Letters to the Editor, June 12, 2014

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 June, 2014, 4:12am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 June, 2014, 4:12am

Could HK face Tiananmen crackdown?

How timely of Zhou Nan, former director of Xinhua in Hong Kong, to warn us that the PLA "would intervene if riots broke out" in this city ("Occupy is a threat to city, says Zhou", June 8).

His insensitive remarks coincided with the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen "crackdown", in which the PLA "intervened" (as he would put it) resulting in the slaughter of unarmed protesters.

I recall, at that time, the PLA was characterised by one journalist here as the "People's Liquidation Army".

What can be described as riots may be a matter of selective definition in the minds of the authorities, and we have seen harsh penalties for a justified protest quickly becoming an "act of public disorder".

There were real riots in 1967, instigated by Communist-based organisations in Hong Kong.

Then, booby-trap bombs were employed, resulting in the deaths, on one occasion, of two little children. Other weapons were used to kill a public broadcaster and many other civilians, also a police officer who was attempting to remove a dangerous bomb to make the area safe for the public - among numerous other atrocities and fatalities.

I hope and believe we are unlikely to see any similar events in future.

But, in 1967, Hong Kong returned to peaceful government with the help and support of our local police. Then, there was never any such thing as military intervention, even though it was available.

Does Mr Zhou suggest another Tiananmen crackdown in Hong Kong, with tanks rumbling along Hennessy Road?

Alan Johnson, Lantau


Help teens to grasp what June 4 means

Many Hong Kong people participated in the candlelight vigil in Victoria Park to mark the 25th anniversary of the June 4 massacre in Tiananmen Square.

This vigil acts as a memorial to those who died in 1989 and shows the determination of Hong Kong citizens to fight for democracy.

However, I am concerned that many from the younger generation do not know much about this shocking episode from China's past.

Many of those involved in the pro-democracy movement in Beijing in 1989 were well-educated students who wanted to see improvements in their country.

They were concerned about corruption and bribery and wanted to urge the central government to embrace democracy.

However, the leaders in government refused to listen and responded to the students' appeals with violence.

Young people must not forget that these were the actions of a dictatorship. We have to keep asking why the leadership felt it was justifiable to kill it own citizens.

The June 4 massacre is now a symbol of the struggle for democracy.

As I said, the vigil emphasised that and the determination of Hongkongers to ensure freedom and fair treatment for all citizens.

Teenagers should not ignore this message and should be willing to get involved.

They need to learn the lessons of the past so that when they become adults, they can pass on this message to future generations.

Sabina Lam Siu-yin, Yau Yat Chuen


Reputation of Brazil hurt by protests

Many groups in Brazil have been protesting against the sums spent to host the World Cup, including staff at the Sao Paolo metro who went on strike for five days.

These protests are inappropriate and can only damage the reputation of the country acting as host of the world's most prestigious soccer event.

Brazilians should be putting on their best show, and trying to get tourists to enjoy their beautiful country. They should be welcoming all these visitors.

I agree that some of the grievances being aired, about inflation and lack of facilities, such as decent schools and good public transport, are justified. But is this really the right time to speak out and in the process impede the smooth operation of this competition?

I lived for a number of years in Brazil when I was on a contract with a multinational company. I know that Brazilians love their soccer. It brings them a great deal of joy and helps to unify the nation. So why not let the beautiful game go on, and address the important domestic issues at a later date?

Brazil has won the World Cup five times. When its team plays, it draws a large global audience. I appeal to all the protesters to let the tournament go ahead and do not damage the country's reputation.

Rajendra K. Aneja, Dubai


Shanghai airport delays now routine

On June 1, a busy travelling day, passengers arriving at Pudong airport, Shanghai, bound for Hong Kong, were treated to a familiar sight - the departure board showing that their flights had either been cancelled or delayed due to bad weather.

There had been heavy rainfall for about an hour in the city in the afternoon; however, nowhere else do flights get cancelled because of that.

No one had a clue why so many flights had been halted in one of the mainland's busiest airports.

For frequent travellers, this is an all-too-familiar experience. Air-traffic control halts flights and it has nothing to do with the weather. It is mostly the Shanghai-Hong Kong route which is affected.

Ask any regular commuter between these two destinations and you will hear many incidents of flight delays after boarding and just before take-off. You hear "bad weather" as a reason when outside there are blue skies, or "technical faults" when there do not appear to be any.

About three or four years ago, you could reckon on a two-hour journey time between the two cities with few delays. It was a reliable shuttle service which helped facilitate efficient business planning. This was also helpful to travellers from the mainland who planned onward flights from Hong Kong to Europe or the US.

All that has ended, and unreliability and uncertainty have become the norm.

Some people say these delays are wilful and an attempt to make Hongkongers realise who is boss.

Perhaps also it will make travellers think twice about using Hong Kong airport as a hub to the West when travelling out of China.

Maybe there is no justification for such claims, but the authorities at Pudong airport need to do something about these frequent delays.

Ashoke Dey, Tseung Kwan O


More patrols needed on MTR trains

There have been incidents involving mainland visitors which have brought them into conflict with Hong Kong citizens. Sometimes it involves their inappropriate behaviour on MTR trains.

It is necessary for the MTR Corporation to do more to ensure all passengers respect the regulations on the network.

For example, you see signs near the doors warning people not to eat or drink on the trains. However, some passengers ignore them.

I have been on trains where I have seen the remains of meals on the floor, including biscuits and noodles. This obviously makes the carriages very dirty and it is unpleasant for people travelling in them.

There was the even more bizarre behaviour recently of a man lying on a hammock strung between two rows of seats.

This obviously blocked the aisle and other passengers could not pass.

I would suggest that the MTR Corp deploys more staff to patrol carriages and check that no one is misbehaving.

People who are doing so should be issued with immediate warnings.

I am sure this measure would lead to a better service for all passengers.

Nelson Lau, Tuen Mun


Lift same-sex marriage ban at consulate

I refer to the report ("UK consulate bars gay weddings", June 9).

The British government has announced that British consulates in China, Russia and other countries will now be able to offer same-sex marriage to British nationals, despite the fact that the governments of those countries do not recognise same-sex relationships.

When checking with the British consulate in Hong Kong, I found to my dismay that this does not apply to Hong Kong. My understanding is that the SAR government has objected.

It seems that the British are able to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin but not the Hong Kong government.

I thought that unequal treaties had died out long ago, but it seems that they have just been reversed, and that the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office has managed to manoeuvre itself into allowing conservative and homophobic elements in this city to dictate what is done in a British consulate.

What rights British nationals enjoy in their own consulate is of no concern to Hong Kong, which will not recognise same-sex marriages and can have no logical interest in the issue either way.

Beijing's decision has made the situation in Hong Kong look foolish.

It is time to set this one right, I think.

Nigel Collett, Central