The opening ceremony for the much-anticipated Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) has been set for Tuesday, Oct. 23.
No less than President Xi Jinping is expected to officiate at the event.
Apart from state leaders and representatives from Zhuhai and Macau, more than a hundred guests from Hong Kong are understood to have been invited to the occasion, including SAR officials, the city’s delegates to the National People’s Congress (NPC) and members of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), along with some Legislative Council members.
However, unlike in the opening ceremony for the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) on Sept. 22, pan-democratic lawmakers may not be on the list of guests for the HZMB inauguration, government sources said.
In the ceremony for the high-speed rail opening, some pro-democracy lawmakers were indeed invited but they declined.
Hong Kong NPC deputy Ip Kwok-him, lawmaker Ben Chan Han-pan of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), who is the chairman of the Legislative Council panel on transport, as well as CPPCC National Committee member Anthony Wu Ting-yuk all said they had already received invitations to the next week’s event.
But Civic Party lawmaker Jeremy Tam Man-ho, who is the deputy chairman of the Legco panel on transport, told us on Thursday night that he hasn’t received any invitation to the ceremony.
Tam said even if he had been invited, he had no intention of attending the event. He said he would rather spend time on activities that deal with substantial issues, such as the inspection tour to the Hong Kong section of the mega bridge by members of the Legco panel on transport scheduled for this Saturday.
Tam noted that the public should be more concerned about the implications of the opening of the HZMB for the traffic conditions in Hong Kong in the coming days, and whether the supporting measures devised by the government could cope with the increased traffic flow.
Meanwhile, organizers of the HZMB opening ceremony will arrange for Hong Kong guests to go to Zhuhai by sea next Monday so as to allow them to attend the occasion the following day. It remains unclear, according to government sources, whether they will be returning home by land through the bridge after the ceremony.
That’s because, as the sources pointed out, the opening ceremony does not mean the bridge will be entering service right away.
So whether the bridge will come into operation after the opening ceremony will depend on further announcement from mainland authorities.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct 19
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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