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BJ Students Attend the 2024-2025 Budget Press Conference

Two of our Bachelor of Journalism students, Wisley Lau Ho Yue and Mona Yan Zi Han, attended the press conference after Hong Kong Finance Secretary Paul Chan announced the 2024-2025 budget on Wednesday, February 28.

Lau and Yan listened to the finance secretary answer reporter questions, dominated by the scrapping of property curbs, tax breaks for electric vehicles, and the Kau Yi Chau Artificial Islands project.

For Yan, one of the most interesting topics is the tobacco tax. “I am very much in favour of the Government’s measure to raise the tobacco duty, which helps reduce the number of smokers, and increase a certain amount of tax revenue to narrow the financial deficit.. However, I am also partly worried that the rise in tax will cause greater discontent among smokers.” 

“I find the discussion between reporters questioning and the secretary’s response on government funding for tourism very interesting,” said Lau. “Given the budget’s announcement included a record-breaking deficit for the city’s economy, I am not fully confident spending billions on attracting tourists will be effective. In addition, the cost for monthly drone and firework displays, which might lose appeal over time, does not help balance the city’s budget.”  

Despite attempting to ask questions, the students unfortunately could not get any feedback from the secretary. “I tried my best to raise my hand throughout the whole process,” Yan said afterwards. “Although I did not succeed in asking a question to the secretary, the experience gave me more courage and confidence to be willing to break out of my comfort zone.”

The course on Reporting and Writing, which both Lau and Yan took up in Year 1, was very helpful. “Attending the press conference puts the theories we learned in class into reality,” Lau shared. “It gives a different and more insightful dimension to events that are later widely covered in different media.”

Mona Yan Zi Han, originally from Sichuan province in mainland China, has an interest in photography and took photos and videos from her Nikon camera and posted them on social media which received great feedback. 

“People were discussing the contents involved in this Budget, which made me feel a sense of mission as a journalist,” said Yan. “Journalism is to listen to people’s voices and speak on their behalf, and at the same time to tell the public about the government’s concepts in a more concrete and detailed way.”

Wisley Lau Ho Yue, a local student, came to HKU to study journalism and politics as it matches his interests in both areas. After the press conference, he shared his experiences and thoughts on the budget on his Substack page. 

“I enjoy writing and sharing my observations and thoughts about political issues and societal trends, studying in journalism not only makes me engage in ways I cannot do otherwise, but it helps me connect with other subjects of my choosing and boost my experience,” said Lau.