Behind the handover of Hong Kongs Central Military wharf to the garrison is a 26 year struggle

category:Military
 Behind the handover of Hong Kongs Central Military wharf to the garrison is a 26 year struggle


At 7 a.m. on September 29, the Hong Kong SAR government and the Hong Kong Garrison held a handover ceremony for the Central Military wharf. In her speech, the chief executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, said that this is a historic moment, which fully demonstrates the relationship between the central government and the Hong Kong SAR under the one country, two systems policy, and has important constitutional significance.

Chief executive Lin zhengyuee exchanged the memorandum of transfer of military terminals in the central region with chendaoxiang, commander of the Hong Kong army. (picture / SAR Government Information Service)

Located on the North Bank of Hong Kong Island, the wharf is only 150 meters long. It has been 26 years since the Chinese and British governments exchanged notes on the future use of Hong Kongs military land, started planning in 1998, allocated funds in 2002, completed the wharf in 2013, and finally handed over the garrison by 2020.

A series of political struggles, public opinion contests and legal disputes around this wharf fully illustrate the complexity of the Hong Kong issue. With the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law and the handover of the Central Military terminal as a sign, it reveals the new ideas and measures of the central government to solve the complex and difficult problems in the political situation of Hong Kong.

The origin of the military terminal problem in central region

The origin of Chinas military wharf problem includes the military activities of British troops stationed in Hong Kong, the military negotiations between China and Britain, the economic and social development status of Hong Kong reclamation, and the rise of the trend of Hong Kong Independence.

After the British occupation of Hong Kong in January 1841, a large number of military facilities were set up on the North Bank of Hong Kong Island. There are many remains of military barracks in todays Hong Kong Park. For example, the tea set museum was the official residence of the commander of the three services at that time. After the second Opium War, Britain occupied the Kowloon Peninsula and set up barracks in Gun Club Hill and East Kowloon. In 1898, Britain leased the new territories from the Qing government, and the military facilities moved northward.

On the whole, the British troops stationed in Hong Kong take the north coast of Hong Kong Island as the core, which has the distinct characteristics of emphasizing the north and neglecting the south. That is to say, it mainly prevents the Chinese government from attacking Hong Kong by land from the north, but the defense on the South Bank of Hong Kong Island is relatively empty except for the Stanley barracks.

The military command center of British troops stationed in Hong Kong has been set up on the North Bank of Hong Kong Island. However, with the economic development of Hong Kong, the reclamation movement on the North Bank of Hong Kong Island has lasted for more than 100 years, and the barracks have been constantly relocated. The British Navy stationed in Hong Kong originally built a dock around Admiralty, but at the request of the British Hong Kong government, it closed the dock in November 1959 and built Harcourt Road Flyover after reclamation, which made the traffic from central to Wan Chai much smoother.

As compensation, the British Hong Kong government has built a new military base by the pool of Tamar naval port, which contains the headquarters building of the British army in Hong Kong - Prince wells building, which is todays PLA force building in Hong Kong. At that time, the building was near the harbor pool, where destroyers and frigates could be moored, and light aircraft carriers could be berthed outside the harbor basin.

The prince of Wales building, which is under construction, can be seen on the side of the harbor basin where there are warships. You can get to the seaside from the building. (information map)

After years of reclamation, the Hong Kong Garrison building in the shape of pouring wine bottles is not short distance from the seaside. (photo / news network of the SAR Government)

In 1994, the Chinese and British governments exchanged notes on the future use of Hong Kongs military land, and agreed that the British garrison in Hong Kong would hand over 14 military land to the PLA and 25 military land to the Hong Kong government free of charge, and compensate the PLA with 5 military buildings and fixed facilities occupied due to economic and social development.

Among them, the reconstruction of the naval base at Tamar warship on the South Bank of Stonecutters Island, the military hospital at gunhuishan barracks, the Quartermaster warehouse in Caihong barracks, and the joint military transportation center at Chek Lap Kok Airport, which were all completed long ago, were handed over to the PLA after the handover ceremony in 1997 Used by the Hong Kong Garrison.

Among the 5 reconstruction projects, only the military terminal in central region failed to be handed over in time. This is because the central Wan Chai Reclamation Project was in progress at that time, and the final construction scale could not be foreseen. The location of the military barracks gave way to economic development, reflecting that the central government fully took care of the development needs of Hong Kong. The two sides agreed that the Hong Kong and British government will reserve a 150 meter long coastline near Prince wells barracks in the final permanent shoreline under the central Wan Chai Reclamation Project for the construction of a military wharf after 1997..

In accordance with the requirements of the agreement, the SAR government has marked the location of the military terminal in the outline zoning plan for Central Hong Kong since 1998, and then applied to the Legislative Council in 2002 for funding for the construction of the relevant projects.

