News World

Hong Kong, first high-pace train to mainland China departs

Hong Kong, first high-pace train to mainland China departs
 The high-speed train to mainland China before departing Hong Kong. Photograph: Giulia Macrchi/EPA

Bullet train to link southern China and cut journey times to Beijing from 24 hours to nine hours

A brand new excessive-velocity rail link among Hong Kong and mainland China has released amid criticism the multi-billion-greenback undertaking offers away a part of the metropolis’s territory to an increasingly assertive Beijing.

Chinese language safety has been stationed in semi-self sustaining Hong Kong for the primary time at the West Kowloon rail terminus, as a part of a brand new “unique port area” this is difficulty to mainland law.

Masses accumulated on the terminus within the early morning, with the first educate leaving for the southern chinese language town of Shenzhen at 7am.

“I’m no longer involved approximately the [mainland security] trouble. They’re handiest here to paintings. The joint checkpoints are just to make things more convenient and make border crossing clearance quicker,” one 39-yr-vintage passenger who gave his name as Mr Chan stated, saying he changed into touring on the primary educate along with his son.

Passengers pass through immigration and customs checkpoints into the mainland-controlled portion of the station, which incorporates the structures and the trains, even though West Kowloon is miles from the border further north.

Beneath Hong Kong’s mini-charter – the primary law – China’s countrywide laws do now not practice to the metropolis aside from in limited areas, which includes defence.

Hong Kong also enjoys rights unseen on the mainland, consisting of freedom of speech, blanketed by a deal made earlier than the city become handed lower back to China by means of Britain in 1997. However there are growing fears those liberties are being eroded.

Officers argue joint checkpoints will make journeys less complicated for passengers as they need no further clearance after crossing into the mainland.

The brand new bullet trains to southern China promise to be far quicker than present move-border rail hyperlinks, and lengthy-haul services will reduce adventure times to Beijing from 24 hours to 9 hours.

“this is truely handy in phrases of time,” stated one passenger who gave his call as Mr Kwok and was taking a train to visit his ancestral domestic in the southern chinese metropolis of Chaozhou.

But he delivered that tickets have been pricey and the buying system inefficient, having queued for 4 hours in advance of Sunday to buy them.

A 2nd-class ticket to Shenzhen prices $US11 (HK$86), even as journeying to Beijing $US160.