PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 March, 2008, 12:00am

Beijing had to act as protests turned violent

The Dalai Lama calls for the Chinese government not to use 'brute force' against the Tibetans.

Why did he and the groups associated with him not also call on Tibetans to conduct peaceful protests? He must have direct contact with his followers. Did he know in advance that they would turn violent? Had it been a peaceful protest, there would not be any need for armed police or tanks.

The film actor Richard Gere, a devoted follower of the Dalai Lama and chairman of the International Campaign for Tibet, calls for an Olympic boycott if Beijing mishandles the protests in Tibet, while he and other groups associated with the Dalai Lama continue to encourage their followers to protest.

How can anyone allow the Tibetans to break the social harmony and create social unrest by beating and killing their Chinese neighbours and burning Chinese property?

A foreign tourist saved a young Chinese man and two Chinese women from being beaten to death by a group of Tibetans.

CCTV footage shows violence and burning of shops by Tibetans.

How does one control violent protests in Tibet without any loss of life?

The Dalai Lama should call on his followers to stop the violence immediately instead of encouraging them to protest.

This forces Beijing to act appropriately and then be condemned.

Robert Chua, Mong Kok

Human rights pledges not kept

The current uprisings in Tibet are a reflection of the poor treatment of ethnic Tibetans handed down to them by their Han rulers, ever since mainland China took more direct control there in 1959.

By no stretch of the imagination can Tibetans' human rights be said to have been respected since then.

The brutal repression of the protests now going on there proves that point.

But China has given a commitment to the world community, at least as represented by the International Olympic Committee, that it would respect human rights, as a prerequisite for being allowed to hold the Olympics on its soil.

The world can now see more clearly that the totalitarian regime there has no intention of respecting human rights, now or at any other time - not even the rights of a people (Tibetans) it claims as its own.

Having clearly reneged on that empty promise of respecting human rights, the Olympics in China should be cancelled. That's one decision the IOC needs to get right.

Mary Pang, Kwai Chung

Older people can stay on

On the understanding that the current workforce faces an increasing tax burden if the retirement age remains unchanged, the government should take the lead in reconsidering the retirement age in the civil service system.

Although it may lead to grievances among civil servants by changing the retirement age from 60 to 65 or even to 70, the government could, in fact, adopt a more flexible approach.

It could re-employ those civil servants who are over 60 on revised terms, by reducing both their working hours and salaries since people over 60 would not want to work the longer hours their younger colleagues can cope with.

However, given advances in medical care which means that people are living longer, they would still be able to work and the experience they have acquired over their long careers would be an invaluable asset to society. Because of this, the government should not waste the skills of these people.

Because as they get older, they can fall sick, they should be on short-term contracts which are renewed annually. They would continue with these contracts until they decided they wanted to retire for good, or the government decided their services were no longer required.

The government could make savings under this scheme, as these officials who stayed on would not be entitled to their full pensions until they retired.

Given the trend of a shrinking workforce caused by a lower birth rate and a higher life expectancy, the competitiveness of Hong Kong in the global economy is under threat.

By initiating this plan to rehire senior civil servants to help us remain competitive, the government will be leading by example.

As a consequence, we might see other sections of the Hong Kong community following suit.

I believe many elderly people in Hong Kong would still be willing to work into their 60s and 70s, on lower salaries and shorter working hours, because they want to continue making a contribution to society.

Eric Chu, Tsing Yi

Caning is not the answer

Samson Yuen Hau-lung ('Children need old fashiond discipline', March 17) argues that abolishing corporal punishment in Hong Kong has led to an increase in violence in schools.

This argument seems to assume that, in the past, the main cause of violence in schools was caused by teachers who chose not to administer corporal punishment. In fact Mr Yuen has overlooked other factors.

In our school system nowadays, too much emphasis is placed, by parents and teachers, on book learning skills. Pupils are not helped with the social skills needed to get along with people.

A lot of those students involved in 'school violence' came from dysfunctional families.

Giving the 'rod' in such a family situation will probably make things worse. Your correspondent mentioned the effectiveness of corporal punishment in Singapore and South Korea.

However, when you see footage of street protests in Korea, they sometimes turn violent, and many of the people involved are students.

We have to look at a variety of factors when examining violence in schools.

Virginia Yue, Tsuen Wan

End dollar link

With almost all the major banks reporting heavy losses in the recession-hit US economy, the Hong Kong dollar link to the US dollar is doing more harm than good to our economy.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority should seriously consider de-linking the Hong Kong dollar.

Why should we support a sinking ship in the form of the US? Our currency should now be linked to the yuan, since most of our business is with the mainland.

We should come out of the US dollar link now, before it starts harming our economy.

Central banks around the world are already reducing the quantity of US dollars they hold.

Anna Naidu, Central

Pricey visas

John Wilson's letter suggesting that Chinese visa charges for British nationals holding permanent Hong Kong residency status are much higher than those Britain charges Chinese nationals for UK entry, is misleading ('So much for reciprocity', March 17).

He is not comparing like with like.

The HK$725 fee quoted for a British entry visa, whether single or multiple entry (which by the way, is very difficult for a Chinese to obtain) applies only to a visa with a maximum validity of six months.

If Chinese wish to have longer term UK visas, they face a charge of #200, which amounts to more than HK$3,000.

P. A. Crush, Sha Tin