An intense burst of Mainlandization hits Hong Kong over a 30-hour period, as the Vacuous Express high-speed rail link opens (I was spared attending), and the government officially proscribes the Hong Kong National Party.
The primary purpose of the grotesquely expensive high-speed rail line between Shenzhen and West Kowloon is symbolic. To Chinese officials, the most important thing is that the maps now show the national high-speed rail network extending across the border. Hong Kong thus takes its place alongside Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou and dozens of other destinations on the bullet-train timetable. Another example of the city’s offensive exceptionalism has been eliminated.
A secondary aim was to feed some HK$86 billion of the Hong Kong people’s money to the engineering and other interests. Mainland state-owned construction giants, local developer-linked contractors and foreign groups would all have gobbled their share. That could have paid for (say) a 20% increase in the entire healthcare budget for six years.
Which brings us to the relatively peripheral third purpose of the project – to serve as a transport system. New Territories residents will continue to cross the border by other means rather than come down to West Kowloon. For other Hongkongers, the new link probably rivals cross-border bus/train combinations for trips to certain (not especially compelling) mid-size cities in Guangdong and a bit beyond. But most passengers will be more Mainlanders flooding into Hong Kong as tourists – part of Beijing’s policy of punishing the city for its foreign-influenced past.
All the above also goes for the HK-Zhuhai Bridge, due to open soon.
The banning of the (barely existent) HKNP is also symbolic and ordered by Beijing. Rather than sacrificing billions of dollars, Hong Kong will pay a price in terms of freedom of association and opinion.
The pro-independence group asked for (and received) more time to reply to the official police request for the ban, and then handed in a response after the deadline anyway. It’s as if they are inviting, goading or daring the judiciary to tarnish its own integrity – assuming this ends up in the courts – by allowing the government’s decision and accepting the laughable claim that Andy Chan and his little band of followers threaten national security. If so, it would be a necessary, maybe brilliant, theatrical tactic. Why grace this farce with a serious defence?
The ban, and subsequent criminalization of opinions, and concurrent degrading of rule of law, are inevitable in any case. You are in a Leninist regime.
You’re right but you run the risk of stating the Bleedin’ Obvious. Surely it must be clear by now that Hong Kong is absurd. Attempts to rationalise it just won’t work.
And it isn’t even new. Donald started it all with that daft East TST station.
You just have to laugh.
Which then brings us to the political manoeuverings. But somehow you find them serious.
Come on. Have a laugh. Believe me, looking at the people around me in Hong Kong I would find it very hard to get upset about Josef Stalin or Pinochet moving into Government House.
Looking forward to the installation of Renmin Lu, Jiefang Lu, Ba Yi Lu, Ai Guo Lu, etc etc to soon replace the repugnant Queen’s Rd, Wellington St, Hennessy Rd…you get the idea.
@CN – whereupon the Hong Kong public will continue to use the old names anyway – like minibuses continuing to show their destination as Daimaru for decades after the Daimaru Department Store disappeared.
Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu will go in the history books as the first HK minister to outlaw a political party because of its guiding philosophy. Bravo !
Being the first in a long line of successors is certainly something we should applaud and remember.
Remember his name: John Lee Ka-chiu. His name may pop up again after retirement when he takes up a well paid position with China Resources or some such commie outlet.
If you thought that Christine Loh was a traitorous piece of chocolate, then remember John Lee as well.
@ON: Passive resistance! ✊
@Joe Blow: “I vas juss following ordahs!”
@Old Newcomer: I still call Jardine House Connaught Centre.
When I first came to HK the Connaught Centre was the Connaught Centre. I was taken for lunch to ear fish and chip in the awful pub that occupies the space in the basement now occupied by Grappas Cellar (and that is no improvement).
However if I had told my wife and children we were going to the Connaught Centre to listen to the Stray Katz (sadly now defunct) rather than in Jardine House they would have had no idea.
Exactly as the mainland works. The old people remember the Cultural Revolution, the younger do not. The slightly less old remember Tianenmann Square, the younger (on the mainland) do not.
Wongheidaidodong (spelling) will soon be known by whatever be its new conferred name. Bit like Prince of Wales Tower
That was The Galley. I still take taxis to the Bond Centre.
I still go dancing at the Pen.