x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

A bitter-sweet departure

The Chinese human rights activist, Chen Guangcheng, would have preferred to stay in his homeland but his treatment by Beijing left him no choice but to leave, a reader says. Other letter topics today: transparency in business, cigarettes in prison, and the loss of TV listings.

A reader says Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng had no choice but seek asylum in the US. (Joan Lebold Cohen / AP)
A reader says Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng had no choice but seek asylum in the US. (Joan Lebold Cohen / AP)

The Chinese human rights activist would prefer staying in his homeland and being part of the struggle to improve human rights in general and to protest against forced sterilisation and abortion in particular (Blind activist wants US to get him out of China, May 4).

But he seemingly preferred asking for asylum once he arrived at the US embassy, as he and his family were harassed by Chinese officials. Although I fully share the concerns of vulnerable people with their governments about their future, including the right to pursue higher education in a safe environment, planning to leave one's home country through the plane of another country's top official sounds too superficial.

There have been US abuses that can be compared to present-day abuses in China and all governments are worried about the possibility of their own citizens speaking negatively against them.

I fully believe that all governments owe their citizens fair treatment and reasonable explanations.

Gaye Caglayan, Dubai

Transparency boosts trust

I refer to the article Profits soar at UAE's flagship developers (April 29). What is profit? Simplistically it is the difference between revenue and expenses.

For the investor in a public company, accurate profit and loss statements allow for intelligent decisions about their investment. If sales or revenues are down, but profits are up, what does that mean?

Transparency is not an option for a public company's investors. When this transparency is compromised (as it was in some of the top American companies in the mid-2000s) the company can fail.

These failures caused international chaos. When the truth is ignored, decisions are worse than guesstimates. The impact is far-reaching. People lose confidence in both the company and the industry they are in. And just because a company chooses to ignore the facts does not mean the facts go away.

If one moves these observations from the private (public companies) to the government of any country, the need for transparency is vital to long-term stability of the country, as well as the confidence of private investors that everyone is "working on a level playing field".

Tom Pattillo, Canada

Retain players by addressing issues

I refer to the article SOS call to boost UAE rugby player pool will be worth it (May 3). The question is why did they drift away.

Deal with those problems and then the players will return.

They left for good reason. The Kayak event is a very important cause.

Tim Wood, Canada

Inmates have no right to cigarettes

No detainee has any right to demand cigarettes (Eight who set fire to detention centre over cigarettes jailed, April 9).

Jails should provide only the legal, civil and human rights that all people should be afforded, under all circumstances. Also, detainees should be housed in an area that has clean and adequate places to sleep with adequate amounts of clean water and healthy food, with conditions that provide sufficient temperature to sustain life and not cause unwarranted pain and to be provided emergency medical needs and a clean place to pray.

Other than these rights and basic needs are met, detainees have no right to demand anything. Cigarettes are not a basic necessity, and in fact, they cause harm, damage and destruction of health, so they should not be provided. It seems more than logical to use the time that one has authority over another person to improve their condition in life, not to contribute to a harmful habit or addiction. In California, for example, there is no smoking in jails and prisons.

SaLee Amina Mohammed, US

Bring back old television listing

I have been in Abu Dhabi for four weeks now working and have been fortunate to get a copy of your newspaper delivered to my room every morning.

It is a very good publication and keeps me abreast of local and international news. I noticed the big colourful announcement on Thursday of the completion of the new look TheNational.

But, I ask myself, where has the Television Channel listing gone? Nothing in Friday's paper or the new magazine, again nothing in Saturday's edition. There was a very good list of all the films on in various cinemas but nothing for any television channels.

I am here alone and do like to watch a film on television before retiring each evening. And it was nice to be able to chose the film in advance. Now I have to channel hop.

Please bring back your  television channel listing.

Stewart Fisher, Abu Dhabi