes) que tem. Eu acredito que merecemos melhor. Resta saber se alguma vez faremos por isso ou vamos preferir resignar-nos ao interminável choradinho de que ninguém nos liga em Lisboa...

Adenda: em reforço do que acima escrevi, recordaria que dois dos três deputados do PSD eleitos pela emigração são, eles próprios, emigrantes de longa data: Carlos Gonçalves, o cabeça-de-lista pelo círculo da Europa, vive em França e o seu homónimo Carlos Páscoa Gonçalves, número dois pelo círculo de Fora da Europa, reside no Brasil. Só José Cesário é que nunca foi emigrante. Ora, se o Brasil e França podem ter, cada qual, o seu deputado na Assembleia da República, não vejo porque não possa ter Macau também o seu...

Nota: agradeço ao Bairro do Oriente a selecção desta crónica para as suas «Leituras» da semana.

Eleições legislativas portuguesas - resultados finais

Mais pormenores podem ser consultados aqui.

Resultados das legislativas portuguesas em Macau

Estes resultados levariam à divisão dos dois deputados do círculo de Fora da Europa entre o PSD e o PS, mas a adição dos resultados da América (todo o continente americano) e de África já apurados indicia que o PSD irá manter José Cesário e Carlos Páscoa Gonçalves na Assembleia da República.

No círculo da Europa, o PS deverá ganhar, mas o PSD conseguirá aguentar o seu deputado.

Assim, na emigração, os laranjas continuarão a dar 3-1 aos rosas, pelo que o PS ficará com um total de 97 deputados e o PSD com 81. O CDS-PP manterá os seus 21, o Bloco de Esquerda 16 e o PCP 15.

Kindle disponível em Portugal e Macau

O Kindle, o conhecido leitor de textos em formato electrónico (sejam livros, jornais ou revistas) da Amazon, vai começar a ser exportado para cem países e territórios, incluindo Portugal e Macau, a partir do dia 19 deste mês.

Infelizmente, só será exportado o modelo com ecrã de seis polegadas e capacidade para 1500 livros, continuando o modelo maior, com ecrã de 9,7 polegadas e capacidade para 3500 livros (o Kindle DX), reservado ao mercado americano.

O preço de venda são 279 dólares americanos, acrescidos dos custos de envio.

Mais pormenores podem ser lidos nesta peça do jornal Público e na própria Amazon. Recomendo também a leitura deste artigo, que enumera dez razões para comprar um Kindle e outras dez para não o fazer (obrigado ao meu amigo A.I. pela indicação).

quarta-feira, 7 de outubro de 2009

Lido noutro lado

Já lá vão alguns dias, mas achei curiosa esta perspectiva sobre as recentes eleições legislativas de Macau (ainda que não concorde com ela, entenda-se).

domingo, 4 de outubro de 2009

Impedimentos dos titulares de cargos políticos

Ho vows to usher in law on post-retirement work
Chief executive to bring in legislation before end of year

Fox Yi Hu
South China Morning Post
October 2, 2009

A long-awaited law to restrict officials' post-retirement work in the private sector may be enacted by the end of the year, when the current Macau government leaves office.

Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau-wah on Wednesday pledged to have such a law ready before a government led by his successor, Dr Fernando Chui Sai-on, comes in. Ho is due to step down on December 19.

"People don't have to worry. All principal officials in this government, including the chief executive, will be subject to the rule," Ho said at the airport before flying to Beijing for the National Day parade.

He said the Executive Council had been drafting a bill that would soon be submitted to the legislature. But details of the bill, such as the length of time for which officials will be banned from working in private firms, have yet to be announced.

Re-elected legislator Jose Coutinho said Macau residents had been vocal in calling for such a law.

"Problems of corruption and collusion have been exposed in the government. The public is demanding rules to ensure fairness and transparency," he said.

Former public works minister Ao Man-long was jailed in April for 28 years and six months on 81 counts of bribe-taking, money laundering and other crimes.

Political commentator Professor Larry So Man-yum said the public outcry in Hong Kong over a developer's job offer to former housing chief Leung Chin-man had prompted calls in Macau for restrictions on officials' post-retirement work.

