For the Express Rail(高鐵) the Mainland wants a large part of the West Kowloon station for customs, immigration, and quarantine(海關、出入境管制及檢疫).
The complication is that Hongkongers were promised protection from the vagaries of the Mainland laws till 2047. Carrie Lam told us to be practical and explains that you have a choice to stay away from China, and from the station (林鄭月娥呼籲我們以務實態度看待). But this ignores how the co-location bends the Basic Law.
The issue is not new. It was raised eight years ago when funding for the Express Rail was sought. Now everything has been agreed behind curtains, and a “Co-operation Arrangement” is dictated and rushed through.
The opposition has been anticipated. In case local legislation and Judicial Reviews “go pear-shaped”(失敗、泡湯), there will be law making by the NPC(全國人大). This will again advance jurisprudence integrating Hong Kong’s legal system into the Mainland’s legal system.
Yes, it is practical for travelers to have all checks in one location. But it is not essential. Shenzhen North and Futian could be used. Or the checks in Hong Kong could be limited to pre-clearance. This already starts when tickets are bought and passengers enter their personal data, similar to on-line reservations for airlines, similar to how train tickets are issued in China.
Who is not practical? Will the PLA lease back empty barracks for better use by Hong Kong given the tight land supply and need for housing? (是誰不務實？香港缺乏土地，解放軍會否交回空置軍營？) Why maintain a firing range near Tuen Mun instead of training gunners in Mainland deserts? (為何保留近屯門的練靶場而不在內地的沙漠荒野訓練射擊？)
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