Latest Hong Kong protest focuses on high-speed rail station
HONG KONG (AP) — Protesters in Hong Kong have chosen a new high-speed railway station that connects the city with mainland China as the destination for their latest march to protect the freedoms of the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. A look at why:
Organizers of Sunday’s march have said they want to explain their movement to people from the mainland, where news coverage of anti-government protests that have wracked Hong Kong for the past month has been heavily restricted and focused on condemning demonstrators for clashing with police and destroying public property. The route for the march goes through popular shopping areas for mainland tourists before ending at the West Kowloon Station. It is the first protest on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong harbor. Previous ones have been on Hong Kong island, the city’s government and business center.
The station itself stirred controversy ahead of its opening last September because passengers go through Chinese immigration and customs inside it. Mainland law applies in the area, roughly one-quarter of the station. While convenient for travelers, some opposition lawmakers argued the move violates the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution under which it retained its own legal system and civil liberties after reverting from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
GREATER BAY AREA
The 26-kilometer (16-mile) high-speed link to the mainland border is part of a grand plan to deepen the economic ties between Hong Kong, Macao and neighboring Guangdong province in southern China. The Greater Bay Area plan feeds into the unease of those in Hong Kong who fear greater mainland influence in the city. The high-speed train connects Hong Kong to Shenzhen, a tech hub in Guangdong, in about 20 minutes.
The high-speed rail network connects Hong Kong to 44 cities in the mainland and will rise to 58 destinations this week. The trip to Beijing takes nine hours. About 55,000 passengers ride the Hong Kong high-speed rail section daily.