The construction scale includes the construction of a 150 meter long naval wharf and the construction of office facilities, fire pump room and power supply facilities on the shore of the port to ensure the berthing needs of warships. On the top of the four buildings, a diagonal frame is set for connection. The dock covers an area of about 0.3 hectares on land, accounting for 3% of the total area of Central Waterfront Park. At the same time, the inner and outer restricted areas are set up at sea.

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The construction of this wharf was completed in 2013, but it has been idle for many years and has not been transferred to the garrison. Moreover, due to the intensive speculation of the opposition, even Central Military wharf has become a sensitive word, and officials of the SAR government are afraid to avoid it. According to the author, the reasons for the oppositions hype are as follows:

One is to question the defense function and military value of military terminals.

They believe that the Stonecutters Island Naval base has been built just a few hundred meters away from the wharf, and there is no need for the garrison to set up an additional military Wharf in the core business district for its defense responsibilities. The construction of the military wharf is only symbolic. Once there is a military need, ships from Stonecutters Island will be able to reach central in a few minutes. The existing site of the Central Military terminal should continue to be managed by the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the public to enjoy.

The second is that the wharf will bring about enforcement problems in the mainland.

It has been suggested that the transfer of the Central Military terminal to the garrison will be a copy of the one place, two inspections arrangement at West Kowloon Station of the Guangzhou Shenzhen Hong Kong high speed railway, thus allowing the mainland government to exercise its power within Hong Kong. Some people have questioned that the military wharf is set up in public areas, and once the citizens enter by mistake, they may be under the control of the security personnel arranged by the garrison, which will increase the risk of the general public being arrested.

Central Military wharf sea drawing. The red box in the picture shows the inner and outer restricted zones of the military Wharf at sea. (photo / Hong Kong Security Bureau)

The third is that the wharf separates the overall atmosphere of the central leisure belt, which is competing with the people.

There is speculation by the opposition that the Central Waterfront Park where the wharf is located is a place for citizens to enjoy leisure. Setting up a military wharf is incompatible with the surrounding environment. Moreover, some people worry that if the garrison personnel stationed at the wharf are equipped with long guns, the public will be afraid. The public originally wanted to relax at the seaside, but now they are confronted with such troubles. The transfer of the wharf gives the public the impression of ceding land.

Fourth, it accused the SAR Government of expanding the content of the agreement without authorization.

Some proposed that the agreement between China and Britain only stipulated that a 150 meter long wharf should be built for military ships. Therefore, no ancillary facilities such as power supply should be set up within the scope of the wharf, and no maritime restricted zone should be designated. Others think that this is the agreement between China and Britain. The SAR government is not a party at all. What qualifications and obligations does the SAR government have to hand over the terminal?

Fifthly, speculation on the restricted area of the wharf affects the safety of shipping.

Some of the opposition put forward that many docks have been set up in the central coastal area, and the traffic between ships is frequent. In the future, warships will be used in military wharves, and restricted areas at sea will be set up, which may affect the safety and operation of local vessels, especially fishing boats sailing nearby and yachts at public piers No. 9 and No. 10.

The square harbor basin in the sea drawing of Stonecutters Island Naval base is the ship berthing area. (photo / Hong Kong Security Bureau)

The continued speculation of the opposition has stirred up the panic of the people. Many people are worried and opposed to the construction of the military wharf and the transfer of the use of the garrison. In 2013, some of the opposition continued to hype and oppose the Central Military terminal construction plan, and set up central coastal Concern Group and other organizations for instigation. On the afternoon of December 26 that year, several Hong Kong Independence elements broke into the central military camp under the banner of opposing the construction of a wharf. In February 2014, the Urban Planning Board of Hong Kong passed a resolution to agree to build a military wharf.

In April 2019, a Hong Kong citizen applied for judicial review permission in response to the decision of the chief executive in Council to approve the revised draft central outline zoning plan on 22 January 2019 and the decision of the town planning board not to amend the revised draft central outline zoning plan on February 14, 2014. He also applied to the court for a provisional injunction to restrict the transfer or other disposal of the terminal by the government pending judicial review.

From the time of Hong Kong and Britain, the central area was covered with military facilities and harbor basins, and after the reunification, the Hong Kong opposition intensively hyped a 150 meter long military wharf, which fully demonstrated the oppositions position and plot of opposing and always opposing Chinas chaotic port. As a symbol of national sovereignty, the Garrisons military activities and facilities have become the targets of the oppositions concentrated fire attack.

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The SAR government has finally fulfilled its historical responsibility of rebuilding military facilities

At the handover ceremony, Lin Zheng yuee said with emotion: the Central Military wharf is the last military facility to be rebuilt and used by the garrison in the special zone. After the handover of the military terminal by the SAR government today, it has fully fulfilled our relevant responsibilities.

