HK member of NPCSC says arrangement is practical
The co-location arrangement is essential to the operation of the Hong Kong section of the GuangdongShenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL), National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) member Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai said on Thursday.
She told China Daily in an exclusive interview that such an arrangement was workable and had a solid legal basis.
The government has proposed a co-location system of boundary control facilities at the XRL terminus in West Kowloon by setting up a mainland port area — where Chinese mainland laws are applicable — inside the station.
The co-location arrangement fully complies with the principle of “one country, two systems” and the Basic Law, Fan said.
Fan also praised the special administrative region government for adopting a three-step procedure. She explained that it did this by first obtaining the endorsement of the Legislative Council before submitting the matter to the NPCSC.
“It could do it with only two steps but this shows it respects LegCo and Hong Kong residents. This also shows it has confidence that it does not need NPCSC approval ahead of LegCo endorsement,” she said.
“The procedure is fully compliant with ‘one country, two systems’ and the Basic Law. If not for safeguarding ‘one country, two systems’, the Hong Kong government needs not do so many things.”
Fan expects the NPCSC will authorize the co-location document in December at the earliest. This will be after LegCo has passed a resolution to set up the co-location system.
After this, the SAR government will — through the State Council — seek NPCSC approval for the cooperation agreement between Hong Kong and the mainland regarding the co-location arrangement.
If the NPCSC approves the matter in December, Fan estimates LegCo has about seven months to enact a local law to implement the co-location arrangement. The XRL is expected to start operating in the third quarter of next year.
According to the SAR government proposal, the Mainland Port Area inside the West Kowloon Terminus will be under the authority of the mainland side. Hong Kong laws will not apply there once it is leased to the mainland. This is in accordance with Article 7 of the Basic Law, Fan explains.
She condemned the opposition for describing the Mainland Port Area inside the terminus as being “ceded” to the mainland.
“There is no such thing as ceding the site because natural resources in Hong Kong are State properties. The opposition camp is simply panicking and rallying Hong Kong residents to oppose the co-location system,” she said.
meets Margaret Chan, former director-general of the UN World Health Organization, on Thursday in Zhongnanhai, a central government office compound in Beijing.
National People’s Congress Standing Committee member Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai says the co-location arrangement for the Express Rail Link is in full compliance with the principle of “one country, two systems” and the Basic Law.