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The fruit market in Yau Ma Tei on September 24. The market could be relocated under a government proposal. Photo: Martin Chan

Letters | Rebuilding old Hong Kong requires care and consulting residents

  • Readers discuss plans to revitalise the Yau Mong district, national security legislation, Carrie Lam’s policy address, Taiwan’s airspace and tutoring rules
Undeniably, rebuilding an old neighbourhood in Hong Kong is a big project. Dilapidated buildings will have to be wiped out and new ones erected, and in-depth studies will have to include detailed cost-benefit analysis.
The Urban Renewal Authority wants to transform Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kong by revitalising an area of 212 hectares (“‘Breakthrough’ blueprint for revitalising two old Hong Kong areas hailed by urban planners”, September 24).

This is a large-scale project that demands our wisdom. No one would claim that it can be done overnight without breaking a sweat.

The proposals could mean rebuilding or re-engineering some of the more than 3,000 buildings in the district. It seeks to maximise the economic potential of the neighbourhood while at the same time improving residents’ quality of life with more open space and revitalising landmarks such as the Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market.

This project is not something that can be done by the government itself. It will take private-public cooperation. Whether it is conservation or revitalising, it will need orchestrated work between government and business.

I am all for the rebuilding of the Yau Mong district that is so full of history and culture and is a regular hang-out for many families. However, since the big project would involve about 200,000 residents, the plan must be meticulously drawn up to achieve the most efficient and beneficial outcome for the greatest number of people.

There is no need to rush, or we might miss some great development opportunities.

Randy Lee, Ma On Shan

Get security regulation right this time

Article 7 of the national security law makes it clear that Hong Kong “shall complete, as early as possible, legislation for safeguarding national security as stipulated in the Basic Law of the Hong Kong special administrative region and shall refine relevant laws”.
Article 23 of the Basic Law is clearly being referenced. This raises the question of why such apparent surprise that Hong Kong is being asked to complete the task, given that the national security law is more than a year old?

I urge the Legislative Council to take the opportunity to draft the law with great care and with specific focus on the mandate to “refine relevant laws”. Arguably, this might include the national security law itself.

Given the history of the national security law being implemented without consultation and drafted in part with unfortunate vagueness, it is a golden opportunity to consolidate this whole body of legislation. Such an exercise could to some degree repair the damage done to Hong Kong and its international reputation in the last 18 months.

It would help the administration of criminal justice if the patent and latent confusion between China’s constitution, the Basic Law, the national security law and Parts I and II of the Crimes Ordinance, concerning treason and “other offences against the crown”, was addressed in one consolidating piece of legislation.

This will require time and might well necessitate consultation between Hong Kong and the National People’s Congress. So be it, but let’s get it right this time.

Michael Delaney, Admiralty

Hongkongers deserve credit, not Lam

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor has delivered her latest policy address and laid out her vision for the future of Hong Kong.

She showed empathy towards herself, graciously accepting the privilege she has enjoyed in being our chief executive. Sadly, it is privilege many in Hong Kong do not share.

Her speech was delivered in her usual manner, akin to a headmistress lecturing students. There was no apology to Hong Kong citizens who bore the brunt of her failure to avert the violence that rocked our city, no thank you for citizens who vaccinated themselves in the now-futile belief we were working together to open our borders and restore business confidence, and no praise for families who have endured financial and social distress.
That she later declared, “I love doing things non-stop” echoes again her belief that only she has worked tirelessly to keep Hong Kong moving forward.

She is wrong. That accolade goes to the community leaders, NGOs, small businesses, office workers, nurses, street cleaners and every citizen who has remained committed to ensuring Hong Kong survives beyond the most divisive chief executive we have ever had.

Mark Peaker, The Peak

Taiwan has itself to blame over PLA sorties

According to some maps published in media reports, Taiwan’s air defence identification zone extends into mainland China’s land territory over an area four times Taiwan’s own size.

Perhaps if Taiwan had set out its air defence identification zone with more sensitivity, China might have shown more respect (“Beijing sends record 52 fighter jets to test Taiwan, raising fear of mishaps”, October 4). Most of the PLA planes’ flight paths appear to have been closer to mainland China’s territory than Taiwan’s.

Francis Lee, New South Wales, Australia

Asia’s rat-race education system needs change

The education system in Asia is a rat race, and parents and their children have been driven into a frenzy. I agree with Liang Siu Kwan that Chinese parents should welcome the crackdown on tutoring centres ( September 29).

In Hong Kong, some parents also send their children to after-school activities to help them develop into all-rounders. I am not convinced that it does give them wider horizons than their classmates who do not attend these outside classes.

These classes do bring some benefits, but students need to know it is their hard work that counts in the end.

Jerry He, Sha Tin