Hong Kong express rail link launches amid controversy

Posted by On 1:43 PM

Hong Kong express rail link launches amid controversy

China China Hong Kong express rail link launches amid controversy

A man uses an immigration clearance machine at the Hong Kong Express Rail LinkImage copyright Reuters
Image caption The high speed rail link will open to the public on Sunday

A high-speed rail link has been launched in Hong Kon g, connecting the territory with mainland China.

The Express Rail Link connects Hong Kong to the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in 40 minutes - less than half the time taken by older trains.

Chinese authorities will be able to operate at a joint checkpoint at the station, and on the trains.

This is controversial as it marks the first time Chinese criminal law will be enforced in Hong Kong territory.

Critics say this violates Hong Kong's freedoms and mini-constitution.

The rail link was launched at a ceremony on Saturday, with one local lawmaker praising the first bullet train journey to Guangzhou South as "very quiet, like I was on a plane".

Government officials say the rail link will boost businesses in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

  • How part of Hong Kong became ruled by China overnight
  • When a railway station gets political

The rail link will open to the public on Sunday - a nd also boost train connections with the rest of mainland China, including the capital Beijing.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam (centre, at West Kowloon station) said the network would connect "three leading cities undergoing rapid development"

However, pro-democracy legislators boycotted the opening ceremony, and staged a protest outside the station, saying the rail link undermines Hong Kong's independent legal system.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, was handed back to China in 1997, under an agreement that the territory would enjoy "a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs", for 50 years.

< p>As a result, Hong Kong has its own laws, protections for certain rights and freedoms, and most mainland Chinese laws cannot be applied in the territory.

The new rail link will mark the first time Chinese officials can enforce Chinese law in Hong Kong, in parts of the station, and on trains.

China's top legislative body has said the arrangement does not undermine Hong Kong's autonomy, and its proponents argue it streamlines the immigration process.

However, legal experts from the Hong Kong Bar Association have criticised the arrangement, saying it contravenes Hong Kong's mini-constitution.

The rail link project has also been criticised for being delayed by three years, and going over budget by close to $3bn (£2bn).

Top Stories

Iran blames Gulf rivals for deadly attack

Iran's supreme leader says "regional US puppets" were behind a gun assault in Ahvaz that killed 25.

22 Se ptember 2018 Kavanaugh accuser to testify next week 22 September 2018 Moment gunmen open fire on Iran parade 22 September 2018


Why we're proud of our fat bodies


Are temporary tattoos a sell-out?


Civil rights and gun control

Beer flows as Germany's Oktoberfest opens

Japan's rovers send pictures from asteroid

How do you solve catastrophic hyperinflation?

Review: Visions of a Life by Wolf Alice ★★★★☆

The beauty tips that our mums swore by

The best news photos from the past week

Elsewhere on the BBC

Football phrases

15 sayings from around the world

Full article Football phrases Why you can trust BBC News

BBC News Services

  • On your mobile
  • On your connected tv
  • Get news alerts
  • Contact BBC News
Source: Google News Hong Kong | Netizen 24 Hong Kong

« Prev Post
Next Post »