Friday, 18 April 2014

Currying Favour

Zhang Xiaoming giving a speech when he first took office in Hong Kong
Earlier this week the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong held a fundraising dinner and the city's largest Beijing loyalist political party raked the money in.

About 800 people attended the event at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre who raised HK$63.8 million, with the hosts of each of the 70 tables shelling out at least HK$88,000.

Zhang Xiaoming, director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong wrote a piece of calligraphy that translates as "a long success in the future".

Apparently there was fierce bidding for this piece de resistance and in the end property tycoon Hui Wing-mau won with his final bid of HK$13.8 million.

Hui Wing-mau (left) holds calligraphy by Zhang (far right)
According to Forbes, he has a personal net worth of $5.3 billion, and is founder and chairman of Shimao Property Holdings, one of China's largest real estate developers.

Possibly buoyed by how much his talents are worth, Zhang also sang a song, raising an additional HK$11 million from other bidders.

Hong Kong's richest woman, Pansy Ho Chiu-king, Stanley Ho's daughter and a director of Sociedade de Turismo e Diversoes de Macau bid HK$5 million for a painting by former deputy director of the Hong Kong office, Li Gang.

Perhaps Hui and Ho will receive further preferential treatment in the next few years if they haven't already...

Democratic Party founding chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming slammed Zhang assisting the DAB in its fundraising activity.

"Under the principle of 'Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong' and a 'high degree of autonomy', the liaison office should not interfere by favouring a particular political party," Lee said on Commercial Radio.

Just for comparison, the Civic Party raised HK$2.8 million at a fundraising auction last Friday, while the Democratic Party gained HK$2.35 million at a similar event last year.

With the DAB rolling in the dough, it's no contest who will win the propaganda race in Hong Kong...

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