The first high-speed railway between Hong Kong and China has gone into operation.
The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link is expected to bring economic benefits to both China and Hong Kong as well as allow more Chinese tourists to travel to the former British colony. It will connect Hong Kong to the 25,000 km high-speed Chinese rail network, the largest in the world.
Bullet trains can now travel from Beijing to Hong Kong in only 9 hours, compared to 18 before. Shenzen, just across the border from Hong Kong, can be reached in only 20 minutes.
Chinese authorities will be in control of part of Hong Kong’s West Kowloon station. As a part of China, mainland police forces will check travelers’ documents and passports, making an additional stop at the Hong Kong – Chinese border unnecessary. It is the first time that mainland Chinese laws are applied inside Hong Kong.
The project cost nearly 11 billion dollars and took almost eight years to complete. Authorities expect that by 2021, up to 80,000 passengers could access the new service on 80 trains daily.
Critics say the new rail link undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy, which has been guaranteed by China until 2047. They also raise concerns about increasing Chinese influence in the former British colony.
- access = use
- additional = also; another
- apply = in use ; work
- authorities = government organisation that controls things and can make decisions
- autonomy = being able to govern yourself
- benefit = good side of something
- border = line between two countries
- bullet train = very fast train that travels between two places
- connect = link; bring together
- critics = people who are against the project
- former = in the past
- go into operation = here: to start carrying passengers on trains
- guarantee = a formal promise
- high-speed = very fast
- increasing = to go up; more and more
- influence = power
- law = the rule of a country
- mainland = here: China without Hong Kong and Taiwan
- raise concerns = to be worried about
- undermine = here: to make weaker