Letters to the editor, August 18, 2016

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 August, 2016, 4:33pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 August, 2016, 4:33pm

No grounds for consular protection

I refer to the report, “Canada guarantees full consular services for dual nationality Hongkongers travelling in mainland China” (August 13).

Professor Michael Davis is right. Article 3 of China’s 1980 Nationality Law states clearly that China does not recognise the possession of dual nationalities by its nationals. And in 1996, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee issued a guideline on the application of the Nationality Law with regard to Hong Kong residents, stating that Chinese nationals of the Hong Kong SAR with right of abode in foreign countries may use travel documents issued by those countries to travel, but in Hong Kong and other parts of China, they do not enjoy foreign consular protection by virtue of those travel documents.

There is no such thing as “Hong Kong citizens” meaning “Hong Kong nationals”. They may be Hong Kong residents, permanent or otherwise, that Canadian immigration minister John McCallum was referring to.

Many ex-Hong Kong Canadian nationals have re-entered Hong Kong on the basis of their permanent resident ID cards to avoid declaring their Canadian nationality, which was acquired without first renouncing the original Chinese nationality and thus not recognised by China. They would travel to the mainland on the basis of the home visit permit and obviously would not enjoy Canadian consular protection there.

Those who had first ­renounced Chinese nationality before acquiring Canadian ­nationality would of course enjoy Canadian consular protection in China. Canada may well have a supply of such ­applicants if the independent Hong Kong campaigners get “excommunicated”.

Peter Lok, Chai Wan

Tips for an effective recycling plan

British Columbia in Canada, where I am from, has a very comprehensive recycling programme that may offer interesting lessons for Hong Kong. There is a refundable deposit on all plastic, aluminium, glass and Tetra Pak beverage bottles, ­excepting those for dairy products. The deposits were started to get the bottles back to the companies for reuse.

For non-refundable glass, plastic and paper products, there is in place a well-run pick-up programme. We are even ­required to recycle garden and food waste.

The deposits in Canadian funds are 5 cents for up to 1 litre, 10 cents for alcohol, and 25 cents for over 1 litre. There is also a ­3-cent non-refundable deposit that goes to support the recycling stations.

For years, charities, schools, non-profit organisations and even sports teams have used these deposits to raise funds for themselves.

If Hong Kong started requiring a deposit on beverage containers, it would take a huge weight off the landfills. It’s the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a start.

If needed, I am sure the British Columbia government would be willing to assist in the set up of a similar programme in Hong Kong, as plastic thrown in the rivers here may well end up on Canadian shores.

Bob Bown, Yuen Long

Exploitation of poor workers must end

I refer to the report, “Hong Kong firm making Disney toys in China under investigation for mistreating workers” (August 3).

As described in the article, the conditions in some Chinese factories are harsh. Workers are willing to work overtime to earn more money, and companies take advantage of that willingness to exploit them.

To compete for contracts from companies like Disney and Apple, these original equipment manufacturers try to lower their costs of production so they can offer a better deal. This usually means low salaries for the workers. What is more, in some cases, when workers get hurt on the job, they don’t get adequate support from their employer.

As a result, many workers are overworked and underpaid.

This must change. The government should strictly implement the laws on labour protection, which already exist on the mainland but are not ­enforced. To do that, officials must do a better job at monitoring abuse.

Most importantly, the workers themselves who are being mistreated must be ready to speak out and seek help.

Hebe Ng Yik-huen, Tseung Kwan O

Independence advocates can’t be trusted

Recently, the Electoral Affairs Commission barred several ­independence advocates from the legislative election. Some said the decision was unfair, especially in the case of one who had supposedly changed his stance on independence.

It is totally ridiculous that a person can change their political stance just before the deadline of a nomination period. It is hard to believe that they are sincere about supporting the Basic Law, which states that Hong Kong is part of China.

These aspiring candidates shouldn’t forget where they come from – they are all Chinese. The rest of the world may not know Hong Kong, but they all know China. People in Hong Kong should not forget that.

Billy Sit, Tseung Kwan O

Don’t use public money for Marcos burial

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has given the green light for a state funeral for the former corrupt president of the country, Ferdinand Marcos (“Philippine leader rejects protests as he pushes on with ‘hero’ burial for Marcos”, August 7).

While in power, Marcos ruined the economy by siphoning off billions of dollars and ­depositing the money in bank accounts overseas. His legacy was to consign millions of Filipinos to poverty.

For these reasons, I hope that Mr Duterte orders that the ­funeral and burial in the “Heroes’ Cemetery” should be paid for by the late dictator’s widow, Imelda Marcos, and his children.

The cost of any so-called state funeral for this man should come from the family’s bank ­accounts, not from public funds.

K. M. Nasir, Mid-Levels

Ways to ensure volunteer tours are effective

I refer to the article, “ Why Hong Kong students volunteering may do more harm than good” (August 11).

Hong Kong universities are organising more and more ­service-learning trips for students. Personally, I think these trips are worth going on as the participants can gain inspiring life experiences and broaden their horizons.

And there is no doubt that such trips, when done right, can address poverty and other problems in the host countries.

For instance, James Mak, a graduate student at the Architectural Association in London, chairs Project Little Dream, a charity set up to design, build and run village schools in a provincial town in southwest Cambodia (“How a group of Hong Kong students built four schools in rural Cambodia”, May 5). Since its founding eight years ago, the charity has built four schools successfully, now ­providing for the needs of 630 children.

However, it is better for students to prepare well before undertaking such ­service­learning trips.

They need to draft a comprehensive and workable proposal. For instance, students need to be aware of the locations and the facilities available, such as classrooms and medical rooms, and what to do if there are insufficient resources to complete the original plan.

Also, they need to adjust their attitude when disagreements occur, or they may end up upsetting the people they are trying to help.

Finally, the organiser should provide training for the participants so as to raise the effectiveness of the service.

All in all, it is hoped that Hong Kong students on such trips can gain value experience while helping the needy.

Cherry Yeung, Tseung Kwan O