Hong Kong’s joint checkpoint part of ‘one country, two systems’
Last month, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) endorsed the Hong Kong government’s plan to set up a joint checkpoint for the high-speed rail link from Hong Kong to Guangzhou.
This endorsement, coming from the NPCSC, the country’s top legislative body, cannot be overruled by any court in Hong Kong.
The government’s co-location joint checkpoint plan includes the leasing of a quarter of the West Kowloon terminus to mainland authorities. This will allow passengers to have their travel documents checked by Hong Kong and mainland officers within one terminus.
The NPCSC endorsement now clears the way for the Hong Kong administration to introduce into Legco within the coming weeks draft legislation to enact a joint checkpoint arrangement for the West Kowloon station of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong express rail link, featuring a one-stop customs and immigration clearance process for passengers.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, has said the joint checkpoint arrangement is something new that arose from the “one country, two systems”.
She hopes the draft legislation will be passed by Legco in good time to allow the third quarter opening of the Hong Kong section of the express rail link.
As a former legislator and long-time local citizen, I hope the co-location bill will be passed by Legco within the government’s timetable. I also hope the opposition camp in Legco will be mature enough not to indulge in useless filibustering on this bill.
It has not been easy for the chief executive to find a new secretary for justice as can be seen from the way in which she pleaded at a Legco question-and-answer session for enough time to be given to Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah, her appointee, to sort out her home illegal structures problem with the government departments concerned, a process which is underway.
It was not easy for the chief executive to persuade Cheng to give up a successful professional practice to accept the post of secretary for justice in the city’s highly-charged political climate. Cheng courageously accepted Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s invitation to join her political team.
We should look to the future and give enough time to Teresa Cheng to resolve her problems with the relevant departments, and continue her role as a key member in Carrie Lam’s political team.
Hilton Cheong-Leen, To Kwa Wan