Letter | Hong Kong’s legal sector will only benefit from greater competition

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Hong Kong’s legal sector is crucial to its position as a leading financial center and a center for arbitration, commercial contracts and global trade. Its strength lies in the openness and diversity of legal services, which reflects Hong Kong’s unique role as “super connector” between China and the rest of the world.
The recent news of Johnson Stokes & Master (JSM) re-establishing itself as an independent company in Hong Kong should be welcomed by the industry (“US law firm Mayer Brown will split its Hong Kong operations, joining peers in downsizing in China”, May 2). Rather than a turnaround story, it represents a new chapter in the history of a 160-year-old law firm deeply connected to Hong Kong’s rich heritage.

Over the years, JSM has competed with some of the largest international law firms by building trusted relationships with firms operating in Hong Kong and mainland China. Taking up this competition is crucial. The dominance of US and UK-based firms in the global legal sector is obvious, but it is essential to support the development of local firms that can compete on a level playing field. This will contribute to a more balanced representation of global law firms representing regions outside the US and UK.

Companies like JSM are well positioned to achieve this goal. Even after merging with Mayer Brown 15 years ago, JSM has retained its reputation as the partner of choice for multinational corporations seeking the highest quality legal advice. The re-establishment of the firm further strengthens its position as one of the strongest players in the legal sector in Hong Kong.

At the same time, Mayer Brown’s decision to continue operating in Hong Kong will only serve to enrich the city’s legal scene. Its presence demonstrates confidence in the common law system, independent judiciary and Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center.

As Hong Kong’s legal sector continues to evolve, it will support the development of firms capable of providing world-class legal advice. These firms will leverage their knowledge of the local business and legal environment to serve incumbents while meeting the growing demand for high-quality legal services in rapidly developing regions such as the Middle East and Africa.

The determination and resilience of the sector, as well as the territory itself, have allowed it to survive difficult times in the past. These same qualities will lead the company forward, strengthening Hong Kong’s position as a global legal center that will continue to connect China with the world.

Melissa Pangformer president of the Law Society of Hong Kong

Since Covid-19, 99 percent of mail volume has been recovered

I mean letter“Hong Kong Postal Service Needs to Explain Something” (May 4) about your correspondent’s recent experience receiving mail from Europe and North America.

Hongkong Post aims to provide high-quality postal services and maintain performance standards. From early 2023, as the Covid-19 pandemic subsides and airfreight capacity continues to expand, we have been working closely with air carriers to ensure adequate capacity is needed to resume airmail services.

We are also working with our postal counterparts to provide transit services to destinations where flight capacity remains limited. We have now resumed airmail services to all major destinations, which account for approximately 99% of total shipment volumes, and are focusing on continuing efforts to restore services to the remaining smaller and remote destinations. Customers can find the latest updates on service availability on the Hongkong Post website.

Regarding inbound airmail, we receive shipments daily from major destinations in North America and Europe and have not recently observed any irregularities in the handling and delivery process.

To check why your correspondent has not been receiving periodicals or magazines from Europe or North America recently, we would be grateful if you could contact the Hong Kong Post mail tracking office on 2921 2211.

Oliver Wong, Senior Manager (Public Relations), Hong Kong Post

Beijing should welcome good reporting on China

On May 4, I participated in the Foreign Correspondents’ Club Journalism Conference 2024 and had the opportunity to meet with experienced correspondents and journalism students. One of them delivered a moving keynote speech, while others shared their experiences of working as a journalist in Hong Kong and reporting on China from Hong Kong.

The conclusion of the conference is that the journalists here remain passionate about their work after the entry into force of the Hong Kong Law Article 23 national security law.
I also heard that foreign journalists are having difficulties obtaining a work visa in mainland China.

Perhaps it is time for the authorities to consider giving them a warmer welcome to enable good reporting of Chinese affairs so that the rest of the world can see the good things that are happening in China in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ethical journalists must see it with their own eyes to write about it.

Joseph Chan, president of the Silk Road Economic Development Research Center

The stigma of mental illness is still too common

Each year, when Mental Health Awareness Month is celebrated in Canada in May, various mainstream media outlets will promote the obvious: that society, collectively and as individuals, must open our minds and encourage dialogue toward more fruitful treatment and prevention of mental illness.

Needless to say, everyone will agree that the stigmatization of such a disease, and therefore its carriers, should have been stopped a long time ago.

But that’s all. Unlike the loud and apparently quite effective voices lobbying in the media against the perpetuation of stereotypes based on skin color, sexuality and gender, there is no comparable, influential voice protesting against the reinforcement of stereotypes based on mental illness.

When it comes to irresponsible stereotyping and/or stigmatization of people with schizophrenia, the 2008 box office hit dark Knight could be a textbook example. In one scene, the Batman character recklessly complains to District Attorney Harvey Dent that the murderer he has handcuffed is “a paranoid schizophrenic… the kind of mind that the Joker attracts.”

As dark Knight2021 horror movie Old also stigmatizes schizophrenia through the violent behavior of a terrifying character.

It’s easy to find movies that demonize characters because of their mental illness. It does not seem to matter that people with schizophrenia are generally more likely to harm themselves and/or be victims of violence than to harm others.

Frank Sterle Jnr, British Columbia, Canada