China high-speed rail link launch goes smoothly, fears remain

Lester Mason
September 25, 2018

Protesters dress as People's Liberation Army (PLA) during a protest outside the Western Kowloon Station against the opening ceremony of the Hong Kong Express Rail Link in Hong Kong, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.

"No matter what you think about the new line, high-speed rail is extremely convenient", said Assistant Professor Feng Yan of the Communication University of China, who took the bullet train from Shenzhen to Hong Kong.

Ma Xingrui, governor of Guangdong Province, front row left, and Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, front row second left, stand next to a Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) Vibrant Express train bound for Guangzhou Nan Station waits in the Mainland Port Area at West Kowloon Station, which houses the terminal for the XRL in Hong Kong on September 22, 2018.

The Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) has been put into operation on Sunday, making a "15-minute living circle" possible for people in Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

At least two more large-scale cross-border infrastructure construction projects are about to be completed between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland - the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge in the west of the Hong Kong SAR and Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point in the northeast of the Hong Kong SAR.

A group opposing the move held a rally near the ceremony, saying Hong Kong's rule of law is being threatened.

Being a real estate agent in the lucrative Hong Kong market has its perks.

Customs officials and police sent from the central government will work there under the jurisdiction of mainland law.

Lam then headed to Guangzhou on a special train with Chinese officials.

A high-speed train G5736 left Hong Kong West Kowloon Station at 7 a.m. on Sunday for Shenzhen North Railway Station in Guangdong Province on the mainland.

The rail link provides direct access to China's massive 25,000km national high-speed rail network.

Beijing wants the Greater Bay Area, home to some 68 million people with a combined gross domestic product of US$1.5 trillion, to foster economic integration and better meld people, goods and sectors across the region.

The new high-speed railway will travel at 200 kph (or 120 mph) to 44 destinations in the mainland and is expected to see an estimated 70 to 82 trains pass through Hong Kong's new West Kowloon station daily.

Hong Kong also enjoys rights unseen on the mainland, including freedom of speech, protected by a deal made before the city was handed back to China by Britain in 1997.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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