Letters to the Editor, July 25, 2017
Beijing has tried hard not to interfere
Barnaby Ieong said Beijing is failing to get younger Hongkongers to identify themselves as Chinese (“Xi Jinping lost his chance to build bridges with opposition parties in Hong Kong”, July 19).
He says youngsters from Hong Kong and Macau do not relate to the misconduct of mainlanders when visiting foreign countries. This is a result of stereotyping based on isolated incidents resulting from China having the world’s largest population, while also ignoring countless examples of misbehaviour by non-Chinese nationals. In fact, the central government is trying to promote civilised tourism, with a manual on what is acceptable behaviour when travelling abroad.
Mr Ieong also criticised Xi for visiting the PLA garrison in Hong Kong. While the city faces no imminent threat, it is a sign of respect to honour those who stand ready at all times to safeguard our livelihood.
Finally, Mr Ieong was also critical of Xi for failing to make conciliatory gestures towards the “opposition parties”. The Basic Law makes it clear that the central government should not intervene in local affairs, which are handled by the chief executive, who has no party affiliations. For the Legislative Council to operate efficiently, lawmakers should be working with the Hong Kong government, not against it.
Hong Kong’s astonishing development has been inextricably connected with the mainland, in particular its successful role connecting China to the West. And even though Hong Kong’s economy now only represents less than 3 per cent of the China’s gross domestic product, Beijing has consistently tried to help the city continue to play an important role. For example it has sought to include it in the “Belt and Road Initiative” and the Greater Bay Area developmet plan. These can help to boost Hong Kong’s strengths as an international financial centre and a city where the rule of law is respected.
Yet, there still seems to be a worrying lack of awareness of this relationship. Therefore, strengthening the sense of a Chinese identity in the local population by incorporating national education in the school curriculum is a good start. Obviously, steps must be taken to allay any fears of brainwashing.
One thing is clear, the “two systems” will never work if the “one country” is consistently called into question.
Jose Alvares, Macau
Storm warning but no sign of bad weather
I went out running around eastern Hong Kong Island for 90 minutes while the No 8 tropical cyclone signal was raised on Sunday. I was astonished when returning at 1pm that the signal was still up. I had seen no rain or fallen branches. Friends in Tuen Mun, Fanling, Wan Chai and North Point told a similar story.
Anyone with experience of Hong Kong weather would know that the incoming cyclone would be a damp squib. The visibility was excellent on Saturday – no advection of a dirty northerly air stream and no haze.
So how can the Hong Kong Observatory keep on making such blunders? Does it know the financial cost of raising the No 8 to transport, restaurants and shops on a Sunday?
Conversely, when we have had flooding and very strong winds at times in Hong Kong, it has gone unreported.
What if fines were imposed on the Observatory when it makes damp-squib blunders? Would it help its officials look out of their office window and observe the situation?
Peter A. Tanner, Sai Wan Ho
Concerned about internet censorship
There have been news reports from various media sources including the BBC about WhatsApp being censored on the mainland.
This would indicate that online censorship by the central government has increased. A lot of social media sites are already banned. I think this latest crackdown, if it has happened, might be a reaction to the death of human rights activist Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波).
It must be difficult living in an environment where you cannot express negative views about a country’s political system. While some people have compared China to North Korea, I think there is a much freer flow of information in China.
However, I am concerned about how much freedom Hong Kong will enjoy after 2047 when it is integrated with the rest of the country. Other Hong Kong people may share these concerns.
Lucky Wang, Tseung Kwan O
Brides can take shark’s fin soup off menu
Sharks are now being dangerously overfished. In fact, overfishing is a global problem, but I am particularly concerned about sharks.
This is because of the demand for shark’s fin soup, especially at Chinese banquets, including weddings.
It is not because of the taste or nutritional value, but because by serving it the hosts are showing their status. This kind of attitude is now unacceptable.
We all have a responsibility to protect and conserve sharks. Brides should now say that they want shark’s fin soup taken off their menus at their wedding banquets.
We can refuse to dine at restaurants which continue to have it on their menus. We all need to act to save sharks and preserve marine ecosystems.
Poon Long-yin, Kowloon Tong