More on Hong Kong's Dilemma

I take exception to the editorial cartoon "Forced repatriation explained," Oct. 9, portraying British Prime Minister John Major as the instigator and mainstay of the policy.In fact, the policy of forced repatriation, though distasteful, is not strongly opposed here in Britain. Indeed, it is well-supported in Hong Kong - which is truly at the "sharp end" of the problem. If Americans are so concerned about these Vietnamese immigrants, why don't they offer to resettle them in their own wide open spaces? Attention needs to be focused on possible practical solutions for refugee and economic migration problems. All over the world people are, quite naturally, wishing to improve their political and economic situations. The best help we can give nations facing these situations is to: pay fair prices for their commodities and products; establish systems which preclude manipulation of markets in order to stabilize prices; give technological education appropriate to the country's actual stage of development; help to establish honest banking, efficient administration, and effective water and sewage systems; encourage population control and old-age relief; keep up the constant pressure for democratic government and civil rig hts. J. Cawdron, Orpington, England

This cartoon confirms once more the unfortunate but expected American misunderstanding of the issue of Vietnamese boat people. Starting in 1979, under a policy imposed by Britain, Hong Kong was made a nation of "first asylum" to accommodate tens of thousands of Vietnamese refugees whose intended final destination is the United States or another Western country. These countries, however, have never seemed eager to grant refugee status to most of the Vietnamese. Hong Kong has been one of few places to shoulder this burden, with little help from developed countries, yet it still has endured much unjustified criticism. Sophia Chan, Minneapolis

Laying the blame for troubles in Iraq Regarding the opinion-page column "It's Not Too Late to Try Saddam," Oct. 16: I am amazed to read that Saddam Hussein bashing continues. While the health of the Iraqi people is degraded by lack of sufficient food, clean water, and electrical services, and the environment is harmed by the oil spills and fires, placing the blame will not solve these problems. The column completely overlooks the choice President Bush and Congress made in becoming an aggressor instead of negotiating a settlement. Robert Santway, Brattleboro, Vt.

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