Letters to the Editor, March 15, 2018

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 March, 2018, 4:57pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 March, 2018, 4:57pm

No term limits for leaders has risks for China

I am writing in response to Henry Yau’s letter (“As Lee Kuan Yew or Thatcher proved, unlimited terms are common in democracies”, March 11).

I have no doubt that some great leaders in power for multiple terms did really bring prosperity to their country.

And thus, after Beijing’s constitutional change to abolish term limits, we should give President Xi Jinping a chance to lead China to a new height in the world order.

But what I am worried about is that China lacks something that each of the countries Yau mentioned has: democracy.

Every single leader mentioned was either directly or indirectly elected by the people, which means that each leader, past or present, is actually the representative of his or her people.

Policies they come up with are based on the voices of the people. Whenever the leaders do something wrong, the people also have the power to criticise, to ­reject, and even vote to overthrow the government.

So, even though they stay in ­office for a long time, these leaders still reflect the view of the people – and that can save a country from falling into dictatorship.

China, however, is a different story. The leaders are elected by the Communist Party. No citizen except party members can ever exert influence in the “election”, which effectively means that the party can do whatever it wants.

Xi may be good, but what about the next leader? Would he or she be as astute as Xi?

These questions raise doubts about potential dangers for the future of China. The problem is that if one day the leader is a ­tyrant, we as citizens cannot vote them out – that is the worry.

Everything without limits has its own risk. I really hope China will not regret this in the future.

Elsa Tan, Kowloon City

‘Quad’ alliance little more than Abe’s fantasy

Richard Heydarian need not lose sleep over the “Quad” being ­revived at Asean’s expense, or ­revived at all (“How fear of China’s rise revives ‘Quad’ at Asean’s ­expense”, March 11).

George Orwell’s famous quote on trying to “give an appearance of solidarity to pure wind” was made for describing the Quad.

It is just common sense that, should there be a flare-up ­between Japan and China in the East China Sea, Australia is not going to send its warships north for Japan to command and put in harm’s way. And if the Quad is to be a copy of China’s US$900 billion (HK$7.06 trillion) Belt and Road project, who will fund it?

The Quad is just Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s fantasy of containing China. His selling point? China is authoritarian; the four Quad countries – Australia, India, Japan, US – are pillars of ­democracy. However, Australia’s human rights record on refugees and India’s in Kashmir have been slammed by the UN.

Japan’s attempts to sweep its crimes against humanity under the rug have recently been called out by South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.

And US armament is enabling Saudi Arabia to create in Yemen what the UN calls the worst ­humanitarian crisis in the world.

In labelling Beijing as “assertive”, Professor Heydarian fails to recognise that, beginning in the 1970s, when China was poor and weak, his own country – the Philippines – was the most aggressive claimant in the South China Sea.

If Beijing were “assertive” then, it is just pushing back aggression now that it is strong enough.

W.L. Chang, Discovery Bay

Beach stalls in Shek O are part of city history

I refer to your article about the beachside stalls in Shek O being asked to shut (“End of the road for barbecue rental stalls on Shek O Beach? Government orders operators to vacate land”, March 2).

Some of these family-run rental stalls were set up in the 1920s. There is history associated with these stalls and they did the job for decades. Now, if they don’t leave, they face a fine of HK$500,000 (US$63,900) and six months in jail. I think this is a very cruel move by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, even though the stalls occupy government- owned land. The government should find a better solution.

It is not fair to the stall owners as the shacks are their livelihood, and provide for their families.

Why does Hong Kong allow killjoys to close much-loved beach barbecue pits?

Also, Shek O beachgoers for many generations have enjoyed barbecues with rented equipment from these stalls. The stalls are an asset to the community.

Annie Wai, Kwai Chung

Drive-by heckler is no fan of United

The reaction of Jamie Carragher, Sky Sports presenter and ­­former Liverpool player, who spat at a ­motorist for goading him about Liverpool’s 2-1 loss to Manchester United last week, was excessive.

Carragher is a highly paid presenter and ex-pro footballer. This was banter and should have been taken lightly. Quite frankly, he should have been above it.

However, the provocative ­behaviour of the other motorist was disgusting as well. The fact that he had a child in his car at the time made it even worse. Who drives around provoking other drivers on the road while they have children in their vehicles? I’d like to see the UK police prosecute this driver for using his mobile phone while operating a vehicle.

People these days who brandish phone cameras and then provoke others, hoping for a reaction that they can then film, are quite pathetic. Throw the book at this man for endangering the health of other road users.

Carragher, who has been suspended by Sky, has been very contrite and apologetic in televised interviews since. I am a United supporter and am slightly sympathetic towards him. The person who filmed this – please resign as a United supporter. You are not worthy of our great institution.

David Howarth, Kennedy Town