Letters to the Editor, September 20, 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 5:09pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 5:09pm

Soviet Union gave wartime aid to China

In his outburst against Russia and all its works (“China should think twice about this ally”, September 15), Jason Kuylein asks rhetorically, “Did Russia under the USSR ever help China in its fight against Japan from 1935 (sic) to 1945?” The short answer is, yes.

Between 1937 and 1941, while the US and Britain ­observed a studied neutrality, the Soviet Union was the sole outside power to have given Nationalist China significant material help in its struggle against Japan.

According to recent Western sources, this help included around 1,000 aircraft, 1,000 artillery pieces, 1,000 machine guns, 50,000 rifles, 2,000 motor vehicles and 86 T-82 tanks, as well as US$300 million to US$450 million in war credits. Over 5,000 Soviet military advisers were sent to China, where they are said to have trained more than 500,000 ­Chinese servicemen.

At least 2,000 Soviet pilots helped to defend Chinese air space, shooting down a ­reported 986 Japanese planes, strafing Japanese shipping on the ­Yangtze and bombing Japanese airfields as far away as ­Taiwan. It has even been argued that in the first two years of the war, following the successive losses of Shanghai, Nanjing and Wuhan, Soviet help played a major role in averting the risk of a Nationalist surrender.

In a letter of June 1939 ­addressed to the Soviet minister of defence, Kliment Voroshilov, Chiang Kai-shek thanked the Soviet Union for “providing China with the material and moral aid which gives her the possibility of carrying on her long liberation war”.

Mr Kuylein will undoubtedly find much to criticise in different aspects of Russian foreign ­policy, both past and present. But he should at least get his facts straight first.

Philip Snow, Lantau

Many Russian soldiers killed in offensive

Jason Kuylein asks if the USSR ever helped China in its fight against Japan.

The same week as the United States dropped the atomic bombs on Japan, over 11/2 ­million Soviet troops supported by a Mongolian contingent swept through the Japanese puppet state of Manchuoko. After the Japanese defeat Manchuria was a base for the ­Chinese Communist Party and was reintegrated into China.

The Russians may well have had their own motivations for the ­invasion, but there is no doubt that the campaign was in fact a huge help to China in its fight against Japan.

Of the 11/2 million Russian soldiers who fought there, ­thousands gave their lives – some Soviet historical estimates place the numbers as high as 30,000.

Christopher Ruane, Lantau

Aerosols are a major cause of air pollution

I refer to the report (“Western demand ‘changes climate in East Asia’ ”, September 9).

Factories in China produce so many goods for Western ­consumers and I think this is the biggest factor in climate change in East Asia, in particular with ­regard to the air pollution ­problem which has become serious.

There is an over-dependence on coal on the mainland and insufficient pollution ­controls which lead to high levels of emissions.

I believe there is more the central government could do to encourage its citizens to cooperate to reduce pollution levels.

Manufacturing is a crucial part of the country’s economy, but with inadequate controls many of these factories are ­major polluters, especially when they increase output to make goods for export which are in great ­demand in the West and ­generate damaging air particles known as aerosols. These ­aerosols have been blamed for causing smog in cities like ­Beijing.

I agree with a scientist quoted in the report that a study is needed into the “scope and magnitude of climate changes caused by global trade”.

All governments in the ­region, not just in China, and Western nations must come up with more solutions to help clean up our environment ­globally.

It is important to get the green message across to all ­Chinese citizens so that they have a deeper understanding of climate change and how it is ­affected by demand for ­products from the West.

Wong Sum-yee, Yau Yat Chuen

Gender clinic shows shifts in attitude

I refer to the report (“Clinic to deal with rise in sufferers of ­gender disorders”, September 13).

Many Hong Kong citizens still find it difficult to accept transgender people. This is ­because they still hold to traditional Chinese beliefs and find the whole concept of a transgender person confusing.

However, individuals with gender identity issues do have particular psychological needs that have to be addressed.

Having a clinic like this ­offering a “a one-stop service for those requiring mental or ­physical treatment for problems arising from their gender”, is to be welcomed.

I also think it is a sign that many Hongkongers are now ­trying hard to change some of their old-fashioned ways of thinking.

Hopefully, although they may find it difficult, more people will change their attitudes and will find it easier to accept that transgender citizens are an ­integral part of our ­society.

It is good that our society now seems to be ready to accept that such services should be established in our public ­hospitals and that we are ­becoming more ­inclusive of ­different groups.

Wing Yau, Hang Hau

Homeless people deserve our respect

I refer to the article by Rachel Cheung about the homeless in Hong Kong (“Discomfort zones”, September 19).

As a student I care about what is happening in society. Citizens in need, especially street sleepers, must be given help. But it is not just important that they get financial assistance from the government, it also matters that we show tolerance.

Often citizens avoid homeless people, perhaps because they look unkempt and dirty. But we have to remember that they are just like us and deserve our respect. They face a difficult and sometimes dangerous existence on the streets.

The government is failing to address the problem of street sleepers. They are often evicted from some areas, but that does not solve the problem and their numbers are increasing. I hope more can be done to help the city’s homeless population.

Eunice Sze, Tseung Kwan O

New game could result in more accidents

Nintendo has announced it will release its computer game Super Mario Run in Apple’s App Store in December (“Super ­Mario makes its debut on Apple ­iPhone”, September 9).

As your report points out, this will be the “first time the popular franchise is appearing on a smartphone”.

I think we can anticipate the kind of impact this game will have when it is officially ­released. It is great news for ­Nintendo shareholders and will help to further boost sales of ­iPhones. Of course, it is good to see companies making profits from new products, but I hope they will remember to urge their customers to play the game responsibly and safely.

I recall the dangerous situations that some people got themselves into when Pokemon Go was launched globally.

Many people got into difficulties playing it on busy streets, because they ignored their surroundings and sustained ­injuries. I hope this will not ­happen with the new game.

Athena Yip, Kowloon Tong