Letters to the Editor, October 31, 2017
Legal position of HK similar to states in US
The apparently conflicting message from President Xi Jinping at the Communist Party congress of “comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong, yet leaving the city with a “high degree of autonomy” (“Xi directive on HK ‘will not damage autonomy’ ”, October 30) will have left a lot of Hongkongers perplexed.
This system is, in fact, in some ways akin to the legal system currently used in the US. Part of article six of the US constitution contains a supremacy clause, which applies to situations where state and federal laws disagree.
The supremacy clause contains what is known as the doctrine of pre-emption, which says that the federal government wins in the case of conflicting legislation.
Individual states in the US, just like Hong Kong, have their own three branches of government – executive, legislative and judicial.
State courts have broad jurisdiction, the cases individual citizens are most likely to be involved in.
Federal court jurisdiction, by contrast, is limited to the types of cases involving violations of the US constitution or federal laws.
Any suggestion of independence by Hongkongers is in violation of the constitution of China.
Although such cases are not tried by the federal courts in China, the Hong Kong judicial branches have the fiduciary responsibility to see to it that the Chinese constitution is not blatantly violated.
John I. Yam, Seattle, US
Parents must have realistic expectations
Students in local primary and secondary schools are being forced to work long hours.
They have a long school day and then in the evening do a lot of homework, and often have to prepare for quizzes and tests.
Nobody appears to be asking them how they feel about this.
Parents see it as normal and want their children to be future pillars of society.
They underestimate how much pressure their children face. And because children are immature, they struggle to cope with this pressure and some turn to alcohol and drugs. For some of them who are depressed it gets so bad they take their own lives.
Often when children seek help, parents are so busy at work they are not there when they are needed to offer advice.
It is important for parents to keep open the lines of communication with their children.
Students should always feel they can talk to friends and school social workers, and have to try to find their own coping mechanisms with stress.
Kathy Kwok Uen-shan, Kwai Chung
Lantau plan can provide more housing
In the Sustainable Lantau Blueprint, the government outlined its plans for the development of the north and conservation of the south of the island, and I agree with this policy.
Having infrastructure projects in north Lantau, in places such as Tung Chung, can provide many more much-needed houses. There will also be further transport links between Lantau and urban areas like Central and Tsim Sha Tsui. This will make it easier for people living in the new estates on north Lantau to commute to and from work.
South Lantau can be developed into a major centre for eco-tourism and leisure activities that can be enjoyed by visitors and locals.
Green groups fear environmental damage through these projects, but there is a desperate need for more housing.
What matters is for the government to strike the right balance so that it ensures sustainable development that protects nature but allows the economy to grow.
Ivan Tsoi, Tseung Kwan O
Speed up the starter homes programme
The government has to ensure that far more starter homes are made available to citizens. In this regard we are behind other cities.
Having a lot more of these homes made available is extremely important, because for many young people, even the new micro flats built by developers are unaffordable. No matter how hard they save, the price of flats just keeps increasing, so that getting a suitable mortgage is just not possible.
Many university graduates with their first jobs do not earn much and find that they have little left over after they have paid the rent and all the other essential costs.
That is why the government must accelerate its starter homes project and get estates constructed as soon as possible. I would like to see us comparing more favourably with other cities in the future.
Jordan Chan Wai-tsun, Hang Hau
Good that Lam is reaching out to youngsters
It was announced in the policy address that more job opportunities would be provided for young people and their influence would be enhanced on government boards.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor also said that she would allocate additional resources to provide internship opportunities for young Hongkongers on the mainland, “Belt and Road countries and other parts of the world”.
I welcome these initiatives, as well as the decision to appoint more young people to government boards and committees.
I believe this will help the views of the younger generation reach the highest echelons of government.
Anshar Mok, Tseung Kwan O