Wednesday 19 September 2012

Big Heads

Big Heads look strange ... particularly in real situations ...

 Hong Kong Hospital Authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk

It is always an oxymoron to see overweight, unhealthy, cigarette-smoking medical doctors. Although Anthony Wu is no medical doctor, he is chief of Hong Kong's public hospitals and is overweight (if not obese).

Ling Jihua, a key aide of China President Hu Jintao

Is there anything strange and peculiar about this photo? Is the swept-back hair also photoshopped? Ling Jihua looks more like a cartoon character out of the Simpsons or Futurama.


Hospital Authority chairman has term extended (SCMP; paywall)

Anthony Wu's term extended one year to give some stability to volatile administration
Friday, 14 September, 2012, 12:00am

Emily Tsang and Olga Wong

Anthony Wu Ting-yuk has been appointed for a further year as Hospital Authority chairman amid talk Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's government is suffering a recruitment crisis as it deals with a host of controversies.

Wu, who had not been expected to renew his contract when it expires in two months, is the authority's longest-serving chairman. By the end of his new term he will have filled the post for nine years.

Observers say Leung is opting for stability amid turbulence, while having difficulty finding people willing to take the heat of a government post.

"It may be the right way to keep things unchanged for a while when the government is surrounded by so many flames," Polytechnic University social scientist Chung Kim-wah said. "After all, any new person appointed may risk drawing further attacks."

A source close to the government agreed, saying Wu's reappointment was " an appropriate arrangement for the new government, especially when it is seeking stability".

Wu, once a supporter of failed chief executive candidate Henry Tang Ying-yen, had already been given a two-year extension after an initial six-year term.

Former secretary for education Dr Arthur Li Kwok-cheung was once tipped to succeed him, but public hospital doctors said they were uneasy with Li's "heavy handed" leadership style.

"Both Wu and Li have their supporters and opposers, but I guess Li may draw comparatively more concern from doctors," former Public Doctors' Association president Dr Ho Pak-leung said.

Leung appointed five more members to his team yesterday, including three undersecretaries and two political assistants. But his team is still thought to be short seven under-secretaries and 13 political assistants.

Hints have been emerging that he is set to scale down the government restructuring plan that failed to reach the Legislative Council in its previous term because of lawmakers' delaying tactics.

A source familiar with the situation said earlier that Leung had already shelved the plan to create deputy posts for the chief secretary and financial secretary as a result of political pressure.

Wu said yesterday he was honoured to stay on.

"One of the priorities that the Hospital Authority needs to accomplish is to manage patient waiting times amid the challenges of an ageing population and the shortfall in medical manpower," he said.

"Certainly we will continue to find ways to improve the working conditions and environment for our staff."

The authority's chief executive, Dr Leung Pak-yin, said his management team was delighted by the reappointment.

Wu is not the first Tang backer to be reappointed by Leung. Allan Zeman, Ayesha Macpherson Lau and Tang's brother Tom Tang Chung-yen have also stayed on in various statutory bodies.

Car crash scandal complicates leadership transition (SCMP; paywall)

Emerging details of Beijing car crash in March have served to complicate an already uncertain picture after Bo Xilai's downfall

Wang Xiangwei
Monday, 03 September, 2012, 12:00am

As a popular Chinese idiom goes, misfortune never comes alone. On March 15, the Communist Party leadership sacked Bo Xilai from his position as party chief of Chongqing, bringing to the public's attention one of the biggest political crises to beset the party in a decade.

Three days later, an accident in Beijing, involving a Ferrari, the son of one of the mainland's most powerful officials and two young, ethnic-minority girls, served as a double whammy to the party's leadership.

The political ramifications from the twin scandals have added intrigue and additional complications to the party's once-in-a-decade leadership reshuffle scheduled for the 18th Party Congress. The opening date of the congress hasn't been officially announced, but analysts expect it to start in the second half of next month.

While the Bo scandal has been extensively reported on since March, details only recently began to emerge in the crash of a black Ferrari that killed Ling Gu, the son of Ling Jihua, a key aide of President Hu Jintao, and injured two girls. Details of the accident are in today's South China Morning Post.

Despite strong reactions from within the party, Chinese leaders seem to have decided to sweep the crash under the carpet, presumably because the party can't afford another major scandal made public so close to the leadership transition.

Saturday's announcement that Ling Jihua had been appointed to head the United Front Work Department served as a strong indication that Hu wants to engineer a "soft landing" for his protégé, but it also means that the prospects of Ling securing a seat on the Politburo have dimmed greatly.

Until Saturday, Ling was the head of the General Office of the Communist Party - equivalent to the job of chief of staff to the American president. He had complete control of access to Hu's office and set his agenda. Before the crash, he was even considered a strong candidate to the join the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee.

Instead, Ling could be named a deputy chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a largely ceremonial post but one which would entitle him to be treated as a national leader, according to mainland political hierarchy.

But Ling's "soft landing" has apparently angered many party elders and officials, who raised sharp questions over the elaborate attempt to cover up the accident, including the forging of a death certificate, and about how a young man in his 20s could afford such a Ferrari.

Drama surrounding the incident is unlikely to end soon, as the scandal looks set to put Hu's camp on the defensive at a critical juncture when party leaders are fighting among each other while trying to find their own supporters to fill Politburo positions.

Several mainland sources said Hu had seen his political will and bargaining power sapped in light of the scandals, and this had allowed former president Jiang Zemin to wield more influence in deciding the new leadership line-up.

As previously mentioned in this column, it is now unlikely that Hu will follow Jiang's example by staying on as chairman of the Central Military Commission for two more years after retiring as party chief next month and president in March.

There has been speculation that Hu wanted his protégé, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang, who looks set to become the new premier next year, to be made a vice-chairman of the military commission at the 18th congress. This would help maintain Hu's influence following his full retirement.

But several mainland sources said that this was unlikely to happen, as it could set a dangerous precedent of potentially allowing the armed forces to play a significant role in the day-to-day governing of the country's economic and social development.


  1. Medical doctors should act as role models to their patients and to the consumers as a whole. After all, how can you trust somebody who tells you to go on a diet and to exercise to lose weight and live longer when that person is also overweight himself?