Letters to the Editor, January 19, 2018

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 4:44pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 4:44pm

Punishment for child abuse must be tough

The most recent cases of child abuse would indicate that this is a serious problem which is ­getting worse in Hong Kong.

We have to ask if there is adequate supervision of families where children have been identified as being at risk. We also need to look at the powers the authorities and the courts have and ask if they are sufficient. If the punishment for child abuse is too lenient then it will fail to act as a deterrent.

The relevant government departments must be given the powers they need to ensure vulnerable children get protection. Officials must be able to issue warnings to parents and be given the power to act if necessary. Also, the government must ensure it has enough social workers who are operating in schools and directly with ­troubled families.

It is not acceptable to have social workers who are given far too many cases and cannot cope with the workload. And suitably qualified experts will also be needed to help children deal with the psychological trauma caused by abuse.

Natalie Lam, Tseung Kwan O

Teach students about need to protect sharks

Last year it was revealed that more than a third of shark fin products in Hong Kong were from threatened species and there is clearly a need for sharks to be given greater protection.

The best way to do this in Hong Kong is through education. Shark’s fin dishes, especially soup, remain popular on some menus in Chinese restaurants. If the government can go to schools and get the message across to young people about the threat to some species, then hopefully we will see a change in habits.

Sara Lee Hing-ling, Kwai Chung

Differences over Taiwan still unresolved

Taiwan was annexed at different times over the centuries by ­various colonial powers and ­colonised by the Japanese.

It is a beautiful island which is rich in natural resources and in the region it has strategic ­significance.

Its sovereignty remains unresolved and relations between Beijing and Taipei have deteriorated since Tsai Ing-wen took ­office as president in 2016.

Beijing has never ruled out the possibility that it might use military force to unify the country. Because of this ever-present threat, Taiwan continues to spend a lot on conventional weapons to reinforce its defences. Of course the Beijing government continues to see Taiwan as an inalienable part of China. Tensions inevitably rise when politicians in favour of or leaning towards independence rise in influence in Taiwan.

The ideological differences between Beijing and Taipei are so great that it does not appear that a consensus can be reached in the short term.

China’s growth in economic power globally has made its leaders ambitious, even arrogant. This has enabled Beijing to persuade more countries to sever diplomatic ties with Taipei in favour of Beijing.

However, China’s leaders should not do anything that could destabilise Taiwan. It has made great strides since being ruled by a corrupt dictatorship after the Kuomintang fled there when the Communist Party took power on the mainland in 1949.

Ultimately, there must be detailed negotiations and there will have to be compromise on both sides.

The one-China principal should be interpreted to mean that Taipei cannot assert Taiwan’s independence while Beijing should abandon any possible option of using force to integrate the island with the mainland. Until a solution can be found, both sides should aim for amicable relations.

A great nation is founded on benevolence and justice, not belligerence.

Barnaby Ieong, Macau

Lighten the workload and ease pressure

The task force set up by the government to monitor efforts to prevent student suicides should take a long hard look at the city’s education system.

Improving that system is the best way to promote mental health among young people. There is no doubt that some youngsters took their own lives because they felt intense academic pressure.

Schools need to look at this and consider changes to the syllabus that can result in a lighter ­workload.

There is a link between stress and having far too much homework and other assignments. Schools should make the necessary changes and then monitor them to ensure they have been effective.

Until recently most local schools have failed to recognise the importance of looking closely at mental health issues and how best to deal with the problems young people are facing with their studies.

Lovelyn Wong, Tsing Yi

Justice chief should do right thing and quit

The discovery of so many illegal structures in the home of the new justice minister, Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah, is a cause for concern.

She has said that they were already in place when she ­purchased the property.

Some people will wonder why she did not consider these structures before buying the property.

What I find even more worrying than these unauthorised building works is that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor continues to defend Cheng and appeals for greater public tolerance. But what has happened could lead to loss of public trust in Lam’s administration.

If it is to regain this trust then Cheng should resign.

A secretary for justice should set an example when it comes to adhering to all the laws of Hong Kong. That person should be an exemplary role model.

Lucy Wong, Ma On Shan