Hong Kong security laws cause controversy

Your Sept. 27 article "Freedom, rights tested in Hong Kong" provides a rather lopsided, and in places inaccurate, view of our proposals to protect national security.

Very few new laws will be required to bring effect to Article 23 of our miniconstitution, the Basic Law. Most proposals draw on existing laws on the statute book from the previous British administration and have actually been narrowed considerably in scope so that an act of violence, the threat of violence, or grave criminal behavior is required before many of the offenses would be committed.

In the very unfortunate event that any of the proposed offenses are committed, the cases would be tried in our own courts, which draw on a long tradition of common law and are fully cognizant of our international human rights obligations.

Every country has a right to protect its security and sovereignty. The fact that mainland law on this sensitive subject does not apply in Hong Kong, and that we have been allowed to enact such laws on our own, is a tremendous vote of trust and goodwill from our sovereign.
Regina Ip
Hong Kong
Secretary for Security

Regarding "Freedom, rights tested in Hong Kong": The proposed antisubversion law is a step backward for the country's political evolution. It will start a slippery slope to reduced civil liberties and political rights for Hong Kong residents.

Since Hong Kong's governing institutions are unlikely to become more democratic any time soon, rushing to pass the vague and controversial sedition law serves only to further erode Hong Kong's civil liberties.

A more promising political path is to move up the schedule for the chief executive to be directly elected by Hong Kong people, rather than essentially appointed by Beijing.
Vincent Wei-cheng Wang
Richmond, Va.

Iraq doesn't crave US salvation

John Hughes's Sept. 3 Opinion column "Do Iraqis want invasion? Ask victims of despots past, " has the same flaw in perception most lawmakers and Americans have, which is that we need to invade countries such as Iraq because they secretly desire to sacrifice their fellow citizens in order for one man to be overthrown.

I strongly doubt that the Iraqi people will be running alongside our tanks, blowing kisses to our soldiers, and throwing rice in celebration after warfare has killed family members and friends.

The American public is fed too many erroneous correlations between World War II, during which there was a defined struggle against a madman with a recognizable face, and our present war for which there is an undefined struggle against thousands of madmen who could have anyone's face. It's too easy to pull out the old film reels and photographs of celebrations following liberation and to forget the ones in which people and cities have been ravaged by war.
Michael Bobby

Avoid dissecting middle schoolers

Thank you for the insightful Oct. 1 Opinion piece "Middle Earth or middle school?" As the parent of a daughter just entering middle school, I, too, have heard the horror stories. Perhaps an attempt at demystifying the emotional, physical, and social changes children of this age go through has, instead, pathologized those behaviors, and thus our children.

We adults would be wise to reflect on the expectations we hold for our children's growth and development. A passage by Wordsworth comes to mind: "Our meddling intellect misshapes the beauteous forms of things. We murder to dissect."
Patti Correll-Syring
LaCrosse, Wis.

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