16 November 2018
Chief Executive Carrie Lam meets with Director Wang Guangya of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing on Monday. Photo: GIS
Chief Executive Carrie Lam meets with Director Wang Guangya of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing on Monday. Photo: GIS

Hongkongers ‘calm’ about co-location plan, says Wang Guangya

The co-location arrangement for the Express Rail Link does not require Beijing’s interpretation of the Basic Law as Hong Kong people have responded rationally to the proposal, the director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Wang Guangya said.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who met with Wang in Beijing for about two hours on Monday,said his comments were factual and reflective of reality, adding that most Hongkongers are supportive of the government’s proposal, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Wang said that he is aware that there are many voices for and against the border control system, but he reckoned that Hong Kong society is “still rather logical and calm”.

He said the policies completely adhere to the guidelines set within the Basic Law and the “one country, two systems” philosophy.

Wang said he believes most Hong Kong people would support the new policy as it would bring prosperity and business opportunities to the territory.

Lam said Wang and other mainland officials have been reading Hong Kong papers well enough to know the facts about Hong Kong.

She agrees with Wang that the response from Hong Kong citizens are minimal and that poll results show that most people want the cross-border train service to start running as soon as possible.

Lam said she also believes there is no need for any law interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and there is no fear for a judicial review, despite the position of some pan-democrats that the co-location arrangement would violate Article 18 of the Basic which provides that mainland laws cannot apply in Hong Kong, reported.

Lam had also visited the China Railway Corporation with Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po and Eric Chan Kwok-ki, director of the Chief Executive’s Office.

Lam assured the company’s top officials during their meeting that “the policies [concerning the co-location plan] would be embraced after two or three months of detailed explanation”.

Lu Dongfu, China Railway general manager, cited the benefits of the high-speed rail link, which will shorten the travel time from Hong Kong to the mainland.

Meanwhile, pro-Beijing legislators Priscilla Leung Mei-fan, Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan and Holden Chow Ho-ding said they would team up to help explain to the public the legal standpoints of the government’s co-location proposal.

The co-location plan will allow part of the West Kowloon terminus for the rail link to be under the control of mainland border control officials. It will be considered part of the mainland territory, where national laws will apply.

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