The North East New Territories Development Project means dissolution of Hong Kong-China Border
The North East New Territories Development Project, if approved by the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, would enable Mainland Chinese to enter Hong Kong without a visa, which will in effect remove the border between Hong Kong and China. Contravening the “One Country, Two Systems”, as promised and made into law by London and Beijing, this will severely endanger the lives of seven million Hongkongers.
On June 6, 2014, the Finance Committee of the Hong Kong Legislative Council debated about whether to grant public money to the preliminary works of the North East Development Plan. Around 5 pm that day, dozens of affected villagers and activists stormed into the building of the Legislative Council, and demanded that the project be withdrawn. Subsequently, the security guards of the Legco Building and the police twice tried to close doors to the building but vigorous activists and villagers pushed them open again. This is the first time in Hong Kong history that the Legco Building has ever been forced into by protesters. After a few pro-democracy legislators’ filibustering for almost seven hours, and under the activists’ pressure, the meeting was finally adjourned to 13 June 2014. According to legislator, Wong Yuk-man, the proposal may then be passed any minute.
Six groups of activists called upon Hong Kong citizens to siege the Legco Building at 2 pm on June 13, 2014 and demand the government to withdraw the plan.
SAR within SAR
On 13 June 2012, Mr. C. Y. Leung, in the capacity of the Hong Kong chief executive elect, gave an interview to Oriental Daily, and mentioned that the frontier closed area right next to the North East New Territories Development Areas could become “a special administrative region (SAR) within the special administrative region of Hong Kong”, to which Mainland Chinese could have access without a visa. As pointed out by Head of Central Policy Unit, Lau Siu-kai, in the last ten years, the main target of the economic development of the Hong Kong Government is to merge Hong Kong with China. However, this is against the Basic Law of Hong Kong (the mini-constitution of Hong Kong), which stresses “one country, two systems”, i.e., although Hong Kong is under the sovereignty of China, Hong Kong enjoys a system disparate from that of China.
Elimination of Border Defense
In its policy address of 1996, Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, said that one of the criteria of success of “one country, two systems” was whether the border between Hong Kong and Canton remained unchanged. According to Prof. Wan Chin (2012), a Hong Kong political critic, the frontier closed area and green belt in North East New Territories were border buffering land carefully preserved by the colonial government. The Hong Kong Government’s developing this area is politically menacing to the greatest extent, implying that no border defense is required between Hong Kong and China any longer, that mainland Chinese may directly migrate to Hong Kong.
Borderland as Buffer
Why does Hong Kong need North East New Territories as a border defense buffering district? As explained by Wan Chin (2012), it is because it will save the lives of seven million Hong Kong citizens at critical moments. With its economy declining fast and its rate of unemployment high, China may go through large-scale riots and even a civil war any minute. Once a civil war has broken out, Hong Kong, being an important financial centre in the world, may secure peace and neutrality through negotiating with the United States and China. But if the borderland of Hong Kong is already opened up and inhabited by Shengzhen people, it will be extremely difficult to stop millions of refugees and defecting soldiers and policemen running from China into Hong Kong.
Disappearance of Hong Kong Agriculture and Industry
Professor Edward Yiu (2014), from the Department of Geography and Management Resources, thinks that other consequences of the development plan include disappearance of the sustainable village districts in North East New Territories, disappearance of agriculture in Kwu Tung North and Fanling North, and uprooting of the industries in Kwu Tung, the last ones in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong not Consulted about Amendment
The North East New Territories New Development Areas Project initially demarcated the agricultural land of Kwu Tung North, Fanling North and Ping Che/Ta Kwu Ling as new development areas of North East New Territories, where housing estates and commercial buildings would be built. The first cohort of population is supposed to move into the area in 2022, and all the works will be completed in 2031. In mid-2013, the government, due to opposition from many civilians, removed Ping Che/Ta Kwu Ling from the list, with Kwu Tung North and Fanling North remaining, amounting to 614 hectares. The Hong Kong public had not been consulted concerning this amendment. The entire project will cost 120 billion Hong Kong dollars.
Developers Given Special Treatment
According to government documents, The Hong Kong Labour Party’s Fernando Cheung pointed to plans that would allow landowners who possess more than 4,000 square metres of land within the development area to apply for a land swap, as evidence that developers are being given special treatment. If the project is approved, all the residents living in the new development areas will have to move from their age-old homes.
Land Supply Already Enough
According to data provided by the Hong Kong Government, it has already made arrangements for the coming five years’ land supply for Hong Kong. In other words, even if the North East New Territories Project is not carried out, there will be enough land supply to cope with the housing objective set. And if the project is started, the first stage of inhabitation will not take place until 2013.