Co-location plan wins majority support: Survey
More than 60 percent of respondents in Hong Kong are in favor of the government’s joint boundary check arrangement for the highspeed rail terminus in West Kowloon, according to results of a poll published on Tuesday.
The survey, conducted by the Liberal Party between Aug 2 and 7, showed 61.7 percent of the 1,262 interviewees supported the arrangement, which allows passengers go through both mainland and Hong Kong immigration inspections at the terminus by inviting mainland law-enforcement officers to operate within a restricted port area.
Meanwhile, the survey also found 68.2 percent of the interviewees held that co-location is “the key” to maximize economic and social benefits that will be brought by high-speed trains.
In addition, 58.9 percent of interviewees agreed that co-location would not only benefit Hong Kong with convenient transport, but also bring new opportunities for economic boom.
Liberal Party lawmaker Tommy Cheung Yu-yan said as the co-location arrangement has already been discussed in a “meticulous process” between authorities from both sides in the past decade, he believed the plan would be satisfactory to both sides.
The three-step process, proposed by the government to implement co-location at the terminus, which includes an agreement with the mainland authorities, an approval by the nation’s top legislative body — the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, and support by the Legislative Council — indicates a high sense of democracy in the policymaking, Cheung said.
The Hong Kong government announced on July 25 that one-fourth of the West Kowloon Station would be designated as a Mainland Port Area with national laws applied. This is scheduled to go with the launch of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong express rail link (XRL) in the third quarter next year.
Also on Tuesday, five legislators and about 20 legal experts formed a concern group, voicing their support to the co-location plan.
They said that the plan was “reasonable” as it was “in accordance with the country’s Constitution and the Basic Law”.
Legislator and law professor Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, who is the group’s co-convener, said the claim that the co-location plan was “ceding land” had no legal basis, therefore were misleading.
The group also said that they will engage more legal scholars to explain the plan to the public and clarify concerns raised by the public.
The XRL’s Hong Kong section will let the city tap into the mainland’s high-speed railway network. After the Hong Kong section operates, it will take 48 minutes to Guangzhou, eight hours to Shanghai and about nine hours to Beijing.
The Liberal Party released results of a public opinion poll which found more than 61 percent of 1,262 qualified respondents support the special administrative region government’s draft plan for the co-location arrangements inside the West Kowloon Station of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL). It is yet another proof of majority backing for the popular measure, designed to let mainland immigration, customs and quarantine inspection authorities enforce mainland laws in a leased “port area” that all passengers must go through to board XRL trains. Several earlier polls consistently showed similar results, with majority support for the co-location arrangement.
Also on Tuesday, a group of legislative councilors who are practicing lawyers announced that they would found an alliance of law professionals dedicated to clearing away various make-believe scenarios dreamed up by the opposition camp to scare members of the public into rejecting the colocation arrangement. The move followed a succinct statement on Tuesday by Wang Guangya, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, that no interpretation by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee of the relevant article(s) of the Basic Law is necessary to clear the co-location arrangement for launching.
It is about time Hong Kong’s honest legal professionals stepped forward and helped the public see through the smokescreen of fear released by opposition “spin doctors” bent on demonizing everything related to the mainland despite the benefit the XRL will certainly bring to Hong Kong society. There is no doubt the opposition parties are desperate these days because they know they won’t be able to block the SAR government’s XRL bill regarding the co-location arrangement when the Legislative Council returns for business next month. That is why they are going all-out to hoodwink as many local residents as they can into believing the dark myths they have fabricated would come true.
People have been genuinely amazed recently by the imagination of those opposition politicians, including quite a few wellestablished lawyers who have tirelessly used their professional credentials for all sorts of fear-mongering over the years. The myths of horror they have spun out over the colocation arrangement since the government revealed the draft plan is nothing short of breathtaking but the majority of the local public know better and have scoffed at those wild tales all along. That said, more effort is necessary to inform the public about the truth of the co-location arrangement. This is so that even more Hong Kong residents will rally behind the SAR government in this war on lies to preserve the public interest as best we can.