Letters to the Editor, March 10, 2014
In many ways, HK is treated like a colony
I do wish I could agree with Peter Lok's letter ("Good reason to yell at colonial flag-wavers", March 3).
It would be nice if being a Hong Kong person meant being Chinese, and that the two identities were really indistinguishable. It would be even nicer if our government in Beijing could be our government, and would promote such an ideal.
The reality is to be Chinese comes with a racial qualification many Hong Kong people would fail. Where does this leave them?
How can Hong Kong people truly feel Beijing represents them when they cannot conceivably hold power in the capital?
The lack of unity runs both ways. Yes, many people here feel separate from China, or more precisely, the culture, values and historic narrative of the Chinese Communist Party; but let us not forget that this China has hardly been accepting of Hong Kong either. Rather than accepted for who we are, we are told who we should be.
It is ironic that Hong Kong's relationship with China is not that of a city within a nation, but in many ways that of a colony.
We have a selected governor, limited powers of local administration, and are told to get on with making money. We are not invited to take part in the politics of the nation. Our place is to listen.
Evan Fowler, Fo Tan
Two sides find common ground
I refer to the article ("Beijing, Taipei sign science pacts", February 27).
The Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and Beijing-headquartered Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (Arats) held their 10th round of talks on February 27 in Taipei, concluding two pacts on meteorological and seismic monitoring co-operation.
The two deals are meaningful as the increasing incidence of extreme weather events has taken its toll on Taiwan and mainland China over the years. Thus, they will help Taiwan and the mainland enhance exchanges and co-operation, share relevant data, improve disaster warning capabilities and better ensure public safety.
In the past, the Taiwan Strait ranked alongside the Korean Peninsula as one of the two main East Asian flashpoints.
But since President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May 2008, in Taiwan, this has changed. The government has worked to uphold the values of freedom and democracy, while promoting rapprochement and co-operation with mainland China.
Today, the Taiwan Strait is one of the most peaceful and prosperous waterways in Asia. Proof of this can be found in the 10 rounds of SEF-Arats negotiations resulting in 21 cross-strait agreements. The achievements in cross-strait relations serve as an invaluable model and have earned a high level of support from the international community.
Taiwan and mainland China turned a new page in cross-strait relations on February 11 with the first official meeting between the heads of Taipei City-based Mainland Affairs Council and Taiwan Affairs Office, from Beijing. Key points emerging from the meeting include establishing a liaison and communication mechanism between the two groups.
The roles of the two intermediary bodies across the Taiwan Strait will help maintain strong ties even as the two sides work towards establishing regular communication between official government bodies.
SEF and the Arats also will continue to discuss administrative matters and handle negotiations between Taiwan and mainland China.
Suzie Chen, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office
New mindset can ease congestion
I refer to the article by Evan Auyang, deputy managing director of KMB ("Just building more roads and rail lines won't ease Hong Kong's congestion", March 4).
The cycle of repeated fare increases and route rationalisation that has operated between the Transport Department and the franchised bus companies for many years is in danger of being derailed by KMB.
Commendably, it is again asking the department to adopt priority schemes for buses in the most congested areas to improve the service it offers its customers and hopefully win back passengers who have switched to cars, while offering the city a system where significantly less time is spent travelling.
Unfortunately the department's policy hierarchy seems to be commercial property, residential property, rail infrastructure, road infrastructure, taxis, private cars, commercial vehicles, buses and finally people.
Unless there is a change in its priorities whereby it puts people first and focuses on actual journey times, Hong Kong will continue to endure questionable infrastructure projects, along with un-managed congestion, resulting in ever longer and more expensive journeys.
Ed Rossiter, Tai Wai
Raise funds to save a very worthy project
I refer to the report on the deaf programme at Kowloon Bay St John The Baptist Catholic Primary School ("Uncertain future for unique project", March 6).
The school should really try a crowdsourcing website to raise funds. I, for one, would donate to such a worthy project.
I am sure that many others will too and then they can ask the Education Bureau or the Hong Kong Jockey Club for matched funding if more is needed.
Sophia Chan-Combrink, Admiralty
Simple way to defuse rising tensions
I totally agree with James Lung ("Officials could consider tourist quota", March 3).
During the anti-mainlander protest on Canton Road on February 16, some people used the word "locust".
It showed that the level of discontent felt by some Hongkongers towards mainlanders is getting quite serious. This also leads to worse conflicts between the two sides.
There is no doubt that mainlanders directly affect Hongkongers' lives such as overcrowding at some popular landmarks and at Tsim Sha Tsui.
It is important to defuse tensions and the best way to do this is by imposing a tourist quota. This will lead to a decrease in the number of mainland visitors.
Annabelle Ho Wai-shan, Tseung Kwan O
We need them more than they need us
I read with interest Lui Ho-on's letter regards the increasing number of mainland visitors Hong Kong is receiving, and the social impact this may be having ("Mainlanders should learn how to behave", March 1).
I commend his comments for not condoning the protests last month. However, I am unsure how the central government can or should be responsible for teaching its fellow citizens how to behave in other parts of the world, let alone within the boundaries of the People's Republic, to which Hong Kong belongs.
Considering that the vast majority of Hong Kong people can trace their ancestry to the mainland, which more or less extended to a big part of Kowloon until 1898, I fail to understand why there is such animosity and a lack of connection to their fellow "kin".
Hong Kong and its people developed, and some became wealthy, highly educated and well travelled.
The same was not the case on the mainland, and as I often comment, the Cultural Revolution wiped out much of the culture.
Yet if I look at China now, I see people who are industrious, and educated to a level which astounds me in their articulation and business mindset.
Also there is a government which is willing to support our city to a far greater degree than Britain could have or would have done based upon logistics if nothing else.
People forget that the spending power of mainland tourists is adding to our economy and to each one of us by their presence, as are the central government's policies that help generate trade for Hong Kong. True, what may be considered bad manners here may not be in a third-tier city or village in Hunan , but why should we expect it to be?
More patience and understanding is required, as is less painting everyone from China with the same brush.
We need them more than they need us.
Callan Anderson, Quarry Bay
US is guilty of double standards
Regarding the situation in the Crimea, the Western powers have always been very much against any military action not initiated by themselves.
The US has invaded or fomented unrest and revolution in many a sovereign nation in the last few decades, ostensibly in the name of democracy, but usually in order to further its own economic interests. This is especially so in the Middle East, and it uses the tame UN as a rubber stamp.
It's amusing, therefore, to see the US resisting the idea of Russia securing its own interests in the Crimea. The political similarities are so painfully obvious.
R. A. Smailes, Pok Fu Lam