A Summary of the West Kowloon Station Dispute

As mainland China’s influence on Hong Kong grows stronger, there is an increasing concern that the city will soon lose her unique features and values, becoming submissive to the giant state. The concern is represented by the continuous dispute over the West Kowloon Station. This article gives you a brief understanding of the event.

West Kowloon Station is the south end of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link Hong Kong Section. The rail link makes Hong Kong part of the 38,000-kilometer express rail system in China. The six-floor station takes up as much as 11 hectares, and construction has cost about 12,230,000,000 Hong Kong dollars. With the completion of the construction, it would be the largest underground railway station in the world. The station also serves as an entry and exit port between Hong Kong and mainland China. Nevertheless, the management of the port has been the focus of the dispute.

According to the plan of exit and entry management in West Kowloon Station, which was published in July 2017, the port will adopt the “Co-location Arrangement” policy. Under the policy, both Hong Kong and mainland China would have their own ports in the station respectively. Part of the B2, B3 and the whole B4 floor will be mainland China’s port area. The Chinese government would rent the area until 2047, where Chinese laws would be implemented by Chinese staffs. The plan has been approved by the Legislative in Hong Kong on November 15th, 2017, and by the standing committee of the National People’s Congress on December 27th, 2017.

A Hong Kong protest against NPC’s approval of the plan. (Photo by AsiaNews.it)

In Hong Kong, the public is worried that the “Co-location Management” would damage the integrity of the Basic Law. “The plan unprecedentedly ceded an area of Hong Kong, stating it is not within Hong Kong’s border, where the laws of mainland China will be implemented”, said Eric Cheung, a legal scholar of HKU, if an example is set and the government considers it an easy way to strengthen its influence, “is there any way to prevent such agreements from being reached in the future?”

Meanwhile, Holden Chow, a member of the Legislative Council said that Democrats exaggerated the incident, the goal of the plan is only to make the best use of the port and the station, “everything will be operated according to the basic law”.

Proposed floor plan of the terminus. (Photo by Legislative Council)

The facilities in the station have also drawn considerable attention. According to the design, there will be an armory, interrogation rooms and police boxes in the Chinese port area. Although these are common among most entry and exit ports, it is worried that Hong Kong citizens might be subjected to state violence in the port. And according to Apple Daily, the existence of “hidden doors” are found in the Chinese port. Through these doors, certain people can cross the border without getting through the port. Some are concerned that with these doors unknown to the public, Chinese police, servicemen, and officers can enter Hong Kong without being noticed or leaving evidence.

The station will start to function in the third quarter of 2018. The result of the dispute is yet to be seen.

 

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