I discussed with friends a while ago that Bay Area integration should in theory should help alleviate the housing costs, possibly even boost the economy by increasing other spending. An HSR line is already built. I believe “Return Home” permits are already smart card enabled and only require tap to pass through checkpoint. If you could get from HK central business district to a ML residential district in 45 minutes, it would be true progress. Though the line as built currently does not terminate in ideal areas.It’s just tragic. Imagine if people poured into the streets in support of Tung chee-hwa back in the day, or the recent protestors focused their attacks on the HK oligarchy and real estate cartel. We’d have concrete positive changes in the lives of most Hong Kongers by now.
Unfortunately, that’s all water under the bridge at this point. Looks like Beijing’s resigned to empowering the HK bureaucracy while tolerating the tycoons. Not like there’s much alternative, the young and middle class are pretty far gone at this stage.
And I agree with you on Beijing pushing greater Bay Area integration. With politics as it is, it’s untenable for the central government to attack tycoon interests head on, so Beijing’s going to have to work around them through integrating Hong Kong with surrounding territories. Ideally, efficient integration will eventually allow Hong Kongers access to goods and services like housing at better values. Fingers crossed!
However, it is precisely the West Express Rail Link saga that doesn’t have me optimistic. It is a pure infrastructure project, but it was interrupted and hijacked into a political football. “Mainland border officials!” What a joke, Canada has had US CBP stationed in major airports for 40 years, no one pretends they will enforce US drug laws or whatever. Just a talking point fed to the traitor side by their foreign masters.