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Letters to the Editor, September 20, 2012

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 September, 2012, 3:39am

Protests over Diaoyus have gone too far

I have been shocked to see how the anti-Japanese protests on the mainland over the disputed Diaoyu Islands have turned violent.

Witnessing the actions of some protesters, it is as if they had lost their sanity. They seemed to be looking for trouble.

Since when did it become acceptable to break the law by throwing bricks and other objects, burning cars and hurting people?

This is no way to show support for your country, and their intolerable actions will have no effect on Japan.

A protester was reported as saying that the People's Liberation Army should belong to the people. I agree, but that does not mean the army should turn a blind eye to such a chaotic situation.

It is the job of the army to maintain stability within society and to protect innocent citizens.

The protesters must take responsibility for what they have done.

Demonstrators should accept that they are not achieving anything by causing trouble.

I think everyone involved in this sensitive issue needs to calm down.

Li Suet-man, Sheung Shui

 

Violence leads to social disharmony

The public outcry over the Diaoyu Islands dispute has spread to many mainland cities.

Citizens have taken to the streets to express their outrage over Japan, but some protests have turned into riots.

Display windows of Japanese stores have been smashed by people throwing rocks, Japanese-made cars wrecked and Japan's national flag burned.

This is not what one expects to see in a peaceful protest.

These people presumably think their violent demonstrations somehow have a unifying effect against the stand being taken by Japan, but they are being irrational.

Such protests do more harm than good. They have led to clashes between police and citizens and created social disharmony.

Blind patriotism will only intensify nationalist sentiments and domestic tensions.

It is up to the central government to seek a solution to the Diaoyu Islands dispute.

Alice Kwan, Ho Man Tin

 

We can mend damaged relationship

The dispute over the Diaoyu Islands has exacerbated differences between Japan and China ("Diaoyus crisis threatens China-Japan celebrations", September 14).

Because of this crisis, events to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the normalisation of Sino-Japanese relations are threatened.

The situation has got worse with the violent protests we are seeing on the mainland against Tokyo.

I think both sides in this dispute have been at fault.

Japan was wrong to purchase the Diaoyu Islands before the sovereignty dispute between the two nations had been resolved. It was a provocative act.

However, I also condemn the violent protests on the mainland and the fact that the central government let them go ahead.

Differences will not be healed just by the leaders of Japan and China celebrating this anniversary.

Tensions can be eased by both sides trying to end mutual resentment and reach an understanding.

It is possible for Japan and China to work together to ease tensions and try to find agreement on the ownership of the islands.

Mending damaged relationships should not be seen as an insurmountable task.

Johnny Chiu Wing-ho, Kwai Chung

 

Patriotic games are dangerous

The Diaoyu, or Senkaku, Islands, are a bunch of uninhabitable barren rocks.

The Japanese occupation of them has not resulted in anyone losing their jobs, or their homes, or their freedom.

No known messiah was ever born there.

Yet a lot of Chinese people are out in the streets angrily protesting against the Japanese occupation. The theory as to why China, Japan and the United States are fighting over these islands is that there are oil reserves underneath those rocks, discovered by energy experts in the late 1960s. That's why there were no disputes prior to that time.

The point I am trying to make is that the protests by Chinese people against recent Japanese activities are not due to any personal loss of liberty, prosperity or freedom of belief.

They have been manipulated to support the Chinese government's war on resources, under the guise of national pride.

Could that be the result of being brainwashed from national education?

I wish to think for myself and I do not condone such dangerous patriotic games that could potentially lead to casualties and war.

Sean Niem, Mid-Levels

 

Find way to end border nightmare

I refer to Thomas Beckett's letter ("Fairly simple solution to Lo Wu chaos", September 18).

Unfortunately, Mr Beckett has ignored the plight of Chinese nationals who are not traders and who need to come to Hong Kong and return to Shenzhen for a variety of reasons.

As a Shenzhen resident, I find the situation at the Lo Wu border not only very time- consuming but also dangerous and frustrating.

I agree with those observers who say that the border has become a "nightmare".

I am often forced to get out of the way of trolleys loaded with heavy boxes.

These boxes have sharp and protruding edges that have scraped my skin on a number of occasions.

Yes, the trolleys and the non- trolley population need to be separated.

Immigration departments on both sides of the border need to do something so that people who are not involved in this trade do not need to join a line behind hundreds of traders dragging these boxes across the border.

Perhaps one or two immigration booths can be dedicated to Chinese nationals who are not pulling trolleys.

I have been told by friends that having an Apec [business travel] card is useless, as even the lines marked for foreigners on the Chinese side are filled by traders.

Both sides need to get together and solve this problem, as it is going to get a lot worse in the months to come.

Yunmei Wang, Shenzhen

 

Influx creates serious social problems

I sympathise with the residents of Sheung Shui.

To be blunt, the influx of mainlanders is causing problems for places like Sheung Shui which are so close to the border.

If the visitor volume keeps increasing, this will put a great deal of pressure on Hong Kong society.

Also, this influx is not really helping shopping malls, as many of these visitors tend to buy basic necessities such as milk powder and tissues rather than luxury goods such as electronic appliances or expensive watches.

This spending pattern has meant that prices of these basic necessities in stores in North District have risen and this means local residents face a heavier financial burden.

Some mainlanders also use welfare and community services and facilities earmarked for locals, for example, parks and sitting areas. This directly affects young children and the elderly. It is damaging infrastructure in North District and the social fabric of the neighbourhood.

With so many mainland migrants in the area, the children of North District residents are competing for limited spaces in primary schools.

They face far greater problems in this respect than children in other districts in Hong Kong.

If these problems are not addressed by the city's government, tensions between Hong Kong residents and mainlanders will get worse. It must do something to help affected citizens.

Kelly Lam Wing-sum, Kowloon Bay

 

Policies to fight poverty are misguided

The rich-poor gap in Hong Kong is still creating serious problems and the plight of those living in poverty is getting worse.

The government has implemented policies to help ease the difficulties of those in need, such as a minimum wage law, the transport subsidy scheme and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance.

However, these policies have failed to reduce poverty levels.

People are angry that the wealth gap is getting wider.

The situation is made worse by rising rents and high inflation.

Also, the minimum wage has not helped, as it has meant companies' production and operating costs have skyrocketed and so prices of goods go up.

What this society needs is a fair wealth distribution system. The government should come up with policies which effectively target poverty, such as building more public rental flats and providing training courses, which can make it easier for unemployed people to find a job.

Karen Kwan Pui-chi, Tsuen Wan

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rpasea
"Policies to fight poverty are misguided"
The recent announcement to build more public sector rental housing is a step in the right direction. The existence of cage homes and illegally subdivided flats in a wealthy city like Hong Kong is a disgrace and govt has a responsibility to take action.
Housing alone will not alleviate poverty and the minimum wage needs to be set at a level that enables one to survive. What level should this be? I would take Inland Revenue's threshold of $120,000 per annum as the point where salaries tax accrues as the level to set the minimum wage. Assuming 2500 hours per year results in a minimum wage of $48, an amount that seems reasonable to me.
Before bloggers start arguing that this will raise the costs of goods and services, I would remind them of a famous quote attributed to Henry Ford: Ford wanted to pay his workers enough so they could buy the cars they made. The logic here is people spend what they are paid and by doing so create jobs for others, profits for employers and the economy expands to everyone's benefit. Will a bowl of noodles cost more? Probably but we can afford it and the server bringing your noodles can as well.
 
 
 
 
 

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