Attacks on Care Teams fly in the face of facts

-

Attacks on Care Teams fly in the face of facts

On social media platforms, some commentators like to develop the flesh of defamation beneath the protective skin of freedom of speech. Their followers like to select groundless accusations that support their pre-existing opinions and beliefs. Such biased searches for preferred opinions are called confirmation bias.

In fact, the great swathes of information (including distorted facts and biased opinions) now available on social media seem to have seriously undermined confidence in the veracity of what people read and see.

One hardly needs reminding that more information has led to more disinformation. The aim of this article is to help readers filter facts concerning the district services and Care Teams in Hong Kong from defamatory opinions.

Sang Pu, who is notorious for his malicious criticism of China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, moved to Taiwan after the promulgation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong in June 2020. Besides being a political commentator, he also wears another hat as the chairman of the Taiwan Hong Kong Association.

In late 2022, he maliciously portrayed the Care Teams in a defamatory light. His main argument was that the Care Teams would play a similar role to neighborhood and residential committees on the Chinese mainland, all of which report developments in their communities back to the authorities. Sang claimed that Care Teams would be exactly the same as neighborhood committees on the mainland, and that the Communist Party of China wants to introduce them into Hong Kong to help quell any efforts to promote freedom and democracy.

The above notions do not seem to be honestly held by Sang.

First, it is worth noting that the HKSAR courts have, since the establishment of the special administrative region, been advancing the frontiers of human rights adjudication (The Judicial Construction of Hong Kong’s Basic Law, Lo Pui Yin (HKU Press, 2014)). Hong Kong people cherish freedom. Sang’s conspiracy theory is so fantastically alarming that it is beyond the imagination of all fair-minded people.

Keeping a watchful eye on residents would definitely draw an angry rebuke from all sectors of the community. It’s impossible to get the resentment genie back into the bottle after having released it. The conspiracy theories, such as of a so-called “surveillance scheme”, which Sang and others have suggested, provide further ammunition for Western politicians to use against China.

Second, any “surveillance scheme” would come at a great cost to the legitimacy of the HKSAR government.

Third, it is what the Care Teams are actually doing that really matters. The Care Teams in two pilot districts deserve great credit for providing caring services for the needy in accordance with their plans. Other Care Teams will follow suit.

Fourth, it is highly unlikely, given the complicated composition of the Care Teams, that the government could throw a shroud of secrecy over any hidden surveillance agenda.

Finally, the radar screens of the Care Teams may have blind spots because some residents are not covered by their service plans.

Facts are sacred. Some important facts can help us understand the true nature of the Care Teams. Critics should read the following paragraphs before pointing accusing fingers at the Care Teams.

The experimental Care Teams program aims to provide social services for the needy in the city’s 18 districts. It’s essentially a public-private partnership which liberates the government from making a substantial financial commitment to sustain the program. Supporting the government’s district-level work also enjoys a very high priority on the Care Teams’ agenda.

As announced in the 2022 Policy Address, Care Teams will be set up in the 18 districts to consolidate community resources and forces, support the government’s district-level work and strengthen community networks. Care Teams will organize caring activities and assist in handling emergencies. Acting as a transmission belt, they can also help the government disseminate information to the public and relay the views of the public to the government.

The two pilot districts are the Tsuen Wan and Southern districts. Other districts will gradually set up their own Care Teams, drawing on the experiences of those in the pilot districts. The government will delineate each district into sub-districts. Currently, the Tsuen Wan district has 19 sub-districts, while the Southern district has 17. District Officers will oversee all Care Teams. The performance of respective Care Teams will be assessed with reference to key performance indicators.

An examination of the Tsuen Wan and Southern districts’ Care Teams enables us to have a better grasp of their actual operations. The Tsuen Wan Care Teams have gathered community resources and lived up to the spirit of serving the community and building a caring community. Care Teams in these two districts have started providing caring services for people in need. As of the end of June, Care Teams in the Tsuen Wan and Southern districts had visited or contacted over 2,000 households with elderly members, and 1,000 other households in need, and had provided assistance based on the needs of those households. For example, the Care Team in the Southern district visited residents of A Square, the first transitional housing in the district, to understand their needs and help them integrate into the community.

