After 10 years, 420,000 tons of steel, and at a devastating expense in life and yuan, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge…
After 10 years, 420,000 tons of steel, and at a devastating expense in life and yuan, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is officially open – and the announcement came by a strange curt Chinese president Xi Jinping in the port of Zhuhai.
The opening ceremony itself was incorporated into one of the same brand confusion that has dogged the mega project since its inception in 2009, and the big day has just been announced last week.
Xi explained in an unexpected and breathtaking sharpness of the world’s longest sea crossing – a 35-mile (55-kilometer) bridge and subway tunnel connecting Hong Kong, Macau and the Chinese port of Zhuhai ̵
1; with a very sudden two-second speech as it is fair to say was not what everyone expected.
With these accurate, but perhaps less than historical words, China’s strongest leader since Mao Zedong captured the 700-strong audience, including collective media and dignitaries on the jump:
“I announce the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is officially open. “
It was an absolute practice for a president who almost a year ago opened the Communist Party Congress in Beijing with a granular three hour and 23 minute mega summing up his thoughts on a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Instead of a crowd of senior officials including Vice President Han Zheng and Hong Kong’s Executive Director Carrie Lam, Xi said his play at strategically located port in Zhuhai and left the podium when electronic fireworks flailed around on a television in the background.
Reporters on the ground, including Bloomberg’s President, Fion Li were quick to express their surprise and disappointment.
Chinese leaders have a proud tradition of popping up when history demanded it.
Deng Xiaoping, who was diminutive in his character but a political juggernaut, made a career with pithy insights Chinese speakers around the world citing and reexamining today.
And while Mao Zedong may have spoken some of the smallest poetic politics of the 20th century, the great helmet could turn a phrase when he had to, like this brutal and blunt fourcracker from 1957.
As Secretary-General For the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, the State President and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, Xi has quickly and effectively concentrated influence on his own sphere.
And the event looked tailored for a long-term reflection of China’s successful success of soft power, its clean technology and the political genius of building a 55-kilometer intersection that continues to grow the mainland security and authority on both the semi-autonomous game of Macau and that state financial power plant in Hong Kong.
But in the end, the president decided to let the huge, cool performance speak for himself.
The bridge is part of China’s ambitious Greater Bay Area Master Plan to integrate Hong Kong, Macao and the Guangdong Province nine largest cities manufacturing center to create a combination of $ 1.5 billion and science hub to rival even the Silicon Valley.
The 55-kilometer-long structure is a typically scary, respectful and somewhat meaningless statement of government authority and universal purpose. It rises from the Sun and Moon Bay in Zhuhai Harbor as a giant, disoriented concrete worm and turns off mercurially in the distance.
The air here is also very thick, with southern Chinese air humidity and the ever-present weird gray-brown pollution that weighs in bloom from heavy manufacturing out of the Pearl River Delta – the world’s factory floor – ensures mega- The bridge of all its glory comes to a large extent to hidden from view all year round.
However, direct access to both potentially passive semi-autonomous regions, binding gaming clubs and the city state is more rigorous to the motherland’s breast. In fact, it may be the question of an ever-intruding China who has leaned the president into such a rare and unexpected pithiness.
Commentators have become quick to describe the project as a white elephant and note that the easy crossing can hardly be a pretext for convenience, but rather another secret expansion of Beijing as it stretches back into the probably autonomous enclaves of Hong King and Macau.
Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is the second major infrastructure project that connects Hong Kong to the mainland, opened in a few weeks after a new high-speed rail connection opened in September – the first time Chinese security was stationed and licensed in Hong Kong’s territory.
Indeed, there is anxiety in Hong Kong, with critics fearing the increasing inroads in the territory of the particular administrative area of a continually settling mainland, while some local media have suggested that drivers on the bridge will be carefully reviewed by cameras who are also investigating their physical state and how fatigue a driver becomes.
Issues of territoriality can dominate the project for years to come, the majority of the bridge is considered the mainland and Hong Kong vehicles and drivers who are already affected by limited access will travel under the laws of the mainland, the Hong Kong transport department has warned.
“The Hong Kong government is always out of sight and under the control of the Chinese government,” told Tanya Chan of AFP last week. Construction of the bridge began in 2009 and focused on implementation two years ago.
According to South China Morning Post, 10 workers were killed and 600 were injured in the construction of typhoon-safe two way six-way highway bridge, which the government expects to carry 29,100 vehicles and 126,000 individual passenger trips by 2030.
But for now the bridge is open to certain traffic, including some buses, freight and selected passenger vehicles.
It is also a wonderful ferry trip.