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HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s first bullet train glides out of a sleek harborfront railway station bound for mainland China on Saturday, launching a new era of integration and raising fears for some for the territory’s cherished freedoms.
Unlike other cross-border connections, the $11 billion train project has stoked considerable controversy, with Hong Kong, a former British colony, having had to concede part of its jurisdiction to China for the first time.
Passengers - Modernist - Building - Documents - Immigration
Passengers entering the modernist building will have their documents stamped by Chinese immigration officers and will be subject to Chinese law while zipping across Hong Kong at 200 kph (120 mph) to the mainland. Hong Kong and Beijing officials have justified the unusual arrangement as a one-off, while touting its logistical and economic benefits.
But critics say the railway is a symbol of continuing Chinese assimilation of Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with guarantees of widespread autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland, including an independent legal system.
Hong - Kong - Hong - Kong - Martin
“I worry that Hong Kong will no longer be Hong Kong,” said Martin Lee, a veteran democrat and barrister who is fighting to derail the project in the city’s courts.
He said Hong Kong risked losing its allure as a financial hub underpinned by strong rule of law, as Beijing steps up a push to fuse the city into a vast hinterland of the Pearl River Delta including nine Chinese cities dubbed the Greater Bay Area.
Infrastructure - Projects - Year - Sea - Bridge
Several other infrastructure projects will open this year including a $20 billion sea bridge to Macau and Zhuhai, while Beijing is now working with Chinese tech giant Tencent to let people replace their travel documents by using a mobile phone WeChat app to cross the border in future.
“LITTLE ANT IN A BOX”
Hong - Kong - Greater - Bay
“Hong Kong will be completely submerged into the Greater Bay, and we don’t...
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