Care Teams in Tsuen Wan have, so far, provided emergency assistance on two occasions under the command of the Tsuen Wan District Office. With regards to policy promotion, Care Teams in the Tsuen Wan and Southern districts actively promoted the government’s proposal to improve governance at the district level in May. Since commencing work that month, Care Teams in the two districts have already set up at least two communications channels (including telephone, email, social media and instant messaging applications) so members of the public can contact them.

It is hoped that the above clarifications will stop defamatory narratives and rumors from dominating the marketplace of ideas.

Pearl Tsang is chairwoman of Hong Kong Ample Love Society and co-director of district administration of the Chinese Dream Think Tank. 

Kacee Ting Wong is a barrister, part-time researcher of Shenzhen University Hong Kong and Macao Basic Law Research Center, and chairman of the Chinese Dream Think Tank.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily. 

【CDTT Newspaper Article】Peal Tsang & Kacee Ting:Attacks on Care Teams fly in the face of facts (China Daily HK Edition, 27 June 2023)

https://www.chinadailyhk.com/article/353309#Attacks-on-Care-Teams-fly-in-the-face-of-facts

PDF

https://www.chinadailyhk.com/epaper/pubs//chinadaily/2023/09/27/06.pdf

This article is reproduced by Kwun Media with the consent of China Daily.

中國夢智庫| 正名「關愛隊」

某些政治評論員喜歡在網路世界中躲在「言論自由」保護罩內發表誹謗性言論,粉絲們則習慣性尋找與注意能夠證實自己既有信念的論據,這種方式是大家常說的「確認偏誤」(Confirmation Bias)。事實上,網路世界裏存在大量資訊(包括歪曲的事實與偏激觀點)已嚴重影響網民對所接收的網路信息真實性大跌眼鏡。可以這麼說,海量信息會導致海量虛假資訊的出現。筆者選文,嘗試協助讀者如何從那些具誹謗性論調中認清政府成立「地區服務及關愛隊伍」(「關愛隊」)的背景與事實。

早前,因對我國與特區發表不公正與惡意批評的桑普在《香港國安法》2020年6月頒布後移居台灣。身為政治評論員,桑普還身兼「台灣香港協會」會長。2022 年底,他惡意地以誹謗言論談論「關愛隊」,主要論點是,「關愛隊」將扮演與內地「小區街道辦事處」類似的角色,說什麼「關愛隊」會向當局報告所有各小區的小道消息(註1)。

據桑普所言,「關愛隊」的構建理念與首都朝陽區的「红袖章義工大媽」(Red Armband Volunteers)或「小區街道辦事處」同出一辙。他又說建立這些組織的目的是執行「中國共產黨」的指示與充當各小區的眼線。他還補充說,「中國共產黨」已將這類組織部署在整個內地,現在就要在特區執行部署,「中國共產黨」想借此消除特區居民為爭取自由與民主的任何抗爭(註2)。

上述的林林總總不可能是桑普應該具備的誠實認知。首先,大家注意,特區法院自1997年成立以來一直作出不懈努力,推進有關人權的公平司法審訊(註3)。由於傳統上特區居人都認為自由無價,桑普的陰謀論不但危言聳聽,而且超出了咱們的想像極限。在各小區安放眼線盯梢居民肯定會招致社會各界人士的反感與憤怒。桑普首先釋放出所謂監視居民計劃,實質上是拋出一個「藥引」,隨之而來的是西方敵對國家對我國針對性的批評。

其次,大規模安放眼線盯梢將使特區政府的合法性付出巨大代價。第三,「關愛隊」的真正重要性在於它們至今到底有沒有作出貢獻。荃灣與南區兩個先導區的「關愛隊」按計劃為有需要人士提供關懷服務,值得大家稱讚。其他「關愛隊」也將效仿。第四,鑒於「關愛隊」的組成方式與遴選程序複雜,政府極不可能輕易在眾「關愛隊」中安放眼線而確持保密。最後,「關愛隊」提供的服務範圍沒有包括政府提供的所有民生事項,有部分居民不在「關愛隊」服務計劃範圍內。試問如何監察不在服務計劃內的人士?可見桑普的言論,簡直是一派胡言。

