Letters to the Editor, February 11, 2018

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 February, 2018, 10:34am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 February, 2018, 10:34am

Respect for ‘one country’ is not negotiable

As a student, I understand why my peers, many of them supporters of Agnes Chow Ting and her party, Demosisto, are angry that she was disqualified from contesting the Legislative Council by-election. But we must take stock of the facts and the current political situation.

Neither Hong Kong independence nor presenting Hong Kong independence as an option under the label of “self-determination” will be beneficial to our future.

This is not only because our city relies heavily on China’s economic success, but also because cutting ties with the motherland will harm our social development.

Breaking away is clearly not an option for the majority of Hong Kong citizens. Instead, the idea is widely considered as extreme and disconnected with reality.

But this ideology is quite popular among my peers, and their questioning of China’s legitimacy to run Hong Kong worries me.

It is a legal requirement for our lawmakers to uphold the Basic Law and “one country, two systems”, and this includes recognition of China’s sovereignty.

Demosisto’s political position of “self-determination” questions or denies Beijing’s sovereignty, owing to which Chow would not have been able to take office even if elected. There can be no accusation of political screening because everyone, especially those in public office, must abide by our constitutional document.

Anfield Tam, Quarry Bay

Unconvinced by ruling on Occupy trio

The Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal last week endorsed the Court of Appeal’s guideline on stricter sentencing in cases concerning large scale unlawful ­assemblies involving violence, but ruled that the guideline should not have been retroactively applied to the cases of the three youngsters under consideration (“Occupy trio win appeal against jail term over protest in run-up to Occupy”, February 7).

But the Court of Appeal’s guideline was based on certain legal principles applicable to not only the two appeal courts but also to the magistrate who had originally tried the cases. And the Court of Appeal’s guideline was simply a correction of the magistrate’s neglect of those legal principles, which should have been applied to the cases of the three youngsters at the time of the ­occurrences of offences, thus not retroactively at all.

This is a prime example of confusing procedural justice with substantive justice.

Michael Ng-Quinn, professor of political science, University of Redlands, California

Inaction on EV tax waiver will harm air quality

While I support Evan Auyang on the need to study how best to optimise access to public transport in Hong Kong (“Tesla and EV tax ­debate misses point on need for better public transport”, February 7), our government must not turn its back on electric vehicles and clean air for yet another year.

Last year, the reason given for effectively dropping support for EVs focused on “cutting private car growth”. But the move went against the government target of 30 per cent of private cars being electric or hybrid vehicles by 2020.

Inaction on the EV first registration tax waiver would be a big win for traditional carmakers and their dealers – and against better roadside air quality and public health in Hong Kong.

Travis Wong, Lam Tin

Profits or not, high-speed rail will do the job

I refer to the transport secretary, Frank Chan Fan, playing down cost concerns over the high-speed rail link to Guangzhou (“Cross-border rail link may be profitable in 8 years, Hong Kong transport chief says in optimistic U-turn”, February 3).

Does it really matter how long it takes for the cross-border rail link to become profitable? It’s not that Hong Kong is tight on cash.

Besides, if or when this happens is of minor importance in the greater scheme of things.

From day one, the link will do its intended job: reducing “the distance” between Hong Kong and mainland China. Tourists, commuters and those who are fed up with flight delays in Shanghai and other cities will love it.

In these times of climate change, we shouldn’t be bashing railways but celebrating when more polluting modes of transport can be replaced.

Josephine Bersee, Mid-Levels

Why #MeToo must be used with care

I refer to the letter from Natalie Chan (“More power to the #MeToo movement”, February 4).

The #MeToo campaign against sexual assault and harassment emerged virally in October. Many celebrities spoke up as victims, including Hong Kong’s star hurdler Vera Lui Lai-yiu. Many influential and powerful perpetrators, ranging from Hollywood to the world of sports, were rightly named and shamed, and even had to step down. This shows the power of the campaign to bring abusers to justice and somewhat help victims to have closure.

However, every coin has two sides, and this applies to #MeToo as well. Sexual assault and harassment are not minor crimes. The offender may be sentenced to years or decades in prison, and lose their social and professional standing forever.

Using #MeToo is a cry for help and for justice. But it must not be used casually.

Online anonymity must not be a licence to post fake news with an intention to malign, or just to gain attention, garner some likes and supportive comments. This may lead to a devastating “trial by internet” of an ­innocent person.

Fake accusations posted under #MeToo can cause deep harm and must be prevented.

Desmond Chan, Tseung Kwan O