"Macau people have learned from the Leung Chin-man controversy," he said. "In the past legislative poll, several election teams stressed the need for rules regarding officials' post-retirement work."

A public uproar last year followed the Hong Kong government's approval of Leung's application to work with New World China Land (NWCL).

Leung was director of housing when the government sold the Hunghom Peninsula housing estate in 2004 for barely half the asking price to a consortium including NWS Holdings, the conglomerate flagship of New World Development, which owns NWCL. He was offered the job one year after his retirement. A Legislative Council inquiry is now being carried out.

In Hong Kong, a directorate-grade official is subject to a one-year "sanitisation period" after retirement before being allowed to work in the private sector, in addition to a three-year "control period" allowing some flexibility.

In the case of a permanent secretary, the control period and the sanitisation period run concurrently. No employment is allowed within the sanitisation period except unpaid work for charitable, academic or non-profit organisations.

The Hong Kong rules compare with a two-year restriction period in Britain, and one year in the United States and Canada. Singapore has a much stricter system with a five-year ban in certain categories.

Macau has rules restricting officials only at the levels of bureau heads and deputy bureau heads. After retirement, such officials are subject to a six-month ban from working in fields related to their government work.

Legislator Au Kam-san said it was strange that under the Macau system, department deputies were restricted but their bosses were not.

Susana Chou, outgoing president of Macau's Legislative Assembly, said in July that it was a great pity that the legislation regarding high officials' post-retirement work could not be completed in her term.

She said that since 2006, she had been asking the government to submit a bill, but some "irresponsible officials" had resisted the legislation. Chou did not name the officials.

Out of Africa?

Vêm aí os dois últimos e decisivos jogos para a qualificação de Portugal para o Mundial 2010, na África do Sul: com a Hungria, a 10, e com Malta, a 14 deste mês, ambos em casa. Esperemos que não sejam um remake do filme Out of Africa...

quinta-feira, 1 de outubro de 2009

Um deplorável incidente

Nuno Lima Bastos
Jornal Tribuna de Macau
1 de Outubro de 2010

Agora que já ficaram para trás as eleições legislativas locais e portuguesas, que os votos recontados já tiveram o merecido destino e que o presidente da república já quebrou o tabu das “escutas”, parece-me ser boa altura para, enfim, partilhar com os meus leitores um deplorável incidente a que fui sujeito há três semanas, ou não estivesse ele intimamente associado ao livre exercício do direito de opinião que venho praticando neste espaço desde Fevereiro de 2008.

Como é sabido por quem costuma ler as minhas crónicas, ocupei largo período dos meses de Verão a rever a génese da Fundação Jorge Álvares, em finais de 1999, e as reacções públicas profundamente negativas, aqui e em Portugal, que se seguiram à revelação dessa iniciativa envolvendo o último governador do território. Lateralmente, abordei outros factos contemporâneos desse processo, como a criação do Instituto Internacional de Macau ou os avultados subsídios que o general Rocha Vieira reclamou e recebeu por férias supostamente não gozadas ao longo do seu mandato de quase nove anos.

Tive o cuidado de tudo documentar. Além disso, não recorri ao que eu próprio então escrevera (houve textos meus publicados ou citados no Ponto Final, no Diário de Notícias e no Público, por exemplo), para não cair no duplo papel de fonte e autor. Preferi, ao invés, recorrer à investigação, à narração e à opinião de terceiros que considerei fontes credíveis – profissionais da informação que, ainda hoje, são respeitados no seu meio. Citei algumas posições contrárias, mas em bastante menor escala, por uma razão que julgo (ou julgava...) óbvia: porque, na minha óptica, não apresentavam dados susceptíveis de desmentir os factos que iam caindo no domínio público, antes se ficando por valorações puramente subjectivas de sinal contrário. Nas raras vezes em que o conseguiram fazer, curei de o referir ou, pura e simplesmente, nem sequer fiz uso dos elementos objectivamente refutados.

