PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 February, 2012, 12:00am

Why plan is driving into trouble

You report that 50 mainland- registered vehicles a day will be allowed into Hong Kong for up to seven days with the next phase of the cross-border driving scheme ('New entry plan for mainland cars', February 9).

A lot of Hong Kong netizens are strongly opposed to the plan.

This attitude is connected to recent incidents, such as the Dolce & Gabbana photo-ban controversy, mainland visitors eating on the MTR and the protests by Hongkongers over the comments of Peking University professor Kong Qingdong .

Given the enormous number of Hong Kong vehicles on our roads, an additional 50 cars from the mainland would be unlikely to add to traffic or air pollution problems.

If people are worried about pollution, then the government should control the number of Hong Kong cars on our roads first, rather than banning mainland vehicles.

I understand some people are worried about driving standards north of the border.

However, mainland drivers applying for local licences will have to meet strict requirements, such as having a good driving record and attending courses on the city's traffic regulations.

The plan is an important part of the process of Hong Kong and the mainland coming closer together, but given the present tensions, it might be best for the government to delay its implementation.

Kelvin Lam Kin-wang, Tsuen Wan

Mainland motorists dangerous

Hong Kong would import a traffic problem by allowing mainland Chinese to drive on our already dangerous roads. Driving standards over the border are tragically low, as traffic rules don't apply. The attitude is, 'I have paid 500,000 yuan for my car, so I have priority.'

You can see it on YouTube, often with fatal consequences - overtaking on the hard shoulder; driving on the wrong side of the road; speeding; disregarding pedestrian crossings; whipping around corners where cyclists have right of way; and driving without a licence plate.

On my last holiday in Hunan, while in a minivan I asked the so-called professional driver several times to slow down before the van nearly swerved off the road to avoid approaching traffic.

Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for mainlanders under 45. Mainland drivers should not be allowed on our roads unless they pass the Hong Kong driving exam.

Kees van Es, Tai Po

On wrong side of public opinion

Chief executive hopeful Henry Tang Ying-yen tells us 'not to worry' about the potential hazards of allowing mainland drivers in to Hong Kong.

It appears our former chief secretary, like those drivers from across the border, is clearly on the wrong side of public opinion and heading for a collision.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

Status of either parent irrelevant

Article 24 of the Basic Law defines six categories of Hong Kong permanent residents.

Michael Chugani ('Judgment day', February 13) appeared to have confused categories 1 and 3.

The 1999 National People's Congress interpretation concerned only category 3, namely, children of Hong Kong permanent residents born outside Hong Kong.

For this category, according to the NPC, the child is a Hong Kong permanent resident only if one or the other of its parents was already a Hong Kong permanent resident at the time of its birth.

The Court of Final Appeal decision on Chong Fung-yuen in 2001 concerned Category 1, namely, a Chinese national born in Hong Kong.

The language of the Basic Law is plain: 'Chinese citizens born in Hong Kong before or after the establishment of the HKSAR' are Hong Kong permanent residents. The status of either parent at the time of the child's birth is simply irrelevant.

Margaret Ng, legislative councillor

Organ donor scheme outdated

I refer to the report ('Gift from the dead gives second chance at life', February 13). Hong Kong Society of Transplantation president Dr Cindy Choy Bo-ying 'stressed the importance of registering for organ donation and letting family members know'.

The former is self-evident but the latter needs to be clarified.

Why should 'letting family members know' be stressed as important? The answer is not simply because family members will appreciate the deceased's wishes, but because Hong Kong law requires the deceased's closest family member to give ultimate consent for organ donation even though the deceased's wishes may have already been declared. This legal requirement makes a mockery of the organ donation process in Hong Kong. An individual's rights that have been clearly and officially declared are relegated below that of a living family member's wishes.

Furthermore, if the deceased has a live-in partner, rather than a spouse, the law only recognises the deceased's closest family member as the ultimate decision-maker in the organ donation process. Yet the live-in partner will usually possess intimate and up-to-date knowledge of the deceased's personal wishes.

The British Medical Association has just started an awareness campaign about organ donation by releasing controversial proposals that will hopefully help reduce the chronic shortage of organs in Britain. One notable suggestion is to 'highlight the moral disparity of those who say they would accept an organ but would not donate one'.

Such proposals can only help to reduce people's traditionalist thinking and conservative values, and nurture a modern and progressive society where human lives are valued over ignorance, silly superstitions and beliefs in the afterlife.

Will Lai, Western district

China trying to uphold UN charter

I refer to the article by Steve Tsang ('China's UN veto belies its stated goal to help Syria', February 11).

He is quite right in surmising that China's rulers are mindful of the possibility of Western powers similarly imposing regime change on other authoritarian states if they had their way with Syria, the West having done so in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

It must have crossed their mind to even intervene in Hong Kong if its democratisation process did not meet with their expectations.

The US forcefully prevented the unification of Taiwan with the mainland in the 1950s and continues to place obstacles in its way.

But China did not veto the UN resolution out of self-interest but in order to uphold the UN Charter. Chapter 1, Article 2 (4), calls on members to refrain 'from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state'.

He was wrong to say that the vetoed UN resolution would have ensured the (peaceful) outcome that China 'claims to seek'.

It was inadequate in only calling on President Bashar al-Assad to step down but not also requiring the rebels, of which there are at least six unaffiliated groups, to lay down their arms (supplied by the US' allies on Syria's periphery). They would have murdered Assad and his minions if he did step down.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

Backing permanent full subsidy

It is quite unacceptable that our ethnic-minority students are at a disadvantage because they cannot sit exams based on their skill level due to their financial circumstances ('Ethnic-minority students decry huge exam fees', February 10).

These are students who have worked hard at learning a difficult language that is not their native tongue and who can not only speak fluently, but have worked towards reading and writing as well, something most employers require in Hong Kong, especially in the civil service.

I wholeheartedly agree with Fermi Wong Wai-fun of Unison that a permanent full subsidy is needed to help these bright bilingual (in some cases multilingual) students sit the more advanced AS-level or A-level exams.

Minority students should not have their futures impeded. I urge the chairman of the Community Care Fund's executive committee, Law Chi-kwong, to fast-track implementation of the full-fee subsidy.

Harminder Singh, civic minority affairs group, Civic Party