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Homeland Security

Global Times

Talks of HK-mainland border reopening regain momentum amid fall in cases in HK

Global Times

By Cui Fandi Published: Apr 19, 2022 11:23 PM

As the epidemic situation in Hong Kong begins to ease, elementary schools in the territory began to resume offline classes, while talk of reopening the border between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland is gaining momentum.

On Tuesday, a total of 52 local schools and 65 international schools in Hong Kong resumed half-day offline classes.

On Tuesday, John Lee Ka-chiu, the only valid candidate for the Hong Kong Chief Executive election, said that he understands that everyone is looking forward to the clearance of infections, and he will start the related work after the election.

Lee said he believes that in some cases, there is room for Hong Kong and the mainland's preventive and control measures to gradually dovetail, so that Hong Kong does not bring unnecessary health risks to the mainland. The process requires frank communication with the mainland authorities, Lee noted.

He also said that the positioning of Hong Kong is not only as a cosmopolitan city, but also that it needs to fully integrate into the overall development of the country.

Regarding the reopening of the border, Liang Haiming, dean of the Belt and Road Institute at Hainan University, said "since there are still several hundred new cases in Hong Kong every day, the conditions for opening the border crossing with the mainland have not yet been met," said Liang.

The Global Times learned from local officials in early 2022 that the mainland and Hong Kong had reached an agreement to reopen the borders. However, the plan was disrupted by the fifth wave of the epidemic in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong reported 613 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, which was the fourth consecutive day that the city recorded new infections below 1,000. The fifth wave has so far caused 1.19 million cases, according to local news outlet Wen Wei Po.

Liang told the Global Times the opening of customs clearance with the mainland is hoped for by most Hong Kong people.

"Most people in Hong Kong are inextricably linked to the mainland. Some have relatives or friends in the mainland, and some may work in a business that is in the mainland," Liang said. "On an economic level, the mainland has always been the biggest support for Hong Kong as well."

Hong Kong's global uniqueness and appeal comes from having the Chinese mainland at its back. Hong Kong's economy, job market and retail market can only remain solid if there is a steady flow of people, goods and capital coming into Hong Kong from the mainland, he said.

Lee wrote in a social media post on April 12 that he thinks reopening the borders with the mainland is the most important factor and Hong Kong's anti-epidemic strategy has to be connected with that of the mainland. "If the city's strategy does not coordinate with the mainland's anti-epidemic policy, and it can't reopen the borders with the mainland, it will greatly limit Hong Kong's development," he said.

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