Letters to the Editor, March 5, 2018
Concerned over death of noted rights lawyer
The sudden death of the prominent Chinese lawyer, Li Baiguang, as reported by China Aid, raises serious concerns about China’s treatment of political prisoners (“Lawyer’s death at army hospital raises questions”, February 28).
Mr Li, who died in a military hospital in Jiangsu province last week, was known for representing farmers and Christian pastors, and received an award from the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy for his work. Earlier in February, Mr Li had attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
The circumstances surrounding Mr Li’s death call into question China’s official claim that he died of “natural causes”– especially when he was known to be “previously healthy”.
His demise is all too reminiscent of the late Nobel laureate, Liu Xiaobo. The prominent Chinese civil rights activist died in custody last July after authorities refused his request to seek medical treatment abroad. His widow, Liu Xia, remains under house arrest.
Brian Stuckey, Denver
Hong Kong has to safeguard reputation
I refer to your article on the annul report from Amnesty International on human rights in Hong Kong (“Rights in decline, Amnesty warns”, February 23).
The report said the right to peaceful assembly and expression are in decline in Hong Kong.
The director of Amnesty International Hong Kong said that in previous years, protesters were not usually prosecuted or, even if convicted, were given community service – not to the point where they would be jailed.
I believe it is important that we take note of the report and work to maintain Hong Kong’s reputation as a city that upholds the freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and other human rights.
Once our right to express our opinion is destroyed, the space for Hong Kong to improve would be destroyed. Listening to people’s ideas could help the government build a better Hong Kong. We should not ban constructive criticism or opposing ideas.
Minnie Wong, Tsuen Wan
Locals left confused by village houses
It is frustrating for us in Sai Kung, when you see the random building of “village houses”, and on apparently open lots of land. There are three such buildings on Hiram’s Highway outside Marina Cove, which seem to have been built on a swathe of land which was due to be taken over for road widening.
The road widening is now taking place – and it seems the road is being built by circumventing them. We hear talk of compensation being sought.
The latest I have observed is on an open piece of land on Che Keng Tuk road.
Rumours are that it could be a pumping station/drainage station. However, judging by its design, this is not the case.
In any case, it is going up rather quickly and there do not appear to be any permits on site.
It is obvious to us tenants and users in the area, so why is the government not doing anything to halt this?
It would seem such a simple act to stop the building.
Chris Hanselman, Sai Kung
Elderly need better armour against fire
I was saddened to read about an octogenarian dying in a fire at a public housing flat in Tin Shui Wai (“Elderly man dies after blaze in Hong Kong flat”, February 22).
This was barely 10 days after a 66-year-old woman was among two elderly people killed in a fire at Sau Mau Ping Estate (“Two killed, four injured in Hong Kong public estate fire”, February 12). And in December, an elderly man died in a fire at his home in Hung Hom (“87-year-old dies in fire in public housing flat”, December 6).
At least three of the deceased were living alone. In the latest tragedy, it was a stove and a washing machine that caught fire.
I believe these tragedies highlight not only the need for greater fire safety and awareness, but also how reduced reflexes and mobility may place the elderly, especially those living on their own, at greater risk. The elderly must be helped to understand the risks of using faulty or old electrical appliances, and offered financial aid to replace them, if need be.
Many public housing kitchens feature gas stoves. It can be dangerous if someone forgets to turn the stove off, or liquid spills on it to put out the flame but the gas keeps leaking. I think induction stoves would be a better choice for elderly citizens, as these do not cook by fire but heat, and may also have an auto switch-off function.
The Fire Services Department should install automatic sprinkler systems in each flat, which would also activate the fire alarms. That would allow more people to be alerted to the fire early and thus give them more time to leave the building, or help others to do so, therefore minimising casualties.
Clarins Ng, Hang Hau
Smoke-free airports best way to travel
Denver International Airport in the US state of Colorado has become a smoke-free facility as of last week, with the last smoking lounge closing on February 28.
I hope more airports around the world will follow suit, as more than half of the 50 busiest still allow travellers to smoke indoors.
After all, second-hand smoke can travel from the smoking areas to non-smoking zones, as people walk in and out of these lounges. Also, not many air passengers want to be seated next to someone reeking of cigarette smoke.
Rachel Tsang, Kwai Chung