ABOVE PHOTO Courtesy Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Administration
General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President Xi Jinping attended the ceremony and announced the official opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge. The opening ceremony of the 34-mile long, $20 billion Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge was held on the morning of October 23 at the Zhuhai Port Border Inspection Building of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. The bridge connects Hong Kong on the eastern end of the Pearl River Delta with with Macao and the Guangdong city of Zhuhai on the east. Prior to its construction, which is divided into a series of bridges and tunnels, direct access between the two was limited to flight, or high speed ferry. The new bridge will reduce overland trips from three to four hours to 30 minutes.
The opening ceremony of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge was presided over by any of the leaders of the National Development and Reform Commission. Vice Premier Han Zheng, Secretary of the Guangdong Provincial Party Committee Li Xi, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Chief Executive Lin Zhengyue, and Macao Special Administrative Region Chief Executive Chui Sai-an delivered speeches respectively.
Chui Sai-an told the crowd that the completion of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge has profound political, economic and social significance. On the political level, the large-scale cross-sea traffic project jointly constructed by Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao for the first time has enriched and developed the theory and practice of the “one country, two systems” policy. From the beginning of the project, a close working mechanism was established to jointly negotiate and solve the problems that occurred during the construction of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, and achieved new breakthroughs in construction technology and policy systems. After the official opening of the bridge, Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao will be connected for the first time. The barrier-free zone in the three places will create a more solid foundation for the integration of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau.
At the economic level, as a transportation platform for Hong Kong, Macao and the Pearl River Delta region, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge can effectively compensate for the shortcomings of past land transport accessibility and promote the coordinated development of the inter-regional economy. Guangdong, Hong Kong and the Macao Dawan District connects “One Country”, “Two Systems” and three customs zones. The development of Guangdong, Hong Kong and the Macao Dawan District and the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge have opened to Hong Kong, to Macao and the West Bank of the Pearl River Delta, an event of important strategic significance.
At the social level, since the return of Macao to Chinese administration, exchanges with the mainland have become more frequent; the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge has deepened the connection of the territories while shortening the geographical distance. At the Zhuhai-Macao Port of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the port’s operating entity successfully implemented the customs clearance mode of “cooperation, inspection, and release”, a one-time procedure for visitors to both Macao and Zhuhai, which facilitated the exchange of personnel between Guangdong and Macao, and also made promoted further exploration the innovative customs clearance mode.
Chui Sai-an said that the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge is a pioneering work in the history of Chinese construction engineering and another sign of the “Chinese Dream” taking off. This year is the first year of the full implementation of the plans of the 19th National Congress and the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up. He believes that at this historic point in time, the official opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge will create a more favorable opportunity for Macao to participate in the construction of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Dawan District and help the development of China’s “Belt and Road” policy of international diplomacy and trade.
He continued to point out that in the future, the SAR Government will continue to work with the Guangdong Provincial Government and the Hong Kong SAR Government to jointly develop the Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Dawan District, further develop the economy, improve people’s livelihood, and build a better life for the residents of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao.
To celebrate the opening of the bridge, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, located a few minutes away from the Zhuhai terminus of the bridge, is offering two for one tickets to visitors from Hong Kong and Macao.