High Speed Rail at Low Speed Build, Hong Kong Kinda Good for Tourism, China Includes Hong Kong in National Security Laws
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High Speed Rail Will Miss Deadline, Again
The new high-speed rail link between Hong Kong and Guangzhou is very unlikely to be completed by the already delayed deadline of December 2017, the Highways Department says. Last week Legco member and former KCR chairman Michael Tien estimated that construction costs would rise from $71.5 billion to $90 billion. He said that under current plans, the rail link would actually be worse than the current Guangzhou-Kowloon Through Train, due to unresolved issues with immigration checkpoints. However in an interview on Commercial Radio, Tien said that it must be finished regardless of the cost, lest Hong Kong become the laughing stock of China.
Our take: “Help us or mainlanders will laugh at us”? Pretty good way to get taxpayers’ money.
Hong Kong Kinda Good For Tourists
The World Economic Forum has published its Travel and Tourism Competitive Index, in which Hong Kong ranks 13 out of a total of 141 countries. The city ranks above both mainland China (at 17) and Taiwan (at 32), but behind Singapore, which takes 11th place. Hong Kong has the best ground and port infrastructure globally, while ranking second best in both business environment and information technology. However, Hong Kong is expensive, ranking 127th for price competitiveness. Cultural tourism is low in the city, while commercial tourism is the main tourist attraction. Yiu Si-wing, a LegCo member and director of China Travel Service, said that the city needs to find new ways to attract tourists, and not just depend on selling brand-name or luxury goods. The Tourism Board plans on working with local groups to make cultural tourism more attractive to visitors.
Our take: Hong Kong: basic bitch mecca.
China Includes Hong Kong in National Security Laws
A new draft of China’s own national security laws has mentioned Hong Kong for the first time, specifying the role the SAR should play in China. New additions state that “safeguarding China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is the common obligation of all Chinese people, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan compatriots.” In addition, the law specifies that “Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions shall perform the maintenance of national security.” The draft of the law is available for public consultation until June 5, and will be scrutinized by the National People’s Congress in March 2016.
Our Take: Looks like China’s paving the way to put Article 23 back on the agenda. Hurray!