In order to fulfill this responsibility, the SAR government has also made every effort. In the face of various doubts from the opposition, they made use of various occasions to publicize and explain, and carried out relevant legislative work to create conditions for the port transfer.

On May 8, 2019, the government of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) submitted to the Legislative Council of Hong Kong five amendments to the subsidiary regulations of the Central Military terminal, namely the protected areas (Amendment) Order 2019, the protected places (Security) (special guards) (Amendment) Order 2019, the military facilities restricted area (Amendment) Order 2019, the shipping and port control (Amendment) Regulation 2019, and the application of the proposed amendment to the Hong Kong Legislative Council on May 8, 2019 Merchant Shipping (local vessels) (general) (Amendment) Regulation 2019. In order to examine the five pieces of legislation, the House Committee of the Legislative Council has set up a special group composed of 27 members, and Mr Wong Ting Kwong is the chairman of the Committee.

Resume of Mr Wong Ting Kwong (photo / Hong Kong Legislative Council website)

During the deliberation of the laws and regulations, the opposition continued to raise a lot of questions and even opposing arguments. The SAR government responded one by one, patiently and persuasively.

For example, some members proposed to provide the number of persons convicted of crimes under the protected places (Security) Ordinance (cap. 260) after 1 July 1997, and the Security Bureau solemnly replied, we have no information in this regard..

Some people ask, Why are the Chinese and English sentences of the regulations different, and the English text lacks the corresponding words and sentences that meet all the following instructions? The Security Bureau replied again that the Chinese and English versions of the relevant provisions are drafted in accordance with the corresponding language rules to achieve the most natural and fluent expression. Although the syntactic components and structures of the two texts are slightly different, their meanings are identical. The administration has no plans to revise the English text.

In order to better win the support of the public, the Garrison has agreed to consider opening the military terminal as appropriate without affecting the defense work, so as to allow the public to enter the non restricted area of the military wharf, reflecting the Garrisons care for the people of Hong Kong.

The design of the military wharf is in harmony with the surrounding Waterfront Park and Weigang landscape. The garrison further adopts the suggestions of the SAR government. In addition to the side facing the Victoria Harbour, the other three sides of the military wharf adopt movable fences, which can be opened for public access. When closed, pedestrians can continue to use the waterfront park on the pedestrian road south of the military wharf, and maintain the accessibility of the waterfront promenade.

Map / Google Maps

After hard work, in June 2019, the Legislative Council completed the deliberation of five subsidiary regulations on military terminals. As of June 29, all the five regulations came into force, and the military terminals were fully protected by law in Hong Kong. Among them, the four buildings on the land of the wharf are not only protected areas, but also designated as restricted areas. Apart from the military wharf, only four barracks in Hong Kong have these two protections at the same time.

The introduction of the novel coronavirus pneumonia has removed the last obstacle to handover, but it still took more than a year to transfer troops. Some of these contradictions need to be exhausted, and the new crown pneumonia epidemic is also affecting them. On September 29, the wharf was officially handed over to the garrison, and the five tasks of rebuilding military facilities were not so satisfactory.

The transfer of military terminals is of great significance

I feel that with the promulgation and implementation of the Hong Kong national security law, the central government has shown new ideas and new atmosphere in the governance of Hong Kong, and has made new development and progress. From such a perspective, the significance and value of the handover of military terminals are reflected in the following aspects:

The first is to demonstrate the position of adhering to principles and never yielding.

Since Hong Kongs return to the motherland, especially since 2003, many policies launched by the SAR government, ranging from 23 pieces of legislation to establishment of a national education section, from the rejection of the political reform program to amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, are often forced to cancel and end up with nothing, especially after launching large-scale demonstrations and violent demonstrations.

In her speech, there is a special paragraph about the nature of military wharves. She said:

In the past, the SAR government has repeatedly explained to the public the background of the military wharf and the nature of its military land. I believe that the public will understand that the military wharf is a military facility used for defense purposes at any time, and its location is a military land. Whether it is open or not, its legal status will not change. After the handover, the military terminal will be managed by the garrison. The specific opening arrangement of the military terminal in the future is the defense work of the garrison managing military facilities. The SAR government respects the decision of the garrison and will cooperate when necessary.

This section of speech, which is full of hidden needles, counteracts the argument that still exists in Hong Kong Society and opposes the handover of military terminals.

This shows that, in the future, when encountering some complicated contradictions, the Central Committee and the SAR government will take a more firm stand, stick to principles and never give in, and truly seek unity through struggle and defeat retrogression with progress. For example, the Hong Kong opposition and overseas Anti China forces have carried out intensive hype and slander around the 12 Hong Kong people issue, asking the mainland to release people and the SAR government to fish for people. However, in the mainland, they will certainly be punished according to law, and it is impossible to compromise and compromise and be lenient outside the law.

