Chinese military port approved in Hong Kong

Discussion in 'China' started by Ray, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Chinese military port approved in Hong Kong

    Chinese military port in Hong Kong's historic Victoria Harbour fuels concerns over Beijing's role in the former colony


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    The controversial construction of a People's Liberation Army port along Hong Kong's historic Victoria Harbour has been approved, amid growing unease about China's role in the former British colony.

    The military port was "unanimously" passed by Hong Kong's planning board, China's state broadcaster, announced.
    The port, which would be the PLA's first in Hong Kong, was first discussed in 1994 as part of pre-handover talks between London and Beijing, CCTV claimed.

    However, CCTV made no mention of widespread opposition to the plans, which have added to concerns over Beijing's vision for the former colony.

    Around 19,000 formal "comments" about the construction of the PLA port were submitted to city planners, of which only 20 – around 0.1 per cent – were favourable, according to the South China Morning Post newspaper.

    Last December, at least four pro-independence activists broke into the PLA's Central Barracks in Hong Kong, waving colonial-era flags and calling for the port project to be scrapped.

    The PLA subsequently staged a major military drill in Victoria Harbour involving two frigates and helicopters. The move was widely interpreted as a reminder that Beijing held ultimate authority over Hong Kong.

    Most of the opponents of the 31,969 square ft installation, in public at least, frame their objections in terms of urban planning not politics.

    "It's not a question of ideology or whether or not we trust the PLA – anyway, we've all seen what happened on June 4, 1989 – this is an issue about our rights as citizens," Kenneth Chan, a legislator who is campaigning against the port, told the South China Morning Post last year, in a reference to the army's bloody crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters.

    Extensive public consultation, including "face-to-face" talks had been carried out.

    The construction of a PLA port in the Central district was "reasonable and in line with the overall interests of Hong Kong," Regina Ip, a pro-Beijing member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, told the Chinese network.

    Government officials have attempted to reassure residents about the PLA's presence in such a key location. In January, Hong Kong's security minister ruled out deploying the PLA to quell protests. Last May, government officials said the port would be used for "conducting military training, berthing military vessels, running ceremonial activities and carrying out pier maintenance."

    Still, the PLA's presence in such a central and historic part of Hong Kong is highly symbolic and has added to growing concerns over Communist Party meddling.

    The former colony was guaranteed a "high degree of autonomy" from Beijing under the "one country, two systems" model introduced after the 1997 handover.

    Yet the true extent of that autonomy has been repeatedly questioned in recent months.

    Last week, Hong Kong's Foreign Correspondents' Club warned that outside interference threatened "to erode Hong Kong's unique position as a bastion of free expression under Chinese rule". Reporters Without Borders said local press freedom was "in jeopardy".

    Those alerts came after Kevin Lau Chun-to, the editor of the Chinese-language broadsheet Ming Pao, was sidelined in January amid speculation his employers had ceded to pressure from Beijing.

    Participants in Sunday's Hong Kong marathon wore blue ribbons in protest against dwindling press freedom.

    "Our core values are, bit by bit, being encroached," Kate Cheung, a Hong Kong reporter, told AFP.

    Tensions are unlikely to ease over the coming months. Tens of thousands of demonstrators are likely to flock onto the former colony's streets in June to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing.

    Pro-democracy activists are also calling for public demonstrations as they push for the introduction of universal suffrage by 2017 when the election for Hong Kong's next chief executive is held.

    Last month, the Global Times, a fiercely nationalistic Chinese tabloid, accused the United States and Britain of stirring up opposition to Beijing in order to satisfy their "own selfish interests in Hong Kong."

    Hong Kong's pro-democracy groups enjoyed "flaunting" their "real freedom" but they now needed to "learn their place," it said.

    Chinese military port approved in Hong Kong - Telegraph

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    Hong Kong is a part of China, even if it is 'one country, two systems'. Therefore, why should the Chinese of Hong Kong object to the militarisation by having a port for the Chinese Navy and only 0.1 per cent being favourable?

    It is futile to protest sine Red China will not care a tuppence for the same and will go ahead with the scheme, whether the Hong Kong people like it or not.

    Global Times has pragmatically stated the anger and disgust of the Mainland Communist by stating that 'the Hong Kong's pro-democracy groups enjoyed "flaunting" their "real freedom" but they now needed to "learn their place,'

    But will the Hong Kong people agree that they learn their place'?
     
    TrueSpirit1 likes this.
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