Letters to the Editor, August 8, 2017
Will internet crackdown ensure loyalty?
The central government has intensified its crackdown on the internet.
It is making it more difficult for citizens to use virtual private networks (VPNs) (“Web users fear losing tools to get past censors”, August 7).
These tactics follow the death of Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波). It may just be start of the leadership taking full control of the internet use of its citizens. The difficulty it faces is that, with new technology, the global exchange of information and views could not be easier.
The government had already banned the likes of Facebook, Google and Twitter. And I expect it will impose an even tighter grip on freedom of speech on the internet as it gets closer to the Communist Party’s 19th congress in the autumn.
In the past, people could change VPNs to reach the internet outside China, but that may become far more difficult.
I wonder if these tactics by the government will actually prove effective. Will blocking information on the internet from outside China really help it control its citizens and persuade them to follow the party’s lead?
Anakin Tam, Tseung Kwan O
Immigration plan is not a plot by Beijing
It is little surprise that the proposed co-location arrangements for the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong express rail link are controversial, and it is understandable that people have many questions.
Our plea is that debate be rational and not emotional.
For those who see it as a plot or the thin edge of a wedge for the mainland to exert further influence in Hong Kong and undermine “one country, two systems”, we have two answers.
The first is that you do not have to expose yourself to the co-location regime if you distrust its motives or operation. There are many other land travel options for travel between Hong Kong and the mainland. The second is that if the central government wished to intervene, it would not need either the co-location agreements or their precedent to do so.
The arguments about ceding land or the inviolability of borders are nothing more than legalistic red herrings.
The arrangements are about the management of customs, immigration and quarantine, not about territorial sovereignty. They closely follow precedents elsewhere, including at the Shenzhen Bay Control Point, where no one has suggested that land has been ceded or the Joint Declaration breached.
Society overall supported the building of the express rail link. As a new, and the only, way people can travel to many mainland cities by land directly from Hong Kong, it will greatly enhance our ability to prosper from participation in the region’s economic growth. Without co-location, however, its effectiveness will be heavily compromised.
We say give Hong Kong people a choice. Do not use it if you are worried, but please stop using a practical arrangement as an excuse to voice distrust of the mainland.
Michael Somerville, consultant, Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong
Breastfeeding mothers face uphill struggle
The article (“Breastfeeding advocate has appetite for awareness in Hong Kong of the needs of new mothers”, August 5) talked about the different challenges breastfeeding mothers face here.
For example, because of the lack of suitable facilities, they are sometimes forced to breastfeed in public toilets or the bathroom at work. Sometimes, their office supervisor will ask why they are still breastfeeding a year after giving birth.
There is a lot misunderstanding about breastfeeding in Hong Kong and mothers face a lot of difficulties, not just in the workplace. The government should be providing them with more support. Employers also need to show respect for employees who are breastfeeding and give them all the help they need.
Colette Ho Tsz-kwai, Kwai Chung
Smartphone apps can help with sleep
With the rapid development of technology, smartphones have become an indispensable part of our daily lives.
However, they have negative aspects with possible side effects from overuse. But they can also help us through, for example, apps which monitor sleep patterns.
They can help a user rate how refreshed they felt in the morning, as well as noting other factors that may affect sleep.
This can be really helpful for students, as many of them do not get enough sleep.
If apps can assist them in this way, then they can be more alert during the school day. Getting enough sleep is important for all of us. It can help improve the quality of life.
Mandy Chan Sze-ki, Yau Yat Chuen
Schools must do more to ease pressure
Some students who are unable to deal with the pressure they face in their studies have taken their own lives.
It is vitally important that youngsters are given the help they need so they can adopt a more positive attitude.
Schools should hold more talks to give students some guidance about how best to cope with the inevitable stress brought on by a demanding school syllabus.
It needs to be emphasised to them that the school social worker is there to talk to them about any problems they are experiencing. Teachers are very busy, but should be willing to offer guidance when needed.
The Education Bureau must also take some responsibility for the present state of affairs.
The local school system is flawed and reforms are long overdue.
The bureau needs to see where improvements can be made that result in less pressure for students.
Sandy Chan, Tseung Kwan O