07/27/2017, 11.00
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Kowloon station to come under Beijing control with mainland law

by Paul Wang

The Hong Kong Government says there can only be one law  - Chinese - to govern on customs, immigration, railways and trains. For Democrats it is a first step to delegating legislation on demonstrations and protests to China.


Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The Hong Kong government has proposed that Kowloon train station, on the new Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed line, be entrusted to the legal governance of China. Various democratic personalities fear that this is the beginning of a process where China's legal and police control over the territory is handed down.

The new high-speed line will be inaugurated next year and will cost about 11 billion US dollars. President Xi Jinping visited the station site when he came to Hong Kong to celebrate the 20-year return of the former British colony to China.

Until now, as at all borders, customs operations and passport control take place in two separate moments, one on the Chinese side, and the other by the Hong Kong police.

With the new method proposed by the Territory's executive, the only check would be carried out by Chinese officers.

Beijing's control would extend to the immigration, customs, and waiting areas on all platforms and trains. Although the area is actually Hong Kong, China's civil and criminal law would be applied.

Contrary to the proposal, they point out that in this way, there is a risk of arresting a Hong Kong citizen for actions that are not considered as crimes in Hong Kong and that are in China. Everyone is overwhelmed by the fear of something similar to what happened to book publishers, who disappeared from Hong Kong and then re-emerged in China under police control. Their "crime" was to have sold books that informed of controversial news about Chinese leaders and criticized Chinese leadership.

For Martin Lee Chu-ming, the ex-parliamentarian from the Democrats and among the authors of the Basic Law, giving China control over portions of territory  in Hong Kong will undermine the city's mini-constitutionwhich permits greater  styles and freedoms other than mainland China, under the principle of "one nation, two systems".

"Once there is a precedent - Martin Lee told a local radio - the many Hong Kong problems can be easily resolved using mainland China law." For example, during protests, demonstrations and sit-ins (as was the case with the umbrella movement in 2014), it would risk giving China the responsibility to implement its law, not Hong Kong law, which allows freedom of expression.

Democrat parliamentarians have vowed to veto the government's proposal.

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