PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 April, 2009, 12:00am

Not comparing like with like when looking at visa rules on mainland

I refer to Terry Scott's letter ('Official should explain visa difficulties', April 12).

He asks why he cannot get to the mainland as easily as the mainland residents get to Hong Kong, even though he is a permanent Hong Kong resident.

Perhaps Mr Scott does not realise that he is in fact talking about three different identities - mainland citizenship, foreign citizenship (I presume he is an expatriate living in Hong Kong and a foreign passport holder) and Hong Kong permanent residence status.

Having such a grudge like his is like comparing an orange to an apple. If Mr Scott really wants to enjoy the kind of convenience enjoyed by mainlanders he might wish to consider giving up his original nationality. China does not recognise dual nationality (see article 3 of the PRC Nationality Law.)

One such famous example is Allan Zeman, who renounced his Canadian citizenship for a Hong Kong SAR passport and a China travel document.

Even so, the Hong Kong SAR passport, a proof of the Hong Kong permanent residence status, does not entitle the holder to full Chinese citizenship.

As a locally born Chinese and a Hong Kong permanent resident, I need a Chinese travel document too (the so-called 'home visit permit') to travel to the mainland and I would need to apply for an employment visa to work there. Also, I am not entitled to mainland social security.

We Hongkongers should ask why it is not as convenient for us to travel to the US or Britain as it is for the people from those countries to come to Hong Kong.

As a Hong Kong permanent resident, I tried to fill in an online application form for a US visa but gave up half way through. The job was so tedious.

In the form I even had to put down my education details and armed conflict history, even if I was a victim.

I started to wonder whether the US still welcomed visitors.

In another case, a friend of mine managed to get as far as the Heathrow Airport in London, but was refused entry to Britain by the immigration officers there for not having hotel reservation papers, even though his Hong Kong SAR passport exempts him from a British visa, in theory, however, just in theory.

Owen Tang, Wan Chai

Lower the cost of 'green' projects

When US President Barack Obama promoted his new policy of eco-friendly strategies, the Hong Kong government should also have come forward with a more positive policy regarding environmental protection.

The promotion of green business is a good way to support the environment.

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks will try to attract companies ('Science parks' chief sets out plan to attract green businesses', April 14) that have eco-friendly strategies [that can be adopted on the mainland and the rest of Asia].

I think that some businesses are reluctant to adopt environmentally friendly ideas, because the are worried about the costs involved.

Entrepreneurs always have to think about ways of maximising their profits.

If the cost of adopting eco-friendly strategies is much higher than a plan without such strategies, the green option will probably be rejected.

Therefore, if the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks want to try to attract green businesses, they will have to undertake studies into eco-friendly technology which can be used by businesses.

They must try and find ways of lowering the costs, so that more firms are willing to get involved in green works.

There are examples of such policies succeeding in other countries. Eco-cars are quite popular in Japan.

The Japanese like them, because they are small and environmentally friendly.

The presence of firms producing green technology will encourage more Hong Kong companies to adopt eco-friendly strategies.

Au Pui-kit, Sha Tin

Children must learn to care about animals

I refer to the article by Simon Parry ('Life and death in a tank', April 12).

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals director Sandy Macalister said it all.

Yes we do need to change the law and we also need to educate the public.

Perhaps broadcasts on conservation and animal welfare during local TV adverts could be a start. As a principal and teacher I encourage all students to be aware of the needs of all creatures.

Like us they have feelings, feel pain, are sensitive. Education from the foundations is the key, it should start in kindergarten.

Wembley International Kindergarten has been running a pat-a-pet programme for almost 25 years with this aim in mind.

Jean Afford, principal, Wembley International Kindergarten, Taikoo Shing

Fish more complex than humans guessed

I am grateful for Simon Parry's insightful article ('Life and death in a tank', April 12 April).

Recent studies have shown that fish are much more complex than we humans ever guessed. The journal Fish and Fisheries, for example, cited more than 500 research papers proving that fish are smart, have impressive long-term memories and sophisticated social structures and can use tools.

A research team at the University of Guelph in Canada found that fish feel fear when they are being chased. And scientists at Stanford University discovered that fish have the reasoning capacity of small children.

Fish also feel pain and, as Parry's article points out, they suffer horribly on the journey from sea to supper. The kindest choice is to leave fish (and other animals) off our plates and try healthy vegetarian food instead (see www.PETAAsiaPacific.com for recipes).

Rochelle Regodon, campaigns manager, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Asia

Not a western import

Your article ('In God they trust', April 12) is presented from a Eurocentric perspective and has some key omissions that perpetuate the misconception of Christianity being a 'western import' into China.

Christianity first entered China in the third and fourth centuries with Syriac Christian traders and missionaries from the Middle East, not from Europe. After the Tang dynasty persecutions, Syriac Christianity was reintroduced to China by the Mongols from the north. A third wave of non-European Christian missionary activity came from Siberia with Russian Orthodox missionaries proselytising to the Chinese from 1685, and significant expansion of the Orthodox Church in China occurred in the 19th century.

The article says that only two movements (Catholic and Protestant) are registered for Christian worship in China. The Eastern Orthodox Church is registered by the State Bureau of Religious Affairs and Chinese Orthodox Christians worship in legally registered churches across China's northern provinces every week. Clergy are sadly lacking at this time.

Simon Appleby, Sai Kung

Help sportswomen

I refer to the report about women's cricket ('HK women aim to hone skills against Pakistanis', April 12).

I urge the government of Pakistan to invest more money in women's sport, so that sportswomen from the country can take part in more international events.

I think this would be a good idea given the fact that their male counterparts have failed to win any major trophies or international sporting honours over the past five years.

K. M. Nasir, Mid-Levels