Shenzhen Entry-exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau on Wednesday rejected a proposal to scrap the annual mandatory physical examination for car drivers with dual licence plates travelling between Hong Kong and Guangdong province.
The policy became effective in 1985, and since the handover of Hong Kong in 1997, many have suggested it be abandoned in order to support the logistics industry, one of the top four industries in Hong Kong.
Wu Kaiming, a member of the Guangdong Provincial Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), raised the question again recently. He argues that the request “is too demanding for drivers”, the process is “repetitive and unnecessary”, and it does not follow the spirit of the “scientific outlook on development” – an ideological call by former President, Hu Jintao.
However, according to chinanews.com, the quarantine bureau insists that it is necessary to monitor drivers commuting between Hong Kong and Guangdong as they are at high risk of contracting infectious diseases through frequent contact with fresh products exported to Hong Kong, such as fish and poultry.
Drivers of cars with dual-licence-plates are currently required to have an annual physical examination at a designated mainland hospital. Hong Kong does not have any hospitals that provide this service.
Wu suggests that drivers should be allowed to undergo a health check near where they live.
“All we can do is follow the rules. Different places have different rules,” said Wong kwok-wah, 40, who commutes frequently between Hong Kong and mainland China every year. “It’s a good thing in a way. It can help us monitor our health.”
Nevertheless, some drivers said on local discussion forum discuss.com that often the exam was just a pointless process.
“The guy just asked me how was my vision, didn’t do any test. Less than five minutes, I was done,” a commentator called “freeman” posted.
The Shenzhen Entry-exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau did not respond to a South China Morning Post interview request.