Letters to the Editor, September 17, 2017

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 September, 2017, 9:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 September, 2017, 9:01am

Overhaul way public schools are governed

Teachers are finally speaking up and complaining about the way some public schools are governed (“Governance issues revealed at more than 10 schools”, August 15).

These problems have been an open secret for years, with people staying silent. Teachers feared their contracts would not be renewed and parents were worried that their children would lose school places.

I agree with the Education Employees General Union that the governance model for public schools in Hong Kong needs a serious overhaul. Currently, a determined and strong-willed principal can easily subvert ­policies meant to limit their power.

If officials really cared, they could remedy this situation. However, I will not hold my breath, as the Education Bureau has stoutly defended its school-based management policy. This means it is left up to independent-minded parents, as well as sincere, professional teachers, to do the real monitoring.

If more parents and teachers could participate actively in the governance of a school, it could go a long way to ensuring a safe and wholesome learning environment for the children, as well as a satisfying workplace for the teachers.

Doris Lee, Ma On Shan

Recycle firms need help to modernise

It is high time the Hong Kong government reviewed its waste management policy, especially now that Beijing has tightened requirements on waste imports (“City faces paper jam after new waste rules”, September 6).

This means that large quantities of waste paper are piling up, some loaded on barges in Tsuen Wan.

Recycling operators here are not taking any more paper. The problem with the current situation is that local recycling firms focus on import and export between the mainland and are therefore in trouble when the rules change, as has now happened. These operators face higher logistical costs if they want to take the recyclable waste to Southeast Asian markets and some will shut down. With ­better planning and a well-organised infrastructure, the local industry could ride out of the crisis.

The government should play a more active role to help make this happen. It needs to develop a more comprehensive and sustainable recycling strategy so it can enable recycling firms to bring in the necessary changes.

It should use the recycling fund to subsidise these firms so they can buy the machinery needed to improve the quality of the recyclable material so that it meets the stricter requirements now in place on the mainland.

In the long run, citizens’ ­habits must change so that they recycle more waste.

Kong Lok-son, Tseung Kwan O

China’s VPN crackdown hurts tourism

A lot of people on the mainland are frustrated by the increasing level of censorship on the internet in China, what is collectively known as the Great Firewall.

One man has gone to prison for trying to get round the latest crackdown (“Man jailed for selling VPNs to evade ‘Great ­Firewall’ ”, September 5).

He was just trying to help Chinese people broaden their horizons by reading banned foreign websites. There is so much available on the internet which helps people increase their knowledge and interact with others. This kind of censorship brings a lot of problems to the country.

When the information available to you is controlled, I consider this to be a form of brainwashing. Information is filtered, so that the news and videos you watch and the articles you read are all pro-government. It reminds me of George Orwell’s novel 1984.

I think it is horrible if this is happening in China.

Cracking down on VPNs also causes great inconvenience, as it makes it more difficult for people to keep in touch with friends on the internet. And if in frustration, they try to flout the rules and use VPNs, they could be jailed.

It might also be inconvenient in certain situations for tourists visiting China and this is something they will find very frustrating. Clearly they will pass this on through social network platforms, which is not good for China’s tourism sector.

A healthy society needs freedom of expression and that is absent online in China.

Desmond Chan Chun-fai, Hang Hau

Regime won’t tolerate an open internet

The man imprisoned in China over VPNs (“Man jailed for selling VPNs to evade ‘Great Firewall’”, September 5) was accused of “providing software and tools for invading and illegally controlling the computer information system”.

I get very frustrated by the level of tech illiteracy I encounter. That is not an accurate description by the court of a virtual private network which has nothing to do with illegall control of a computer information system. On the contrary, it ­bypasses the Great Firewall.

I suppose it is too much for a court on the mainland to deliver a judgment based on the truth.

Freedom of speech is basically non-existent in China. Officials censor whatever they see fit, for example, information which is critical of the central government. They think unlimited internet access for citizens would be bad for the regime.

It might lead to more people in China seeing the advantages of a different political system. They learned lessons from Tiananmen Square in 1989, and want to keep the lid firmly shut on the truth. I dislike the way that China handles dissent.

James Wong, Tseung Kwan O

More of the same with land use task force

Regrettably, the new chief executive has followed the line of the old one when establishing the government’s task force on land supply.

Fortunately Paul Zimmerman [chairman, Citizens Task Force on Land Resources ] and like-minded people had the guts and initiative to set up a far ­better and balanced alternative.

It remains to be seen whether the government will listen to it and supply it with all the information that will be made available to its task force. In the fullness of time, it will be interesting to see who recommends what and who listens to who.

Professionalism in government has already been stifled and subdued, so will the government be willing to listen to sound, balanced and professional views from outside? I am not holding my breath.

Allan Hay, Tai Po