Letters to the Editor, June 20, 2016

PUBLISHED : Monday, 20 June, 2016, 4:43pm
UPDATED : Monday, 20 June, 2016, 4:43pm

It is time to end this barbaric annual event

The Yulin ( 玉林 ) dog meat festival begins today. This has come to be known as the “dog torture festival”, as thousands of dogs are held in tiny cages then ­beaten to death before they are skinned and eaten.

A new survey of Chinese citizens has shown that 64 per cent think the festival should be banned, and 62 per cent say it damages China’s international reputation.

Every year, activists across China and the world protest the six-year-old festival, and this year multiple groups including ­Avaaz (a global civic organisation), Humane Society International and Duo Duo have gathered over 11 million signatures calling for an end to the puppy slaughter. Earlier this month, ­activists delivered the petition to Beijing authorities, and Chinese group Capital Animal Welfare Association will deliver the new poll results to authorities in the coming days.

Though the petitions target President Xi Jinping ( 習近平 ), the central government has yet to crack down on the dog meat trade. Legislation to end the dog and cat meat trade has been ­proposed and supported by eight million mainland Chinese citizens online.

That massive support, plus the new poll results, on top of all the incredible work activists have done over the years, brings us a step closer to seeing an end to this cruel practice. But until that happens, we can be sure that the activist community won’t be silenced until it sees meaningful changes.

A four-year investigation by Animals Asia has found that no large-scale dog farming exists in China, which supports claims that the majority of the pups that are slaughtered are stolen pets. Activists report that many of the dogs they are rescuing in Yulin this week still have their collars on.

Can you imagine having a pet dog, a living being who is part of the family, being snatched from you to be slaughtered at this festival?

Pet ownership on the mainland and Hong Kong is on the rise, and the more exposure this horrific festival gets, the more people realise the need to end it. If you are just as saddened by the idea of dogs being tortured to death, then eaten, join the fight to save man’s best friend. The more people across the region who join, the greater our call will be to end it.

Jooyea Lee, Avaaz

Left-leaning academics are not to blame

Niall Ferguson is a gifted historian, but he seems confused on economics, despite his access to excellent advisers.

In the article “The great conflict of our time will be ­between generations” (June 9), he accurately notes that inter-generational conflict is as old as the hills, which rather takes the wind out of his sails when he describes how oldies support Brexit and youngsters support Sanders.

He states that the millennials are wrong to believe “capitalism has f****d the young”; but this ­merely shows his socio-economic prejudices, as do his suggestions that left-led universities are responsible for student debt and non-conservatives responsible for high property prices.

True, the democratisation of tertiary education sharply increases education costs, but the decision to pay for those costs in the US and the UK by ­imposing them on students is a government-driven policy decision, not one imposed by left-leaning academics.

Similarly, land supply helps drive the present unaffordability of ­housing, but to blame “the left” is absurd in the UK and Hong Kong, and probably in the US.

In Hong Kong, government controls housing supply and is absolutely not left-wing; nor are the property tycoons.

In the UK, the conservatism of local property owners towards green-belt construction limits new house-building. In the US, the housing splurge was driven by repackaged mortgages, which was not left-wing folly, but capital markets fraudulence.

Similarly, low interest rates drive house price unaffordability in London and Hong Kong.

This is not a left-wing folly, but the result of austerity-driven UK and Hong Kong governments cutting consumer ­demand, and market-captured central banks supporting financial market price levels, hoping trickle-down economics will work; which, after five years, it has not.

In those five years, the share of profits in the economy has soared, while companies use share buy-backs to keep equity prices up and bonus pools filled.

Naturally, the young believe capitalism has failed them.

Paul Serfaty, Mid-Levels

Angered by xenophobia of Brexit backers

I support your editorial, “Remain is the best choice for Britain” (June 19).

The prospect of the UK choosing to abandon the multilateral cooperation afforded by the EU for an unknown future as a handful of small offshore islands is a truly frightening one.

In addition, you rightly draw attention to the xenophobia whipped up by the supporters of Britain’s exit from the EU.

The effective Brexit leader, Boris Johnson, has ruthlessly exploited voters’ fears on a whole range of topics, many with little or no connection with the EU, to further his own political ambitions. It is to be hoped that Britons will not let him get away with it.

Henry Sherman, Mid-Levels

HK must become more diverse society

The high suicide rate among ­students is connected to the fact that youngsters here are under too much pressure because of their studies. Some of them find they cannot cope with the stress and choose suicide as a way of escaping.

Many parents compound the pressure by expecting so much of their children. They want their children to become successful professionals, such as doctors, lawyers or businessmen. While their intentions are good, the pressure can be too much for some children.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that Hong Kong is a competitive city. It is changing to a knowledge-based society. The focus is on the business ­sector. Many companies will only consider candidates who have a university degree. ­Students who are studying for the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education face a very competitive environment in their efforts to get a place at a university.

The whole education system places additional stress on teenagers. I would like to see the government acting to curb the teen suicide problem. If it does not act, the suicide rate could increase.

We need to develop society and the focus should not just be on the business sector. The government should encourage greater diversity.

Parents also need to put less pressure on their children.

Kitty Wu, Ma On Shan

Dripping air cons will put off tourists

I refer to the letter by Gordon Loch (“Use tow trucks to curb ­illegal parking in city”, June 8).

Like cracking down on ­illegal parking in Central, the government should be acting to curb dripping air conditioners in public streets.

Announcements on television ­declare that people can be fined up to HK$10,000, but on one ­recent evening, the whole of Shanghai Street had air cons which were dripping water. Several premises had leaking air conditioners.

I was with a guest from overseas at the night ­market in Temple Street and my friend was soaked from leaking air conditioners.

I thought Hong Kong was trying to promote tourism, but this is not the right way to go about it.

M. J. Kay, Tsim Sha Tsui