Environment & Health Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Hong Kong’s ‘big debate’ on land supply criticised by both political sides as consultation nears end

Both pro-democracy and pro-establishment politicians have criticised the policy options provided by the Task Force on Land Supply in the final week of a five-month public consultation.

The Civic Party’s Kwok Ka-ki said on Friday that the consultation exercise did not include land reserved for military use, such as the Shek Kong Barracks and the Tsing Shan firing range, which he said amounted to 2,700 hectares in total.

“If the mainland Chinese government has so many ways for the People’s Liberation Army to reach Hong Kong with no difficulty, why do they need to take up 2,700 hectares of land?” Kwok said.

The government-appointed Task Force on Land Supply launched the consultation exercise in April, claiming that at least 1,200 hectares of land was needed for housing and commercial needs.

The task force provided 18 options to increase Hong Kong’s land supply and invited the public to express their preferences.

Protesting outside the PLA’s Hong Kong headquarters, Kwok said that the suggestions – divided into short-to-medium term, medium-to-long term and conceptual options – were biased and the consultation exercise was insincere.

Chinese People's Liberation Army Forces Hong Kong Building

Chinese People’s Liberation Army Forces Hong Kong Building. File Photo.

“The Civic Party urges the PLA to voluntarily give up the land… or Carrie Lam should tell the PLA or Xi Jinping that Hong Kong people have nowhere to live,” Kwok said.

‘Waste of time’

The pro-establishment New People’s Party, led by Regina Ip, also criticised the land supply consultation on Thursday, saying that the options were “over-simplified and not comprehensive.”

At the press conference, Ip tore up a copy of the list of options – colloquially known as the “dimsum order sheet” – in front of cameras.

“The New People’s Party will not fill in the list… it is a waste of time,” Ip said. “In its heart, the government wants two things: the artificial island east of Lantau Island and public-private partnerships.”

Regina Ip new people party

Regina Ip (centre) rips up a copy of the land supply consultation document. Photo: handout.

The New People’s Party proposed seven alternatives, including a reclamation plan in mainland waters with the cooperation of the Chinese government, which the party says will provide 2,000 hectares of land.

The task force is expected to submit a report after the consultation ends on Wednesday, but critics have raised doubts over whether the report will be written in time for Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s October policy address.

Lam previously indicated her preference for land reclamation, saying that the measure is “unavoidable in the long run.”

Hong Kong's 'big debate' on land supply criticised by both political sides as consultation nears end