Letters to the Editor, July 14, 2016

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 July, 2016, 3:08pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 July, 2016, 3:08pm

Beijing copies US double standards

Alex Lo is spot on to call the US a hypocrite for chastising China for defying the Permanent Court of Arbitration when the US, itself, has not signed the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (“On international law, US is a hypocrite”, July 12).

He is also correct that the US ignoring the International Court of Justice in 1986 was a blemish on its moral posture of promoting a rules-based international order.

Having thus correctly denounced the US, the question for Lo is why he applauds China for following the US path. His argument basically boils down to this – if the US can get away with doing something wrong, then China should be entitled to get away with the same transgression.

This is equivalent to saying that it is OK to be a bully in school as long as other kids are also being bullies.

In pursuit of the Chinese dream of a peaceful rise to global power status, surely China aspires to more than simply ­emulating the mistakes of its putative adversary. On its current trajectory, however, China will ­instead become a copycat ­hypocrite.

Keith Noyes, Clear Water Bay

China is right to take this strong stance

It was rather senseless for the Philippines to have taken the South China Sea case to the court in The Hague since China’s sovereignty is an historical fact.

I am all for China’s strong stance and hope all Asian ­countries will unite to adhere to the reality in their own interests without being influenced by ­alien aggressive acts.

Peter Wei, Kwun Tong

Grim future for Asean if it fails to change tack

Surely Cambodia is not the only country that knows what is really going on in the South China Sea, but it appears to be the only one courageous and honourable enough to publicly articulate matters as they really are, as Youna Ko pointed out in the ­letter (“Cambodia has made right decision in South China Sea dispute”, July 5).

Many try to deride Cambodia, and other countries who support China, as small. It is ­precisely because they are small and not powers seeking a stake in the South China Sea that their support has impeccable credibility. Some suggest that Cambodia’s support is in ­exchange for China’s investments, but China invests much more in many other countries.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations must reclaim the organisation, find its collective soul and begin to act in its own ­interest befitting the true circumstances in the South China Sea.

To be meekly led into acting in somebody else’s interest based on the lie of “freedom of navigation” – which is really a euphemism for close surveillance of China – is not only a ­betrayal of Asean, but will reduce the Asean region into ­another Middle East, and force Australia to deal with an influx of refugees.

The Chilcot report just released has given a stark warning on the consequences for all countries if no one dares to openly challenge the doctrine of “I will be with you, whatever”.

W. L. Chang, Discovery Bay

Clarifying statistics about new PLA plane

Let us Chinese get the numbers right for a change, regarding the PLA’s new Y-20 tactical transport plane reported in all newspapers on July 7.

Yes, the figure “20” probably denotes 200 tonnes, but that’s the maximum all-up weight (AUW), of 220 tonnes, not the maximum payload, which is only 55 tonnes. But when it gets the engine intended for it (of about 39,000lbs maximum thrust), the maximum AUW will be about 270 tonnes, that of the Boeing C17 which it is meant to emulate. (Even the gargantuan Boeing 747/Antonov 124 does not carry 200 tonnes.)

Some newspapers got the maximum payload of the Antonov 124 wrong, at 229 tonnes. That’s the maximum payload of the six-engine Antonov 225, built from Antonov 124 parts, for carrying the Russian space ­shuttle piggyback.

As well, the Y-20’s wing came from the Ilyushin 76, mounted on its much broader shoulders. So they can’t both have a wing span of 50 metres.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

We must now respect marine animals’ rights

The practice of keeping marine animals in captivity has become very controversial in recent years.

Conservation groups have taken a stand against marine parks and aquariums which capture these marine mammals and then put them in tanks to entertain tourists. Unlike in the ocean, in these tanks, they ­cannot swim freely. For that ­reason, I do not think we should keep them in captivity.

It is cruel to take these animals. Whales swim with other whales in what is called a pod and if a whale is captured, it loses its connection with that pod for the rest of its life and is instead stuck on its own in a tank.

This causes mental torment. For example, Tilikum, the orca whale which killed three trainers, had been confined to small tanks for more than 30 years. He was taken away from his family when he was a baby.

Some people stress that ­the purpose of capturing marine animals is not just for entertainment but also for education.

It is argued that as most ­people do not have the chance to see these animals in the wild, they can learn from seeing them in the aquarium. However, ­animals have rights that should be respected. We are not respecting those rights when we confine them to tanks.

Governments around the world should pass legislation banning the capture of marine animals.

Vanessa Choi Wing-sze, Yau Yat Chuen

Pollution from sewage poses serious threat

The recent distressing scenes of pollution on Cheung Sha beach, ­Lantau, are a stark reminder of the enormous challenges we face collectively to protect and improve the quality of the waters around Hong Kong.

While I commend the government for its efforts to improve the water quality in ­the southern and eastern waters, I urge it to take all available ­measures to address the ­increasing threat of pollution from sewage diverted and dumped in the western waters, including increased pollution from the Pearl River.

Tim Blackburn, Shek O

Students can learn to deal with obstacles

We need to ask if the education system in Hong Kong is putting too much pressure on students, given the number of suicides in the last school year.

They do have a massive amount of homework and other projects to complete. Some students are also under more pressure, because of the high expectations of their parents, which makes them work even harder.

Many of them do not have enough time to rest, especially if they are also having to do extra tutorial classes during their holidays.

Those who take their own lives may believe this will take away all their problems. But, they do not think about the ­torment they cause to those ­relatives who are left behind and have to cope with their loss.

I appreciate that life is not straightforward. However, the challenges we face strengthen our ability to deal with the next obstacle.

Teenagers obviously need a lot of emotional support from their relatives.

If they get that support, they can be more optimistic and get through the inevitable difficulties that life throws up.

Lydia Wong, Kowloon Tong