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Second, better declare national sovereignty.

The garrison in Hong Kong is a symbol of national sovereignty. Military and diplomatic issues are national affairs. Before Hong Kongs return to China, it was the content of negotiations between the Chinese and British governments, not the regional affairs under the jurisdiction of Hong Kong. The transfer of military terminals has solved the follow-up problems of Sino British military land negotiations, and all 19 military land sites have been transferred to the Hong Kong Garrison, providing more convenient conditions for the garrison to perform defense duties on behalf of the country.

Since the return of Hong Kong, the PLA stationed in Hong Kong has demonstrated a good image in performing defense in accordance with the law. (photo / Zhou Hanqing)

Since the reunification, the Garrison has always strictly abided by the basic law, the Garrison Law and other relevant laws when carrying out defense tasks for Hong Kong, which has won the trust and recognition of the Hong Kong people. But relatively speaking, due to the strict management of the garrison, there are few opportunities for communication and contact with the citizens. The Central Waterfront Park has a dense flow of people and many people come and go. People have more opportunities to feel the power of warships and the elegant demeanor of sentinels, and increase exchanges and contacts with the garrison. All these are conducive to expanding the military influence of the garrison in Hong Kong.

Third, give full play to the military value of military terminals.

The current situation in Hong Kong is not peaceful. Under the current situation that the epidemic situation has been slightly controlled, the opposition still held sporadic protests on national day. After Dai Yaoting was expelled from the University of Hong Kong, he recently promoted the so-called Hong Kong law rebirth plan crowdfunding and Lazarus plan, and plotted to plan version 2.0 of occupy China, etc. It can be predicted that there will be signs of recovery of violence in Hong Kong in the near future, and large-scale violent demonstrations may also break out in the future.

The military dock is located in the commercial center, which is close to the military building in Hong Kong, and is close to the chief executives office, government headquarters and the Legislative Council complex. It is an important strategic location and plays an important role in the defense of the garrison. In the event of a major emergency in Hong Kong, the cross harbour tunnel between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon is blocked artificially. It will be very convenient to open a sea passage from Stonecutters Island to central, and the transportation efficiency of personnel and equipment is higher than that of other means such as helicopter air transportation.

On November 14, 2019, Hong Kongs Hung Hom cross harbour tunnel was closed due to mob damage, and it was not opened to traffic until nearly two weeks later. (photo / China News Agency)

Fourth, we should play a better role in winning over the hearts of the people.

Military land is divided into military restricted zones and protected areas, which are generally closed to the public. The Garrisons agreement to open the pier as part of the waterfront to the public when the pier is not used for military purposes is in fact an expression of goodwill to the people of Hong Kong. After the handover of the military wharf, the garrison can timely hold open exchange activities for the convenience of the people.

But at the same time, the author also feels that, as an open water area, the safety control of the military wharf is more difficult than that of Stonecutters Island which has a closed basin. At the same time, the warships between Stonecutters Island and the military wharf will cross Victoria port, which also has certain security risks.

(function(){( window.slotbydup=window .slotbydup||[]).push({id:u5811557,container:ssp_ 5811557, async:true }In the future, whether the military terminal will only be used as a transport terminal for people and goods, or as a military port for long-term berthing of warships, its functional orientation needs to be further clarified. In addition, we should also guard against the possibility of people with ulterior motives to intrude into the military restricted zone and engage in speculation and trouble making on land and at sea, so as to ensure the safety and smooth operation of military wharves. (Reference: documents of the Hongkong Legislative Council on the military terminals in the central area, the official account of public sentiment and drinking water, etc., on the Hongkong army barracks. This article is the exclusive contribution of the observer. The content of the article is the authors personal view, which does not represent the platform view. Without authorization, it can not be reproduced, otherwise legal responsibility will be investigated. Pay close attention to guanchacn, the wechat of observer network, and read interesting articles every day. Source: observer.com editor in charge: Yao Wenguang_ NN1682

In the future, whether the military terminal will only be used as a transport terminal for people and goods, or as a military port where warships berth for a long time, its functional orientation needs to be further clarified. In addition, we should also guard against the possibility of people with ulterior motives to intrude into the military restricted zone and engage in speculation and trouble making on land and at sea, so as to ensure the safety and smooth operation of military wharves.

(Reference: documents of the Hongkong Legislative Council on the military terminals in the central area, the official account of public sentiment and drinking water, etc., on the Hongkong army barracks.

This article is the exclusive contribution of the observer. The content of the article is the authors personal view, which does not represent the platform view. Without authorization, it can not be reproduced, otherwise legal responsibility will be investigated. Pay close attention to guanchacn, the wechat of observer network, and read interesting articles every day.