Letters to the Editor, June 15, 2014
Limit tourists to reduce public anger
Last year, around 41 million mainland tourists visited Hong Kong, which was a record high. Tourist spots such as Ocean Park and Tsim Sha Tsui were packed with mainland visitors, causing much inconvenience to many Hong Kong citizens.
Protesters on Canton Road showed their displeasure with the rising numbers of mainland tourists by shouting slogans and displaying banners.
However, the authorities can control the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong.
Because of the individual visit scheme, mainlanders can visit Hong Kong freely and can travel to Hong Kong for short periods of time. As large numbers of mainlanders want to visit, the Hong Kong and central governments must address the problem by limiting the number of visitors per day.
In addition, the government can cooperate with cities near Hong Kong such as Guangzhou to help them develop their tourist industries further.
If these cities can attract more tourists it will reduce the number of visitors to Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong government should not sit back. It should do something to reduce the anger of Hong Kong citizens to prevent anti-mainlander protests, which affect Hong Kong's image.
Yumi Wong Sheung-yi, Tiu Keng Leng
Anticipated return of El Nino unlikely
I refer to the article by Martin Williams ("Preparing for the return of El Nino", June 1).
Williams claims that the occurrence of El Nino is a reminder of our civilisation's lunacy in blithely pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, even as science warns of the clear and present changes.
El Nino events are restricted to the Pacific Ocean basin and are characterised by changes in oceanic circulation conditions. All El Nino events including 1997, the strongest on record, are different in terms of climatic impact.
No statistical correlation exists between their occurrence and the steady rise in the level of carbon dioxide of about two parts per million a year, as shown by the Keeling Curve in Mauna Loa.
The best scientific explanation for this is that the greenhouse effect of clouds and water vapour is more important than carbon dioxide. (See the authoritative statement on climate change by the Royal Society in 2010.)
A study of ancient coral skeleton records has also identified El Nino events in the past when the level of carbon dioxide was appreciably lower than in the present day. This disproves the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's claim on the important role of carbon dioxide in climate change.
An underestimated explanation for the occurrence of both El Nino and La Nina events is the connection with volcanic activity, which is as far as we can tell a natural cause. After all, when volcanoes erupt on land, hot air and debris are discharged, while submarine volcanoes make sea water hot. Both are relatively common features within the Pacific "Ring of Fire", the most active volcanic region in the world.
It is possible that the anticipated return of El Nino highlighted by Williams will not now take place. Indonesian eruptions of the Kelud volcano and Sangeang Api volcano on February 13 and May 30 respectively may already have switched the Pacific Ocean back into a more La Nina mode.
Wyss Yim, Pok Fu Lam
Speed up heritage conservation
Heritage conservation is an important aspect of any society. Some buildings represent the history of a place.
We should protect these edifices so future generations can study the history of the city and learn from it.
However, the government isn't doing a very good job of conserving the city's heritage. There are too many loopholes and conservation is taking place too slowly. This has resulted in the demolition of historic buildings such as Ho Tung Gardens that should have been preserved.
Due to long consultation procedures and legal loopholes, an agreement on the preservation of Ho Tung Gardens could not be reached and it was torn down for redevelopment. The government needs to speed up the heritage conservation process to help preserve our cultural heritage before it is too late.
Yu Ka-ling, Sham Shui Po
Pope must address China's stance
The report ("With new leaders, China, Vatican to resume talks", June 8) deserves comment.
Religion is an all-or-nothing system. There are certain principles that followers of a religion must abide by, one cannot pick and choose.
Catholics must follow the teachings of the pope and cardinals and bishops must be recognised and appointed by the pope.
There is no such thing as ordination of state-sanctioned bishops by the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.
You may call it Catholicism with Chinese characteristics but the reality is that this constitutes a new religion and not Catholicism. Pope Francis cannot accept China's demands that the Communist Party be allowed to appoint its own bishops. Religions have no national boundaries and their belief systems cannot be altered. It seems to me that the Chinese communist leaders are unable to comprehend just what religion means.
They should let the believers govern themselves.
Get rid of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the like, and you'll have a much better and more harmonious society.
John C. M. Lee, Siu Sai Wan
Religion has no part to play in politics
I read with dismay that Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, at a forum on electoral reform held on June 8, called for Hongkongers to vote in Occupy Central's "referendum'' later this month ("Hong Kong police can handle Occupy Central, says Justice Secretary", June 9).
The cardinal gives people the impression he has a personal bone to pick with Beijing. Like some local political parties, he is opposed to everything to do with the current chief executive and the Chinese authorities.
As a Catholic, I would rather the good cardinal concentrated on the spiritual well-being of his flock, instead of meddling with worldly affairs.
Simon Yau, Kowloon City
Promote green policies to raise uptake
I took the initiative recently to ask a cashier in my local Wellcome supermarket if it had a recycling policy for the plastic boxes used to pack fruit and vegetables. I was delighted to hear that it did but I was not sure if the recycling policy applied to all its stores.
Simply putting plastic boxes in recycling bins is obviously not the best choice as they can be reused by supermarkets. However, this recycling policy is not widely known about and seldom promoted. I would not have known that my local supermarket had such an environmentally friendly policy if I had not asked the cashier.
A recycling policy can create a win-win situation, as it not only relieves pressure on landfill sites but also reduces the packaging costs of stores. Big supermarkets need to do more to promote this type of green and cost-effective policy. I am sure many will support it.
Leung Kit-yan, Diamond Hill