評論雖自由,事實更神聖。略舉一些重要事實幫助大家進一步瞭解「關愛隊」的真實性質。批評人士在指責「關愛隊」之前應先利用一下時間閱讀以下段落。

正如本專欄早前所述,實驗性「關愛隊」計劃旨在為特區18區內有需要的人提供社會服務。「關愛隊」本質上是一種公私夥伴關係,將政府從維持「關愛隊」計劃的實質性財政長期負擔中釋放出來。而「關愛隊」其中一個最主要任務是支持政府展開地區工作。

根據《2022年施政報告》,政府將在18區成立「關愛隊」,廣納地區組織與團體整合社區資源與力量,支援政府的地區工作,並加強社區網路,推展組織關懷活動,協助處理緊急情況。「關愛隊」作為政府與地區的施政紐帶,還可以幫助政府向公眾傳播與講解施政資訊,並將公眾的意見傳達給政府。

荃灣與南區是「關愛隊」先導區。之後其他16區將借鑒兩區的工作經驗,逐步建立「關愛隊」。政府將把每個區再細分為小區。例如荃灣有19個小區,南區則有17個(註4)。地區的各民政專員將帶領各區所屬的「關愛隊」,參考關鍵績效指標對各「關愛隊」的表現進行評估。檢討荃灣與南區「關愛隊」成效有助大家更進一步瞭解它們實際運作的情況。荃灣「關愛隊」加強地區支援,與居民建立恆常聯繫,一旦發生突發和緊急事故,即可迅速動員地區網絡協助受影響居民(註5)。

荃灣與南區「關愛隊」開始為有需要人士提供護理服務也有一段時間了。截至6月底,兩區的「關愛隊」已探訪/聯絡超過2,000個長者住戶及1,000個有需要的住戶,並按住戶的需要提供協助(註6)。例如,南區「關愛隊」探訪了區內首個過渡性房屋「A Square」居民,了解居民的需求並幫助其融入社區(註7)。

在緊急救援服務方面,在「荃灣民政事務處」的帶領下,所屬「關愛隊」至今已先後兩次為居民提供緊急援助。而在政策推廣方面,荃灣與南區「關愛隊」於2023年5月積極推廣政府改善地區層面管治的建議(註8)。自從2023年5月開始工作以來,這兩區「關愛隊」已設立至少兩條與居民溝通管道(包括電話、電郵、社交媒體與即時通訊應用程式),大大方便與市民聯絡。

筆者真誠希望上述講解與說明,能夠撥開雲霧見明月,進一步解說散佈在網絡世界針對成立「關愛隊」具誹謗性失實的敘述與謠言。

事實與資料來源已核查

註 1: Cheryl Tung and Chen Zifei「Innocent-sounding 『care teams』 spark fears of heightened surveillance in Hong Kong」Radio Free Asia 09.12.2022 available at: https://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/hongkong-careteams-12092022150349.html/ampRFA

註 2: 同上

註 3: 羅沛然「司法構建香港基本法:香港法院的違憲審查」香港大學出版社 2014 at p 285

註 4: 政府新聞網「荃灣與南區關愛隊遴選接受報名」2022年12月21日 available at: https://www.news.gov.hk/chi/2022/12/20221221/20221221_124519_340.html

註 5: 政府新聞網「荃灣區關愛隊起動」2022年5月5日 available at: https://www.news.gov.hk/chi/2023/05/20230505/20230505_200630_677.html?type=ticker

註 6: LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL PANEL ON HOME AFFAIRS, CULTURE AND SPORTS「District Services and Community Care Teams in Tsuen Wan and Southern District」10.07.2023 LC Paper No. CB(2)679/2023(05) available at: https://www.legco.gov.hk/yr2023/english/panels/ha/papers/ha20230710cb2-679-5-e.pdf

註 7: 同上

註 8: 同上

文:曾卓兒(左)
民政及青年事務局-東區民政事務處,北角西分區委員會副主席
香港弘愛會主席,「中國夢智庫」地區事務聯合總監
東區警區防騙宣傳領袖團隊宣傳領袖

文:丁煌(右)
深圳大學基本法研究中心兼職研究員
經民聯港島支部主席,「中國夢智庫」主席
國際公益法律服務協會顧問委員會成員
香港法學交流基金會副主席
全國港澳研究會會員

《中國夢智庫》是一間扎根特區的非牟利團體;與心存熱誠的資深義工、專家與職業專業人士們合作,攜手「說好中國故事」。

*作者文章觀點,不代表《觀新聞》立場