Letters to the Editor, August 25, 2015

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 August, 2015, 4:32pm
UPDATED : Monday, 24 August, 2015, 4:54pm

All signs point to another financial crisis

The 2008 financial crisis was triggered by something much larger than a housing crisis, although that is what it was blamed on in the US.

More importantly, it was easy lending that led to a boom in all asset classes.

Today, bubbles are already bursting in commodities markets, and once this affects fixed-income markets, I am certain global equity markets will crash, too. The stock market meltdown of 2008 could be repeated with a vengeance.

We are actually at the tipping point of something that was the creation of quantitative easing policies round the world. It will surely take its toll.

Since 2008, there has been no real economic growth. It has been merely a matter of increasing the circulation of wealth that made assets appreciate. Reality is about to strike. China's economic slowdown is a sign of one reality. Too much wealth made a bubble burst in China. And that's about to create a new global crisis.

This is a serious problem. And, by the end of this, I doubt confidence in the financial system will remain intact.

Gold prices have been rising in recent days because of currency devaluations fears.

I don't believe that even the US dollar is a safe haven, given that the biggest sell-off yet to happen is that in US Treasury bonds.

It's time to seriously consider bearish scenarios because there isn't much on the bullish platter for the rest of 2015.

Rishi Teckchandani, Mid-Levels

Zhejiang Christians being deserted

Every decent human being should be appalled by the systematic destruction of crosses from the roofs of churches in Zhejiang province.

Such destruction is a blatant breach of the right to a religious belief as enshrined in articles 2, 18 and 30 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which China is a signatory.

The failure of Archbishop Dr Paul Kwong, of the Anglican Church's Diocese of Hong Kong Island, to speak out about this represents a dereliction of his duty to everyone, not just to Christians.

If I were a Christian in Zhejiang, I would feel especially deserted by him.

Besides being archbishop for the church's province, he also has a quasi-political role as a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. He is, therefore, uniquely positioned to influence events in Zhejiang.

It is not good enough to have a quiet word in the ear of other CPPCC members, as I'm sure he probably has; he needs to speak out publicly and unequivocally and say that the forced removal of crosses from church roofs in Zhejiang or anywhere else is wrong.

If he loses his place in the CPPCC, then so be it; he should treat that as a badge of honour.

The archbishop's first responsibility should be to his God and then to his congregation; the political and diplomatic niceties of the CPPCC, and his career, are far down the list.

Lee Faulkner, Lamma

Democracy alone is not the answer

In his letter ("Let democracy help mend our society", August 18), Benson Lee said that what he sees as a materialistic ideology - that democracy cannot be sustained unless we have more wealth and prosperity - is prevalent among most adults in Hong Kong.

If democracy is about the majority having the final say, then what's wrong with upholding such a majority ideology?

But, have no fear: as one such adult, let me disabuse Mr Lee of his misapprehension.

We never said wealth has to come before democracy. We have always argued that we need people of sufficient civility for our society to be orderly, in order for democracy to work. And prosperity helps.

If democracy were to come first, we would only be letting loose a lot of wild animals among us - which we probably have already done to some extent, rather like the free availability of firearms in the US.

If democracy is about fairness, as some describe it by saying "taxation without representation is tyranny", then since most Hongkongers don't pay tax, "representation without taxation is also tyranny".

Furthermore, in the democratic system that Mr Lee probably has in mind, legitimacy can come only with respect towards slightly more than half of the voters, while respecting the minority. That is tyranny of the majority, which may or may not be fair.

Lastly, it is the democratically elected legislators' dogged obstruction of progress that detracts from the governability of Hong Kong, never the chief executive who was elected by that small circle. Indeed, it is widely accepted that the "unelected chief executive" - the pre-1997 governor - governed best.

So, Mr Lee, don't swallow every piece of the horse manure your top university fed you and parrot it without first chewing it over.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

Arrests of student leaders are political

The justice secretary has said the arrests of some of the student leaders of the Occupy Central movement last year were not politically motivated ("Occupy charges not political: Rimsky Yuen", August 20).

The same article also mentioned the progress of the case on the alleged assault of Civic Party member Ken Tsang Kin-chiu, also during the Occupy protests. The justice secretary said his department was seeking further legal advice before deciding how to proceed. He has described the case as "sensitive".

Why is one case moving along while the other is stuck?

And why is the alleged assault by seven police officers on Tsang considered "sensitive", but not an unauthorised assembly with no violence?

Also, the unauthorised assembly (that led to the storming of government headquarters before the Occupy protests began) happened a year ago, but why are the arrests happening only now?

Is the decision to arrest them really "not politically motivated"?

Lau Hoi Man, Tseung Kwan O

Inmates can get additional study books

With regard to your report on the arrangement for receiving books by persons in custody ("Former inmate challenges limit on books in prison", August 21), we would like to point out that consideration for approving additional books for the purpose of study will be made on a case-by-case basis.

We would also like to point out that it was inaccurate to say that "The spokeswoman did not address whether a distinction was drawn between religious and non-religious books".

As stated in our press release, the department only restricts the number of reading materials provided by relatives and friends to each person in custody to six per month, with the exception of devotional books. Your reporting may not give a full picture of the issue.

Marenda Lo, for Commissioner of Correctional Services

Maintain air-con unitsresponsibly

I refer to the article "Instagram takes on leaky air cons" (August 20).

The problem of dripping air cons has been with us for a long time. Now some people have got so fed up that they have started to post photos of these offending machines online as a way to register their complaint.

The government must impose a heavier fine or other penalties to ensure people fix their dripping air cons. And more officers should be sent out to enforce the rule. But the government cannot solve the problem alone. People should be disciplined enough to maintain their own air conditioners.

Hailey Tso Tin Ka, Tseung Kwan O

Speaking out shows social responsibility

In response to Raymond Tang's article, "Today's students haven't earned their political rights" (August 22), his view is that young adults who have not started work yet do not deserve their political rights as they are not fulfilling their responsibilities to society. I have a simple question: is having a job a suitable or the only indicator of social responsibility? University students are equipping themselves for the future. Better still, many spend part of their spare time doing voluntary work. It is never fair to accuse them of not bearing social responsibility; they are also dedicated to society, just in different ways.

Every citizen of Hong Kong has a responsibility to keep an eye on what is happening here. Simply by voicing their concerns on political issues, these youngsters are undertaking, not shrinking from, their responsibilities to the city.

Tom Yow, Tin Shui Wai