Tenho, pois, a consciência descansada em relação ao trabalho que levei a cabo ao longo de onze semanas (entre 18 de Junho e 3 de Setembro). O que não tenho, nem pouco mais ou menos, é a pretensão de que toda a gente concorde comigo, muito menos os “visados” nos meus textos (embora a minha preocupação seja denunciar factos; não entrar em ataques pessoais). O mundo é mesmo assim...

O que me traz hoje, então, de volta a este assunto? “Apenas” isto: há, exactamente, três semanas, no final de uma mesa-redonda como tantas outras que costumam ter lugar no território, uma das figuras citadas no conjunto de artigos a que chamei de «antologia da transparência» veio falar comigo. Manifestou-me a sua insatisfação pela minha iniciativa, queixando-se de «falsas» acusações. Recordei-lhe que identificara todas as fontes e sugeri-lhe que redigisse a sua própria versão dos acontecimentos – um direito que lhe assistia e que poderia exercitar com facilidade, ou não beneficiasse de exposição semanal neste mesmo matutino. Depois, os leitores que tirassem as suas conclusões.

A conversa prosseguiu em tom civilizado por mais alguns minutos, até que expressei a minha incompreensão por determinadas palavras que o general Rocha Vieira proferira sobre a Fundação Jorge Álvares em Junho último, no retorno a Macau. Basicamente, e citando agora o Hoje Macau de 15 desse mês, por ter afirmado que «cumpri o meu dever e nunca deixei de dormir por causa da fundação. Não acredito que haja fundações com maior transparência que esta». Perturbava-me a incapacidade do ex-governador em esboçar um mea culpa, por muito tímido que fosse.

O meu interlocutor começou a exaltar-se. Retorquiu-me com um repetido «nem tinha que fazer», insistindo que o general fizera tudo bem. Perante isso, deixei claro que nada tinha a alterar na minha «antologia», pois ela traduzia a minha convicção dos factos.

Qual a minha estupefacção quando, em tom assaz agressivo, e não obstante se encontrar já outra pessoa connosco, me dirige estas palavras: «sabe o que eu tive vontade de fazer quando li aqueles artigos pela primeira vez? Tive vontade de lhe partir a cara. Eu devia era partir-lhe esses dentes todos. Sabe o que você é? Um filho-da-puta! Um filho-da-puta, é o que você é!». Posto isto, virou-me, de imediato, as costas e meteu-se num elevador com outras pessoas que passavam no momento.

É verdade que o autor de tão ignóbil atitude foi o mesmo que, numa entrevista à TDM em 4 de Março de 2000, lançou esta despudorada ameaça a destinatários incertos: «quero deixar também este alerta: que estejam atentos também a isso, porque quem não tem o mesmo interesse que todos nós em relação ao futuro de Macau merece ser isolado. Tenho que dizer isto com muita franqueza e muita convicção. Merece ser isolado, ser bem identificado. E se não quiser, se não se sentir bem aqui, olhe, há muitos sítios onde pode estar» (reproduzida no Ponto Final de 12 de Maio de 2000).

Essa não é, porém, a minha linguagem, nem a minha forma de dirimir diferenças. Por isso, apresentei a competente queixa-crime na justiça.

Um bom amigo lembrava-me, um dia destes, que é nas situações limite que se conhecem as pessoas. Ora aqui está uma dessas situações. Cada um dos vários envolvidos terá a sua responsabilidade a cumprir na realização da justiça. Aguardo serenamente os desenvolvimentos.

E não, ainda não foi desta que me calaram...

Nota: agradeço penhoradamente todas as mensagens de apoio que tenho recebido sobre este assunto, assim como esta referência publicada no conhecido Bairro do Oriente (relembrada aqui e aqui).
Julgo que, mais do que um acto isolado, está aqui, de certo modo, em causa a salvaguarda de todos aqueles que manifestam publicamente as suas opiniões "não alinhadas" na nossa comunicação social e na blogosfera. Infelizmente, parece haver tiques do passado que ainda não verteram completamente para o esgoto da história, ajudando a empestar o ar que nos rodeia, já de si a braços com outras fontes de poluição mais recentes...