Letters to the Editor, August 5, 2017

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 August, 2017, 9:03am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 August, 2017, 9:03am

Nations did recognise China’s claims

Eric Edwin Taylor (“Nations with claims want US Navy there”, July 31) should know why other claimants in the South China Sea welcome the presence of the US Navy. It is because they are the ones who began grabbing and militarising the islands in the South China Sea way back in the 1970s. Then China was poor and weak, and now that they find they are outplayed at their own game they run to the US for cover.

China drew up the nine-dash line in the 1940s. This was following its recovery of the South China Sea islands from a defeated Japan under the 1943 Cairo Declaration and the 1945 Potsdam Declaration which Japan signed as its instruments of surrender. Neither the US, the Philippines nor Vietnam raised any demur. That is, they did recognise China’s legitimate claims but then resorted to taking advantage of China’s weakness in the following years.

It is understandable that Mr Taylor is unaware of these facts. This is because they are rarely reported by the mainstream Western media, preoccupied as it is with spreading fake news on China and the South China Sea.

W. L. Chang, Discovery Bay

Too much carbon dioxide for one planet

I must take issue with Wyss Yim (“Wrong to see carbon dioxide as a pollutant”, July 22).

I disagree with his claim that the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past 20 years has led to a greening of the planet. It is unreasonable to say that the gigantic increase has been beneficial to the Earth.

Research done by scientists shows that the amount of carbon dioxide has increased by 30 per cent and the number of trees has decreased by 50 per cent in the past 100 years. Trees use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis to generate food. Carbon is kept inside trees and oxygen is released. But, when trees are burnt, the stored carbon is released at the same time, emitting carbon dioxide. The surging amount of carbon dioxide is directly related to the shrinking number of trees due to deforestation. Increase of the gas does not turn the Earth greener.

Plants need carbon dioxide to survive. But is that much needed? The amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide is way beyond the amount that plants need. Too much carbon dioxide turns the rain more acidic, ­making crops more likely to die.

The increase of carbon dioxide does not only jeopardise the ecosystem, it poses a threat to our lives by increasing the highest temperature year by year. Global warming is not a new phenomenon and banning the use of cars, planes and ships for just two weeks would not help.

We must change daily habits such as taking the bus instead of driving a car.

Terence Lam Ka-hei, Sha Tin

Breastfeeding now important global issue

The media globally picked up on a story about Aliya Shagieva, the youngest daughter of the president of Kyrgyzstan, being photographed breastfeeding in her underwear.

It led to a debate about breastfeeding and sexualisation.

She posted the photo on social media in April with the caption saying she had the right to feed her baby wherever it needed feeding.

This reminded me of how controversial this issue of breastfeeding has been at times in Hong Kong.

For example, in Hong Kong, a taxi driver uploaded a photo of a woman while she was breastfeeding [and later removed it] and it made people very angry.

In my opinion, there is no ­relationship between ­breastfeeding and sexualisation.

Mothers choose to breastfeed, because as doctors have said it is so much healthier than powdered milk.

But they can find it difficult in Hong Kong, because some ­people are still so prejudiced, especially when it comes to breastfeeding in public. They should not have to face these kinds of attitudes nowadays and their privacy should be ­respected.

I am sure what has happened with the Kyrgyz president’s daughter will provoke a debate here just as it has done in her own country.

Phoebe Wong, Tseung Kwan O

Lack of respect for our historic monuments

I am writing to remind the public of the importance of preserving cultural and historical buildings. There are numerous Chinese and Western cultural relics in Hong Kong. However, in the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum in 2015, Hong Kong got zero points in the field of cultural heritage.

Why is this? Over the past decade, the priority of the government has been to promote economic development like the modernisation of old urban areas and rural parts of the New Territories. When cultural relics are obstacles to development, they will be subject to varying degrees of damage.

Hongkongers’ lack of respect for cultural relics has hindered their conservation. In fact, historic buildings are like good textbooks.

They can help us understand our history.

Katrina Chan, Hang Hau

Condemnation sounds like empty words

I guess we all know of the non-apologetic apology: “I’m sorry if you feel offended”. How about the non-condemnatory ­condemnation?

This is what we’ve been ­hearing from a phalanx of ­Islamic apologists in your pages recently. Syed Ridwan Elahi, of the Muslim Council of Hong Kong, is just the latest in this genre (“Muslim voices against terror drowned out”, July 30).

They all claim that they have been condemning terrorism. So why do we “misguided” ­non-Muslims still complain?

Well, because these so-called condemnations are not really condemnations at all: terrorism is by people “with Muslim names” (that is, they’re not real Muslims). Or the terrorists have “distorted” Islam’s message (it has nothing to do with Islam). Or terrorism is the fault of the West (that is, because of “our wars of terror in the Middle East”).

I would like to see some real honesty from these representatives of Islam, not obfuscation, ­obscurantism and deflection.

Some brave Muslims – but too few – have addressed this issue front on: selected Koranic doctrines mandate the ­terrorising and killing of infidels.

Many more Muslims, especially those in leadership ­positions, need to face up to these doctrines and neutralise them.

No one imagines this will be easy. But the process can’t begin until it’s acknowledged.

Until then no amount of non-condemnatory ­condemnation is going to cut the ice.

Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay