While the rest of Hong Kong dozes through a humdrum week, soon-to-be-ex-Chief Executive CY Leung is still traipsing around the Pearl River Delta to hype up the ‘Greater Bay Area’ project, senior officials dutifully in tow.
It’s as if he wants to punish his transport, Mainland and other ministers for not sharing his infatuation with the Chinese Communist Party, and for stubbornly insisting on being Hongkongers all the time. Or maybe he feels every study trip and briefing and inspection tour genuinely helps to subsume and dissolve Hong Kong into the Mainland, and he must make the most of this last couple of months in office.
Another explanation is that Beijing is actually serious with this latest in a long line of visionary concepts. National economic planners are indeed going to assign the various cities in the region specific roles, with Hong Kong moving its port out and focusing more on high-end financial and other activities, to ‘avoid destructive competition’. We yawned at the announcement of yet another zone-hub, and when we woke up we found we were part of the latest Five-Year Plan.
CY’s parade through the ‘Greater Bay’ includes dropping in – and feeling right at home – at a factory making robots. Also a visit to a hitherto unheard-of city that is now officially the zone-hub’s Gateway to the Southwest, where they are putting 600,000 people into 115,000 square metres. (In plain English, that’s two square feet for every human, according to my approximate and possibly faulty mental calculation. Maybe it’s a typo and they mean cubic metres.)
Inevitably, he and his Mainland buddies find a way to drag the HK$80 zillion Express High-Speed Rail White-Elephant into the Greater Big Bay Zone extravaganza. After the thing is built, we will be able to take a train to Urumqi, and thence to Europe – no more fiddling around with airports and flying.
I declare the weekend open with a theory: maybe it’s the other way round – maybe it’s the Big Greater Bay Concept Theme Hub that’s being dragged into the High-Speed Express Rail to Shenzhen Vision Project?
Montego Bay. Morecambe Bay. San Francisco Bay. Hudson Bay. Repulse Bay.
Mississippi Delta. Amazon Delta. Nile Delta. Mekong Delta. Pearl River Delta.
Pearl River Bay?
The cost may be ruinous, and they are making a mess of the jurisdictional issue, but the express train service in the PRC is, whisper it, very good in my experience. Fast, clean and cheap. Anyone going to Guilin should try it from Shenzhen in preference to flying.
Mind you, the Guangzhou South station is nowhere near Guangzhou – critics are right about that. Guangzhou is sort of in the distance.
Well…Panyu is now “Greater Guangzhou” along with Foshan, Nanhai, Zhaoqing and southern Hunan…
@Revolution – perhaps Ryanair are now advising the Chinese government on naming their railway stations – try flying to their “Frankfurt Hahn” airport, which is 120 km from Frankfurt – almost as far as Hong Kong from Guangzhou!
Mr Lychee, surely this piece should be more celebratory in tone? The main news here is that Hong Kong’s status is to be upgraded! We ought to express our warm appreciation to the the National Development and Reform Commission for lifting us out of 170 years of misery and irrelevance.
I’m starting to feel more consequential already.
I used to live in the Foshan Nanhai area. It’s YUGE. And yes, quite a long way from GZ.
Whilst I get the rail planning — given global warming is set to raise sea levels by 2-3 meters in the next 30 years, overland rail may well be the only way to trade for several years once all the ports flood out (and air travel may well be banned for it’s carbon output) but that said, deltas are obviously going to flood first, so why bother developing one? Why not spend your excess industrial output converting your power generation grid to low carbon renewable energy that will be more future proof, instead of this Greater Bay Area (ironically with a 3m sea level rise, there will definitely be a greater bay area!) and OBOR nonsense?
D’oh! I forgot to add a nice map of the greater greater bay area! Hong Kong isn’t too badly hit other than the Airport (looks like we will need a new runway, after all), Disney (Finding Nemo Fun Park /Little Mermaid Kingdom rebrand?!?) and the Central Reclamation Project (remember that Star Ferry pier Carrie Lam knocked down? Turns out preserving it was not only an option, it was in fact the better option.)
Why the negative hyperbole about Zhaoqing? Is your knowledge of Chinese geography really as bad as you frequently make it out to be, or is this just an exercise in a little good natured sarcasm to spice things up a bit?
Zhaoqing is – or was – a very popular town along the West River. Hong Kongers going to Guangxi Province pass by on one or another of the daily hydrofoil services from Tsimshatsui. Not so many decades ago Jiang Qing, Mao’s wife, used to hang out in a sumptuous Zhaoqing villa along the shores of its picturesque Seven Star Lake when she was sulking from lack of attention in Beijing. It also was the place where Roxane Witke interviewed Jiang Qing over a period of many weeks and produced the biography “Comrade Jiang Qing.” Why don’t you go take a look the next time we have a long weekend in Hong Kong.