Letters

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 June, 2012, 12:00am

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Gunrunners in Security Council

A report described the arrest of Chinese and American gunrunners, showing how they smuggled guns and bullets into the mainland ('Sino-US gunrunning ring foiled', June 13).

Gun smuggling is good copy and James Bond material but how about some active reporting on the weapon sales by members of the UN's Security Council to dictators over the past decade? Nations in the Middle East and Africa are awash with guns, tanks and missiles supplied by China, Russia, Britain, France and the US - all permanent members of a body presumed and committed to promote peace.

If an individual sells arms internationally, he is denounced as a gunrunner, a 'dog of war'. But when a prime minister authorises sales of surplus killing machines to dictators and state-sponsored terrorists, he or she is hailed as an astute diplomat. All the deadly guns, missiles and tanks used in Libya and Syria against civilians were sold by the above countries.

The UN is a failure because it does not condemn the sale of weapons to militaristic nations. Each country is entitled to defend itself, but by selling arms to others, it encourages arms races between conflicting countries and foments war.

Of course, the politics of the UN is manipulated by the armed forces, the generals and admirals, who want to exert power in international affairs. For example, the high Pentagon budget gives the military men in the US enormous clout in domestic and international affairs.

The situation in China and Russia is much the same.

Unfortunately, decent-minded world citizens have no vote in the UN, so it can never be reformed.

There is too much money in arms sales to be made by the five permanent members of the Security Council. The money goes to Beijing, Moscow, London, Paris and Washington, but the bodies pile up in Africa and Syria.

The worst gunrunners are not greedy private individuals but the UN Security Council's permanent members. Another League of Nations travesty, it seems.

J. Garner, Sham Shui Po

Hacker 'T' must be condemned

An anonymous hacker calling himself 'T' plans further attempts at disrupting the websites of various Hong Kong and mainland government departments, on July 1 ('Hacker threatens July 1 chaos', June 21).

Apparently this is his reaction to efforts by the authorities to bring him to task, to accept responsibility for his earlier efforts.

When reviewing that extraordinary scenario, let us keep in mind that these informative governmental webpages are provided as a very useful service to the public. As such, they are much visited and are very helpful to many people.

As with all anarchists, this 'T' seeks to damage or destroy existing institutions with his facile gesture, without offering anything positive as an alternative. Such actions, or attempted actions, do nothing for democracy and are to be rightly condemned by all public-spirited citizens.

Paul Surtees, Mid-Levels

Will Leung stand up to Beijing?

I back the comments made by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen regarding the death of Tiananmen Square activist Li Wangyang ('New probe of June activist's death launched', June 15).

During a question-andanswer session in the Legislative Council he 'raised doubts about Li's death'. He said he had passed on Hong Kong people's views on the matter to the central government.

This is not the first time Mr Tsang has relayed people's concerns over alleged injustices by mainland authorities. He also spoke up for Ching Cheong, the Hong Kong-based correspondent of The Straits Times, who was charged with breaching the mainland's national security laws. Mr Tsang was once criticised for not intervening in this matter, but Ching's family later revealed that he had acted behind the scenes to help secure Ching's release.

Sometimes it appears that Mr Tsang has not done much to enhance civil rights and civil liberties in Hong Kong. But, on several occasions he stood up to Beijing on behalf of Hong Kong people and made a public stand against injustice.

Will the next chief executive be brave enough to do the same? I really hope that Leung Chun-ying will have the courage to say no to anything that undermines our core values, and will uphold not only 'one country' but also 'two systems' in Hong Kong.

Chan Sui-man, Hung Hom

Tsang should be thanked for service

Many people are going to remember Donald Tsang Yam-kuen as the chief executive who spent too much taxpayers' money on lavish hotels during overseas visits.

In many areas he failed to meet the public's expectations. But it would be irresponsible to draw conclusions on his 40-plus-year career simply by focusing on the scandals exposed in the past few months. Over the years, he made substantial contributions to Hong Kong which are now unfortunately forgotten.

One of them has to be his role in the 1997 Asia financial crisis.

Many of us still have vivid memories of the summer of 1997. Our stock market crashed, house prices plummeted, investors fled, and the US-HK dollar peg was at stake.

As financial secretary, Mr Tsang worked with monetary authority chief Joseph Yam Chi-kwong to buy back billions of dollars' worth of stocks from the plunging market.

Seeing the government's decisive actions, investors regained confidence. The Hang Seng Index recovered. Mr Tsang played a vital role steering Hong Kong through stormy seas. More importantly, he helped secure our city's status as an international financial centre capable of weathering severe financial turmoil. This has become a source of pride for Hongkongers.

As a Hong Kong citizen, I do thank Mr Tsang for his public service and wish him a happy retirement.

George Lam, Sha Tin

Idling engine law just a smokescreen

Your editorial noted the absence of prosecutions for idling engines and perhaps there never will be any ('Idling engine law has all but stalled', June 19).

Last week I took a photo of a minibus which was parked outside the K. Wah Centre in North Point. The picture showed the driver enjoying a well earned rest in air-conditioned comfort with the engine running and no one at the wheel.

I suppose it is fruitless to expect prosecutions since it is the long-established inalienable right of every indigenous male driver to sleep in his vehicle, this right having been established over countless generations and anyone trying to remove this right is obviously a troublemaker.

There is a saying that the law is an ass, but who is the real ass?

Is it the government that devised the law, or the legislators who enacted it?

Or perhaps it is those who believed that the government was doing something about air pollution, when, in fact, it was only blowing a smokescreen over its inertia.

Robert Wilson, Discovery Bay

Many died to defend free speech

I refer to the letter by Cynthia Sze ('Dark history of imperial exploitation', June 25).

The fact that Ms Sze can write so eloquently in English, albeit with much venting of bile and venom, about Hong Kong's colonial past, surely speaks volumes about how she benefited from receiving an education under a former colonial power she clearly despises.

Men and women from Britain fought and died here to defend the freedoms she now enjoys, including free speech - something that her mainland compatriots still aspire to.

Ms Sze, had it not been for the foreign powers you despise, you might well have been writing your diatribes in Japanese.

Ray Peacock, Happy Valley

Shame the grape trellis has to go

The campaigns against illegal structures have gone crazy.

I do not intend to defend chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying, but I think the grape trellis which was reported to be in his garden should have been spared.

Without the trellis it would have been necessary to chop down the grape vine. What a pity for an old grape vine.

N. S. Lim, North Point