Letters: Don’t forget China’s brutality

THERE have been many media revelations over Black Lives Matter (BLM) and slavery, some of it very close to home. and it gives one pause for thought.

During this crisis, apparently starting in China by fair means or fowl, I, like many have taken to reading. Given a recommendation by my local friendly golfing partner and ex-history teacher I embarked on reading Mao, The Unknown Story by Jung Chiang and Jon Halliday.

I knew that Mao had committed a fair few atrocities but the scale staggered me. He was responsible for the deaths of more than 100 million of his own people whom he treated with total disdain and immense cruelty. Yet today Mao still has pride of place in Tiananmen Square and is officially revered by the Chinese population, of whom less than one per cent know the real truth of what really happened under Mao – and he only died in 1976.

While we in the West need to face up to our history, I seriously doubt that anyone will be holding the Chinese Communist Party to account for its past history.

Let’s see if there are any protests, with or without kettling, in Tiananmen Square any time soon. Good luck having a BLM or statue protest there. The fact that we can have these protests is down to our democracy that we enjoy and be grateful.

While we need to seriously reflect on our ancestor’s misdemeanours, we should not ignore other brutal regimes that still perpetuate to this day and we seem to give them for some reason, perhaps fear, a free pass.

Ian McNair, Cellardyke.

Time to relaunch the ferries project

THE Covid emergency seems to have pushed the two new ferries being built for CalMac off the news agenda (a good time to bury bad news, perhaps?). Have CMAL and the Scottish Government considered whether the two ships could be towed or transported to a suitable shipyard elsewhere in Europe for completion?

Surely at a time like this getting the ferries completed in the interests of transport connectivity and the economies of the various destinations involved is more important than considerations of national pride?

Scott Simpson, Glasgow G12.

Heroic research

I DID my best to follow Alex Orr's statistical blizzard of war dead figures (Letters, June 26). My first thought was that he must have spent hours poring over various sources to produce that. My second thought was that there are lies, damned lies and statistics. My third thought was that there is something unseemly about picking over the bones of Scotland's war dead to prove some kind statistical/political/moral point, especially as these are figures which have remained unchallenged for a century. My fourth thought was that his effort was none the less heroic in its search for the truth. He deserves a medal.

John Jamieson, Ayr.

Why the books?

CONFINED to the house, I have been watching television more than normal. Many contributors are being interviewed while sitting at home. I have become intrigued by what they have in common: books.

The background nearly always contains books – large floor-to-ceiling bookcases to a few books on a shelf. Well-ordered books to shelves of unruly books provide the background to the interview. This is also true on American television I have watched.

It has to be deliberate. Can any of your readers suggest why? A possibly more interesting question is: what does this say about the minority who have no books?

David J Paterson, Edinburgh EH12.