Why Beijing may be in no hurry to protect Hong Kong’s small-house policy
I refer to the article, “Rural leaders seek Beijing’s help on right to build villas” (July 24). Kenneth Lau Ip-keung, chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk, wants mainland authorities to interpret the Basic Law to protect New Territories villagers’ traditional rights.
Chairman Ip should be careful what he wishes for, as he should realise that the revolution which brought the Communist Party to power in mainland China in 1949 had little time for traditional rights and exclusive treatment for land owners.
The Basic Law was set up for all Hong Kong and I doubt that Beijing would want to give preferential treatment to just one group. Most urban dwellers cannot even dream of a 700 square foot living space, let alone three storeys. It seems that the kuk are panicking because the controversial small-house policy, which only started in 1972, has at last come under proper judicial scrutiny.
Ip is correct in saying that “we have reached a tipping point”, and that this inequitable moneymaking machine may grind to a halt. This is not before time, as this outdated policy no longer has administrative significance, and government bureaucrats have been sitting on their hands.
Properly planned land use in the New Territories will be essential to Hong Kong’s housing needs. It appears that the kuk are wanting to pressure our officials. Some may consider the annual “New Territories Day” just as subversive as the “umbrella movement”.
Frank Lee, Wan Chai